SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The Duke Endowment has granted Novant Health Foundation Rowan Medical Center $261,891 over the next three years to support a wellness program for Livingstone College students. The partnership between the hospital and Livingstone College will target obesity and its related effects on health within the student population.
The program is modeled after Novant Health's employee wellness program and will provide students biometric screenings and consistent campus-based wellness coaching at Livingstone's Center for Holistic Learning and student health center. Biometric screenings gather vital baseline health information including blood sugar, cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). Baseline data is then used in personal health coaching sessions, and are then conducted annually to measure results and improvements. The program will be offered to all students, with particular focus on the outcomes of the 2014 freshman class over a four-year period through 2018.
Ann Peebles, Livingstone's Health Center director, indicates that 50 percent of female students treated in the health center are classified as overweight according to body mass index (BMI). Moreover, another 15 percent are obese. The male student population is 40 percent overweight and another 15 to 20 percent obese. Despite the fact that the college requires two semesters of physical education and offers a number of wellness seminars throughout the academic year, students continue to struggle with high cholesterol, diabetes, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, and poor dietary habits.
Livingstone College will provide its student health center space and staff, recreational facilities and potential farm land designated for a student garden to supplement the wellness component with exercise and nutrition programs. Novant Health will also support program leaders with office space and equipment, staff support and marketing and outreach efforts.
Dari Caldwell, president of NHRMC states, "I am thrilled that we are able to collaborate with Dr. Jenkins and Livingstone College on this tremendous opportunity to improve student health. This partnership will deliver on our mission to improve the health of the community, one person at a time and demonstrates our continued commitment to serve as a trusted community partner to our most valuable institutions such as Livingstone College," she continues, "I am so grateful for The Duke Endowment and their efforts to improve the lives of Carolinians through generous grant funds."
Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy Jenkins states, "Livingstone College is the only institution of higher education in the nation that has developed a Holistic learning environment. One of the tenants of the holistic learning environment is health and wellness. This tenant is based on the theory that a healthy body is a more productive body. We are ecstatic over this collaboration with Novant Health and we want to express our heartfelt appreciation to The Duke Endowment for recognizing this very cutting edge educational new frontier, and for the funding to make this program more comprehensive and providing priceless benefits for our students," he continues "This grant and the collaboration with Novant Health affirms our statement to students who enroll at Livingstone College that they also enroll in a four-year health camp. Truly the students who enroll at Livingstone College we can say without a doubt will graduate healthier and fitter than when they enrolled. "
Dr. Jenkins also states to "express his appreciation to Dr. Dari Caldwell, President of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, for her interest in what we are doing at Livingstone College and her willingness to work with us to present this collaboration to the Duke Foundation. "
President Jenkins is remarkably candid about the typical Livingstone College student profile and the need to address obesity stating it is "the most prevailing ailment of the disadvantaged." President Jenkins' demonstrated willingness to examine potential campus changes to facilitate healthier lifestyles is forging the path for better health.
About The Duke Endowment: Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.
About Novant Health: Novant Health is a four-state integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient centers and hospitals that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to our communities. The Novant Health network consists of more than 1,200 physicians and 26,000 employees who make healthcare remarkable at nearly 500 locations, including 15 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics. Headquartered in Winston–Salem, N.C., Novant Health is committed to making healthcare remarkable for patients and communities, serving more than four million patients annually. In 2013, Novant Health provided more than $566 million in community benefit including charity care and services. Novant Health is one of the top 25 integrated health systems in the United States and was named a top 50 "Best Places for Diverse & Women Managers to Work" by Diversity MBA Magazine.