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Community Spotlight: MedNorth works in marginalized communities to ensure health care for all

Community Spotlight: MedNorth works in marginalized communities to ensure health care for all

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Minorities seem to be falling behind when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, but a nonprofit healthcare provider is working to make sure they don’t miss their chance.

MedNorth isn’t your average primary healthcare provider; they’re much more.

“We have podiatry, dentistry; we do women’s health, and of course family medicine,” said Israel Mendez, PA-C.

Even that doesn’t quite cover what the staff offers to their patients. From behavioral health to pediatrics, MedNorth has its patients covered. Doctors accept both the insured and uninsured and have fluent Spanish-speaking providers available. Doctors offer a bit of comfort to the patients, letting them know they’re in a place where people understand.

“Coming from a state association, I felt that there was a need for me to work directly with patients,” said Sharon Brown-Singleton, director of clinical operations. “This is where I grew up in this population, being under-served, uninsured.”

For that reason, it’s almost personal for staff members to take care of marginalized communities. That only became more important as the pandemic hit and vaccines started to roll out, and minorities weren’t getting in line for their dose.

“Religious reasons — meaning their pastor may have told them ‘not a good idea to get vaccinated,’ uncertainty about the vaccine since it’s emergency use authorization,” said Brown-Singleton. “Side effects are some of the concerns that we’re hearing.”

That’s why MedNorth is not just in the office to take questions, they’re in the neighborhoods that need answers the most.

“We’ve partnered with the housing authority here in New Hanover County to offer three big events that are upcoming end of May and the beginning of June,” said Brown-Singleton. “We’re going to target some of the historically marginalized housing in New Hanover County.”

MedNorth has several vaccination events coming up in Wilmington Housing Authority neighborhoods:

  • Friday, May 21: Creekwood South, 2-5 p.m.
  • Friday, June 4: Rankin Terrace, 2-5 p.m.
  • Friday, June 11: Houston Moore, 2-5 p.m.

“Something amazing we’re doing as well is we have a list of patients who are not as mobile and can’t leave their homes and eventually going to meet them at their house and vaccinate,” said Mendez.

MedNorth’s efforts have made a difference. Statistics show that MedNorth is one of the top providers in the area when it comes to reaching minorities with 40 percent of its first vaccine doses going to the community’s historically marginalized populations.

Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.


OPINION: Expanding integrated care is good for Wilmington’s health

OPINION: Expanding integrated care is good for Wilmington’s health
Khadijia Tribié Reid, MD, MPH Pediatrician and public health advocate
Published 6:30 am ET Mar 12,2021

Last month, Carolina’s Cape Fear region received big news. Basketball icon Michael Jordan donated $10 million to Novant Health to build two primary care clinics in New Hanover County. He delegated these dollars to create clinics that will provide primary and mental healthcare in the same space. This model is called integrated primary–behavioral care. As a physician, I can testify that expanding integrated care is just what the doctor ordered.

Under an integrated care model, medical providers, counselors, psychiatrists, and social workers collaborate to get patients what they need to be healthy. This model recognizes the link between medical and physical health. As a professional, integrated care has revolutionized the way I practice medicine. Here are just a few ways providers can use primary-behavioral health integration.


First Year Cape Fear fights to eliminate racial disparities in infant mortality rates (WECT)

First Year Cape Fear fights to eliminate racial disparities in infant mortality rates (WECT)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A task force comprised of local health advocates and physicians are banding together to address concerning racial gaps in the Cape Fear’s infant mortality rates.

Black infants are less likely to survive to their first birthday than white infants. North Carolina is the 11th worst state in the nation for infant death with a consistent and stagnant gap in outcomes among African Americans and Non-Hispanic whites.

After a 2018 report highlighting the racial disparities in infant mortality rates, New Hanover Regional Medical Center identified eliminating those gaps as a top priority. The effort has grown since then and blossomed into a robust network of helpers, known as First Year Cape Fear.

“Knowing that babies are dying –Black babies are dying at a higher rate and that Black moms are also dying at a higher rate is really striking. It’s disappointing, it’s frustrating to know, especially because we know the root cause of this is racism,” said First Year Cape Fear’s lead, Marissa Bryant Franks.

Franks is also the health equity outreach coordinator at NHRMC.

