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Bronwyn Lucas, senior director of leadership and engagement for the NC Rural Center, has been invited to serve on the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on the Future of Local Public Health in North Carolina. The goal of this work, supported by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, is to assess our state’s local public health needs, strengths, and challenges, and develop a vision for the future.

The vital role of local public health in supporting North Carolina communities has never been more evident. Yet huge challenges exist in this sector, including per capita funding for public health in North Carolina decreasing by 27% in the past decade; nearly half the US public health workforce planning to retire or quit within the next five years; and a recent national survey of public health workers finding that 53% were experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and/or suicidal ideation.

Through investigating what is currently working and what could be improved, members of this task force aim to identify the most urgent funding, workforce, and other needs in this vital sector of public health. Building a strong base of local public health will help to improve all North Carolinians’ access to opportunities to live healthy lives, and provide a strong foundation for economic development in our communities.

“We have an incredible task before us and the importance of charting a vision for the future of public health in NC is critical now more than ever before,” said Bronwyn. “The combined knowledge, experience, insight, and passion for public service that exists on this task force give me great hope for a better future for NC.”

The task force is made up of nearly 60 experts representing local public health, health equity, data, communications, business, health care, philanthropy, and other related fields. This group will meet for 10 months and produce a final report with recommendations to local and state policy makers and stakeholder groups.

For more information, visit the task force web page here.