ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) – The Community Care Clinic of Rowan County hosted the Community Thanks event on Monday, November 14th at the Peeler Crystal Lounge at Catawba College. The event is held each year to thank donors, volunteers and community partners for their support, recognize the work of the clinic and to award the Volunteer of the Year and Silent Angel awards.
This year’s event was the largest to date with over 200 supporters in attendance.
Dr. Brett Henson, Board Co-Chair, greeted guests and provided an overview of the clinic. “As you know, it’s been a long time since we’ve last gathered together for Community Thanks – three years to be exact. You have been faithful in your giving to the clinic and tonight we want to thank you in person. We are also thankful for our good health, for our ability to help others and our collective interest in the Salisbury/Rowan Community,” Henson said.
The clinic did not close a single day during the COVID-19 pandemic. The staff immediately transitioned to tele-medicine and prescription medications were delivered to the parking lot. The dental department was able to start back up after an eight-week hiatus to make certain air flow and adequate PPE was available. In 2021 and 2022, the clinic provided COVID vaccines and boosters to all patients and family members. “The staff and Board take seriously the idea that the clinic is fully accessible to all our county residents,” said Henson.
“I would also like to highlight that since 2021, the clinic has been operating a full-time dental clinic,” said Henson. During COVID, the clinic was able to expand dental access to more Rowan County residents by adding a third chair. This addition provided the clinic with the opportunity to add two full days of dental hygiene services per week. “It’s the first time in our 27-year history that many of our patients are now in “maintenance care plans” meaning that we have gotten them out of pain, filled the needed teeth and now schedule them for a cleaning every six months. Saving teeth is our first priority but when this can’t happen, our skilled dentists are able to make partial dentures for those who qualify,” said Henson.
The Clinic has further expanded its services with the introduction of Lifestyle Medicine. The field of medicine focuses on prevention, treatment and reversal of disease by making lifestyle changes. “We encourage patients to take control of their health by starting with lifestyle prescriptions in one of the six domains – diet, exercise, substance use, sleep, stress and social connectedness – to help patients decide how they can live a healthier life,” said Dr. Amy Wilson, Medical Director.
The Clinic has implemented Wellness Wednesdays offering an opportunity to discuss or learn about one of the aspects of Lifestyle Medicine. Twice a month, a wellness coach hosts cooking demonstrations in the lobby and shows patients exercises and deep breathing techniques for stress management. Tea
clinic hosts Walking Wednesdays with patients and staff and has started a food pharmacy. Each season, the clinic features three healthy recipes that are easily prepared and contain shelf-staple ingredients for patients to choose from. “The food pharmacy has been a great way to encourage trying new foods and new ways of cooking,” said Wilson
The evening program continued with Dr. Amy Wilson presenting the Mike Fuller Volunteer of the Year award to Wanda Honeycutt. The award is named for Mike Fuller, Board member and volunteer pharmacist. Honeycutt is a retired nurse and diabetes educator. She began volunteering at the clinic in 2020, a month after retiring from a forty-year career in nursing. “Wanda provides one-on-one diabetes counseling and group sessions for patients. I have personally watched her discuss the difficulty of living with diabetes. She is compassionate and rewards people for taking small steps. During COVID, Wanda made hundreds of calls to check on patients, spending much time counseling over the phone. However, she’s more than just a dedicated volunteer. She’s a part of our family at the clinic,” said Wilson.
Krista Woolly, Executive Director, recognized Dr. Mitch Siegel as the recipient of the 2022 Fred and Alice Stanback Silent Angel award. This award is named for the Stanbacks who model their lives in service to others and in meeting the need of the most vulnerable in our community. Siegel began volunteering in the dental clinic after retiring from the VA. When COVID hit, the dental clinic was forced to close to put COVID safety protocols in place. After an eight-week hiatus, the dental clinic reopened, and Dr. Siegel worked four half days a week for more than seven months. “Dr. Siegel was our only provider during COVID and we were so grateful. He is an amazing dentist with a servant’s heart. Dr. Siegel could be enjoying retirement but instead he spends part of each week changing lives one smile at a time. We are indebted to him for stepping in to see patients every day and helping us keep our doors open during COVID,” said Woolly.
Desiree Dunston, Board Member, closed the evening and thanked guests for their continued support of the clinic and for helping make our community healthier for all Rowan County residents.
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