In the wake of the civil unrest that enveloped the city of Charlotte in 2016, a directive called ONE Charlotte formed through a partnership between Atrium Health, Novant Health and Bank of America. That collaboration intended to serve critical challenges the community would face, including removing barriers to education, employment, and healthcare.

Just over two years after ONE Charlotte’s official launch, the group announced an expanded initiative that will substantially improve access to healthcare for city residents in six target zip codes. In working with the Mecklenburg County Health Department, and through the financial support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), the group is proudly rolling out two mobile health units.

Dubbed the ONE Charlotte Health Alliance, the units will offer wellness education programs, blood pressure checks, cholesterol and glucose tests, and weight management tools in the program’s infancy. Organizers hope to add medical, dental and behavioral health services to the mix of mobile offerings in the city’s public health priority areas.

Blue Cross NC has committed to investing $750,000 over the next three years to fund operations of the project’s mobile health units.

The six ZIP codes that will initially receive mobile service include 28205, 28206, 28208, 28216, and 28217. The Public Health Priority Areas within those ZIP codes were determined by a co-partnered Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) identifying them as having the most significant disparities for health and quality of life.

According to that same CHNA study—reviewing the healthcare habits of adults in Mecklenburg County—22% reported not having a regular source of care, while 20% said they were not able to see a doctor because of the cost. The same study found that 200,000 residents said they couldn’t afford to see a dentist.

Since its start in 2016, ONE Charlotte has been a breath of fresh air for a community that has long suffered from inequalities and turbulent times in its city center.

A Harvard University study in 2014 ranked Charlotte no. 50 out of 50 in terms of upward economic mobility. According to that report, a Charlotte-born child in the bottom fifth of incomes has less than a 5% chance to rise to the top fifth in his or her lifetime.

It was a desire to bring people of all races, all income levels, and all lots in life together for the good of the city that led Novant Health executive Jesse Cureton and other prominent leaders to establish ONE Charlotte.

The new mobile health units could potentially affect generations of Charlotte residents in areas of the city that need an infusion of positivity the most. Healthier people often relay those habits on to their children or grandchildren, which can have a tremendous effect on a child’s upbringing.

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