In New Hanover County, Black babies are 2.3 times more likely to die in their first year of life than white babies. In Columbus County its 2.2 times, and in Pender County, Black babies are 4.8 times more likely to die than white infants.

Dr. Naomi Flock is a community family physician at Med North who serves as a physician voice for First Year Cape Fear.


Children’s Health Awareness during COVID-19 from MedNorth

“MedNorth continues to celebrate National Health Center Week by recognizing Children’s Health Awareness. Here is a reminder from our Pediatric Medical Director, Dr. Khadijia Tribié, about the importance of well child visits and keeping up with immunizations. For children who do not need vaccines, your child can be seen by virtual appointment using Telehealth. Don’t skip your next well child visit! Contact us if you are in need of an appointment.”


Know Your Ws!

Know Your Ws!

While North Carolinians should still stay home, if they go out, they should know their Ws: Wear. Wait. Wash.

  • Wear a face covering,
  • Wait 6 feet apart from other people.
  • Wash your hands often


(COVID-19) Coronavirus Federal, State and Local Information Resources

(COVID-19) Coronavirus Federal, State and Local Information Resources

MedNorth Health Center seeks to share information about COVID-19/Coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control, the NC Department of Health & Human Services, and the New Hanover County Health Department for our community with facts about the virus.

From New Hanover County Government:

Currently, there are confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in New Hanover County and evidence of community transmission. Please visit the New Hanover County Website here for the most up to date figures on number of confirmed cases.

-If you are a MedNorth patient and are experiencing FEVER, COUGH, or TROUBLE BREATHING, please call 910-202-8628 BEFORE your visit. Our nurse triage line will provide you with further instruction.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.


A respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 90 locations internationally, including in the United States.


A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads in similar ways as a common cold or the flu spread, and the steps to preventing coronavirus transmission are similar to the steps to preventing other respiratory illnesses, including:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (like your phone, tablet, and daily work surfaces).
  • Stay home and away from others when you are sick.


Guidance for home, schools, colleges, businesses, faith communities and other organizations can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.*




  • Person-to-person spread. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.


People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.


  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease


Please visit the following websites for the most up to date information about COVID-19:

Centers for Disease Control

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

New Hanover County Health Department


Free Vision Screening: MedNorth Health Center, Oct 3rd, 2019

Free Vision Screening: MedNorth Health Center, Oct 3rd, 2019

Free vision screening at MedNorth Health Center

WILMINGTON – The Wilmington Lions Club will offer free vision screenings and hearing screenings, 2 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, Oct 3, in front of the MedNorth Health Center, 925 N. Fourth St.

The screenings that take place on the unit are screenings only, and should not be confused with complete eye examinations or hearing exams. The vision and hearing screenings will be held on the NC Vision Mobile Unit.

The NC Mobile Unit properly named The 21st Century Mobile Screening Unit, continues to be a great asset to the communities throughout North Carolina.

The 21st Century Vision Mobile Unit allows Lions Clubs to accomplish many worthwhile objectives, the most important of which is the early detection of vision problems.

The Vision Van is available to all Lions Clubs in North Carolina to conduct vision screenings in their communities For more information on the Wilmington Lions Club,// sites/wilmingtonnclionsclub/ index.php or wilmingtonnclionsclub/.

Compiled by Cheryl

Whitaker StarNews Staff


MedNorth Health Center Awarded for Quality Performance

MedNorth Health Center Awarded for Quality Performance
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is awarding nearly $107 million in Quality Improvement Awards to 1,273 health centers across the US. MedNorth Health Center is among those award recipients.
“(These) awards recognize especially high-achieving health centers. America’s health centers are essential to producing results on our actionable public health challenges, like HIV/AIDS and the opioid crisis, as well as to building a healthcare system that delivers better value and puts the patient at the center”, said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
Quality Improvement Awards recognize the work that health centers do to address health priorities by designating health centers that ranked in the top 1 – 2% in one or more key areas – behavioral health, diabetes prevention and management, and heart health – as National Quality Leaders. The awards also recognize achievements in improving cost-efficient care delivery while increasing quality, reducing health disparities, increasing both the number of patients served and patients’ ability to access comprehensive services, advancing use of health information technology, and delivering patient-centered care.
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