UNCW receives funding for community COVID-19 virus relief


College of Health and Human Services

Center for Healthy Communities.

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

UNC Wilmington’s (UNCW) center for healthy communities recently received a $330,000 grant to help vulnerable communities affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“The continued support from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust reaffirms their commitment to the College of Health and Human Services in pursuing our joint mission to meet critical needs in rural communities and help improve the lives of all individuals – particularly vulnerable populations – disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” said Charles Hardy, CHHS dean.

The grant, funded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, will help local health departments in vulnerable areas like Robeson, Bladen and Columbus counties to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The money will be used over the next year to increase COVID-19 virus testing, vaccinations, supplies and community outreach.

“This funding has allowed our health department to have a position that focuses specifically on these goals,” said Jan Lowery, MPH, Robeson County Health. “The person in this position also participates in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services committee that addresses COVID-19 problems, solutions and health education messages for this targeted population weekly.”

As part of this project, a social media and marketing campaign will be started to help further educate these communities about the COVID-19 virus, and improve perceptions, barriers and preventive measures.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was started in 1947 and has become one of the largest private trusts in the state, while UNCW’s center for healthy communities has been around since 2013. This collaboration will help address the needs of those financially disadvantaged in the Cape Fear region.