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Faith & Health Event Spotlights Wellness for North Carolinians

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Monday, September 12, 2022   

A faith-driven community event in Greensboro this Thursday offers a full day of free workshops on healthy eating, mental health, HIV prevention and more. Its organizers say they hope to raise awareness about inequities in the health care system.

Jessica Stokes, associate director for Partners in Health and Wholeness, which is a program of the North Carolina Council of Churches, said she hopes the "Faith and Health Summit" gives people the tools they need to improve their health and a safe space to talk about important but often stigmatized public health issues.

"We are concerned about how many North Carolinians live with preventable diseases," Stokes explained. "And we also care about the emotional well-being of all North Carolinians."

The summit will feature a mobile clinic for blood-pressure screenings and COVID testing, and for those who need mental-health support, licensed counselors will be available for listening sessions. The event will be held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Greensboro.

Nicole Johnson, interim co-director of the program, said she hopes young adults and parents will use the event to foster honest dialogue.

"Tobacco cessation, specifically, we have one panel that's going to be focused on talking about cessation and prevention, and vaping with young adults, and teenagers and kids," Johnson outlined. "And what does that look like to have those conversations."

Elizabeth Brewington, associate director of overdose response and HIV education for the program, said congregations should be concerned about systemic barriers to good health and disparities in their communities.

"And trying to make sure that every person who attends has a multitude of ideas of how they can connect their own health and faith together," Brewington noted. "But also ways that faith communities can engage in health issues."

Recent research from Pew found many Americans said staying healthy has become more important to them in the pandemic, from following public health precautions to changing diet and exercise habits.

Disclosure: The North Carolina Council of Churches contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Health Issues, Immigrant Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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