The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) and the NCMS Foundation (NCMSF) are committed to improving the health of North Carolinians by supporting our physician and PA members, and by creating and supporting innovative programs to achieve positive health outcomes.

In early 2020, the NCMS reaffirmed its Guiding Principles to help shape future health policy to improve the health and well-being of patients. The NCMS also endorsed the NC Institute of Medicine’s HealthyNC2030 report, which defines 21 metrics to indicate improved health outcomes in the state over the next decade.

In the coming months and years, the NCMS will leverage the input and expertise of physicians and PAs, as well as our influence in the larger health care community, to help move the state toward more positive health outcomes as part of our own Healthy NC initiatives.

Gathering the Data

The first part of this multi-faceted project begins as the NCMS/NCMSF works with our Community Practitioner Program (CPP) participants to gather data on key health metrics among their patient populations.

Initially, NCMS Healthy NC will engage with five CPP practices, located in underserved areas of the state where patients may face multiple challenges to optimizing their health, and with the Cabarrus County Health Department. We have developed a survey to be used by each CPP practice to gather data on the social determinants of patients’ health. This is an invaluable source of information on the current health environment and behaviors of patients and will help benchmark our progress as we enhance our existing resources and develop new initiatives to improve health as part of Healthy NC. Review the survey here.

Addressing public health issues and social determinants of health

The NCMS currently directs two innovative programs — Project OBOT, which addresses opioid use disorder, and Our Community Health Initiative (OCHI), which focuses on the social determinants of health. Aware of North Carolina’s low ranking in health care outcomes for mothers and infants and determined to explore and implement improvements, the NCMS hosted several Maternal and Infant Health Summits, bringing together health care and community leaders to address this important issue.

Lifestyle Medicine

Lifestyle Medicine is another spoke in the NCMS Healthy NC wheel of programs. Rooted in clinical research findings, Lifestyle Medicine seeks to prevent, treat and reverse disease through changing lifestyle factors including diet and exercise. According to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, this specialty “uses evidence-based lifestyle therapeutic interventions—including a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection—as a primary modality, delivered by clinicians trained and certified in this specialty, to prevent, treat and often reverse chronic disease.”