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The Golden LEAF Foundation awards Novant Health $1.5 million for new rural Family Medicine Residency

BURGAW, N.C., – Novant Health has secured $1.5 million in funding from The Golden LEAF Foundation to boost rural medicine in Pender County and improve health outcomes.

More specifically, the funding will allow Novant Health Pender Medical Center and Black River Health Services in Burgaw, North Carolina, to expand access to care through a new rural physician training program. It’s all part of a vision established roughly two years ago between Black River Health Services, UNC School of Medicine, Novant Health and Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center to offer the best opportunity to leverage skills, scale and resources to achieve and maintain accreditation for a sustainable track that trains future family physicians with a passion for rural medicine. The first trainees are slated to begin the program in July 2024.

“The training of primary care physicians is a priority because there is data to demonstrate those who train in rural settings seek practice opportunities in similar rural settings afterward, so our goal is to keep them in Pender County,” said Ruth Glaser, president and chief operating officer of Novant Health Pender Medical Center. “Everyone deserves access to high quality healthcare regardless of where they live, so we’re thankful for the Golden LEAF Foundation’s support of our vision, and we’re thankful for our partners, who understand there is no time to spare in preparing for the future growth of our community.”

Shelbourn Stevens, president of Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center and the Novant Health Coastal region, shared how this grant is yet another way Novant Health is delivering on its promise to provide greater access to care for the community, which includes continued investments in its team members.

“Receiving this sizable grant demonstrates that Novant Health is committed to seeing this training program succeed, so the area is able to recruit, train and retain skilled healthcare professionals devoted to Pender County and beyond," Stevens said. 

More than 30 well-paying jobs will be created as a result of this renovation and expansion project to accommodate the new rural Family Medicine Residency program. This includes employment opportunities for physicians, health professionals and allied health positions among the residency program, Novant Health Pender Medical Center, Black River Family Medicine and other clinical sites in the region.

“Our collaboration with Novant Health and Novant Health Pender Medical Center was critical in making a decade-old vision a reality,” said Bill Marshburn, president of the board of Black River Health Services. “Today we are making our vision for rural medicine a reality, knowing this arrangement presents a tremendous opportunity to train medical physicians who will have the predisposition to live and serve here in Pender County.”

Golden LEAF's funding process was competitive, and the foundation focused on projects with the greatest potential to have significant impact on economic growth. 

"Golden LEAF is pleased to support Novant Health Pender Medical Center to implement a rural Family Medicine residency program," said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF president and chief executive officer. "This regional project will help create over 30 new jobs and serve Brunswick, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, and Pender counties. Golden LEAF is pleased to support this project to create new jobs and expand services for the area served."

Posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2023