Enjoy your Tuesday NCMS Morning Rounds!

Feb. 9, 2021

DON’T FORGET: This evening from 6 to 7 p.m., State Health Director Elizabeth Tilson, MD, MPH and other leadership from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) will offer an update on new vaccines, the status of distribution (including allocation, provider enrollment, and prioritization), communications resources, and the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS). Speakers will respond to questions during a Q&A session. Join the conversation here.

Moving Toward COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Equity

As NCMS President Philip M. Brown, Jr., MD, stated in a video last week: “the COVID-19 pandemic has created a profoundly disproportionate amount of suffering for people of color, with disparities in disease and death rate across the country. As we deploy preventive vaccination with the power to defeat the disease, it is of critical importance that we ensure equitable and, in many cases, preferential access to vaccination for those groups most adversely affected.”

NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, in her testimony before the NC House Health Committee, spoke about how the state is working to address these disparities.

Over the last few days, many health systems, health departments and practices throughout North Carolina have ramped up their vaccine efforts in underserved communities, often working with churches and other community organizations to reach those in need. At New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where Dr. Brown is Executive Vice President and Chief Physician Executive, the number of vaccines being administered to historically marginalized communities has increased by 50 percent over the last week, he said.

Novant Health held a mass vaccination clinic on Saturday working with local churches and community leaders to vaccinate 4,000 people at The Park Expo Center. Novant’s Senior Vice President for Consumer Engagement Jerome Williams, MD, MBA told local media: “There is a disparity of vaccination rates between people of color and the majority population so through these intentional, strategic efforts we are trying to achieve health equity.”

In Raleigh, WakeMed worked with community members to set up vaccine administration stations at 17 churches in Wake County in communities hit hardest by the virus.

View the demographics of the state’s vaccination efforts at NCDHHS’ COVID-19 vaccine dashboard here.

To help people understand the disparities, NCMS Board member and family physician practicing in Raeford, Karen Smith, MD, FAAFP was interviewed by Spectrum News along with NCDHHS Deputy Secretary Benjamin Money, MPH about addressing vaccine hesitancy in the African American community in particular. Watch the In Focus segment here.

Today at 10 a.m. Dr. Brown and NCMS Executive Vice President and CEO Chip Baggett, JD, are slated to testify before the NC House Health Committee on the vaccination efforts. The meeting will be livestreamed and you can access the link on the committee webpage here. Watch your NCMS Morning Rounds for updates on this testimony and other COVID-19 vaccine news.

This is Congenital Heart Defects Awareness Week

Did you know that heart defects are the most common birth defect; researchers estimate that over 2 million people are living with a heart defect in the United States. From Feb. 7 to 14, join the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) in sharing messages about living with a heart defect on social media tagged with #CHDCare4Life.

Tools You Can Use:
*Updated* Five Things To Know About Heart Defects
Real Stories: Living with Heart Defects
Data and Statistics on Heart Defects

Learn more about NCBDDD’s efforts to improve the health of people living with heart defects across the years.

Kudos to Dr. Brown!

NCMS President Philip M. Brown, Jr., MD, has received the University of North Carolina, Wilmington’s Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, to be bestowed later this week as part of the University’s virtual homecoming activities. The award recognizes ‘extraordinary achievement, outstanding character and exemplary service to the university and community.’

Dr. Brown, UNCW class of ’88, began his medical career as a vascular surgeon after graduating from ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. Now, as executive vice president and chief physician executive at New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) he has been part of an expansive effort to transition NHRMC from a regional medical provider to a more comprehensive health system to better serve the health care needs of the region.

Also a 2003 alumnus of the NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership, Dr. Brown went on to be a co-director of the Institute. He also is a former president of the New Hanover-Pender Medical Society.

Dr. Brown remains active in UNCW’s Seahawk community. He serves as the medical director for the master’s program in athletic training and on the Dean’s Advancement Council in the College of Health and Human Services. He often lectures as a guest in CHHS and mentors students interested in a medical career.

Read more about Dr. Brown and this honor here.

In the News

A Parallel Pandemic Hits Health Care Workers: Trauma and Exhaustion, The New York Times, 2-4-21

Learning Opportunity

2021 NC Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit (Virtual), May 4-6, 2021
The NC Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit brings together leaders from across the state to discuss critical issues related to the opioid epidemic in North Carolina and build consensus around policy and programmatic interventions that address opioid misuse, addiction, and overdose death.

General conference registration opens Feb. 15! This event will fill up fast with a registration cost of only $25. Mark your calendars and stay tuned.

Learn more here.

If you have policies you’d like your NCMS Board of Directors to consider, please complete the Board input form here. Thanks for reading!