NCCU Breaks New Ground in Healthcare Equity with $8.5 Million Investment

Posted March 07, 2024, 1:44PM

Stonehenge Community Development LLC, in partnership with U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance (USBIF), is set to invest $8.5 million in North Carolina Central University (NCCU). This transformative investment aims to bolster critical medical care at a new community health center in Halifax County, North Carolina.

The commitment, totaling $10.5 million and aligned with the U.S. Treasury's Federal New Markets Tax Credit Program, marks the federal program's inaugural investment in a North Carolina historically Black college and university (HBCU).

NCCU will address health disparities and clinical care inequalities across the state through the establishment of two innovative entities: Academic Community Health Centers and Rural Health Hub. The former will provide hands-on teaching and learning opportunities for NCCU students, surrounding communities, and partnering organizations, while the latter will offer health education, screenings and clinical services targeting chronic diseases in underserved areas.

"As we expand our reach, we're not just addressing health disparities; we're empowering communities, one family at a time, towards a healthier future," said Deepak Kumar, Ph.D., NCCU associate provost and dean of research and sponsored programs, and founder and president of the Rural Health Hub. “The Rural Health Hub brings a culture of wellness by breaking down barriers to healthcare access through strategic partnerships, community engagement, and innovative solutions. From mobile health units bridging transportation gaps to health screenings, education, and outreach, the hub embodies resilience and compassion.

Halifax County residents, facing higher rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infant mortality than North Carolina's averages, will benefit significantly. With a 50% higher reliance on healthcare through Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare due to reduced economic opportunities, this collaboration aims to provide expanded educational resources and learning opportunities for North Carolina's underserved residents.

Jonathan Ernst, vice President of Stonehenge Community Development LLC, applauded the collaborative approach to healthcare enhancement.

"This partnership allows NCCU to continue its rich legacy of service to underserved communities by providing the necessary tools and resources for individuals to navigate their pathway to better health."

U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance, committed to enhancing community access to essential resources, sees this collaboration as a catalyst for significant health improvements.

"Rural health disparities are often greater than those in more populous regions, and this unique collaboration with NCCU has the potential to significantly improve health outcomes," said William Carson, vice president and senior business development officer.

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