Near downtown Wilson, rising from Nash County farmland, or by the shores of the Tar River in Edgecombe County, one can find a gem…a promise of affordable, accessible and acceptable healthcare services for all people. Carolina Family Health Centers, Inc. has built community health centers and developed a broad scope of healthcare services in these eastern North Carolina counties over the course of nearly twenty years.
Wilson Community Health Center – Established in 1994
In the early nineties, the populace of Wilson County was suffering. Financial barriers forced many residents to postpone taking care of themselves until their conditions became emergency room or inpatient care issues.
Recognizing the needs of the community, a group of committed individuals formed a group called the Primary Care Committee. The Committee’s purpose was to take a more in-depth look at the problem and propose solutions to city and county leadership.
Following a year-long study, the Primary Care Committee approached the Duke Endowment and the North Carolina Office of Rural Health for assistance in bringing rural health services to the City of Wilson. Wilson County supported the effort by providing a facility with a lease payment of $1.00 per year. The community rallied around the cause by encouraging citizens to donate $1.00, which was matched by $5.00 from the Office of Rural Health.
From the vision of a small community and the support of local and state resources, the Wilson Community Health Center was born…..a true story of grass roots advocacy in action.
Harvest Family Health Center:
Established in 1998
To the North of Wilson, just up NC Highway 58 toward Sandy Cross, a Catholic nun,SisterSimone Begin’,was assisting migrant farm workers and their families during the growing season, working from a public school….sometimes a tent….in rural Nash County. Sister Simone and her small band of Catholic Nuns worked through the 1980’s. She is recognizedas the true founder of the Harvest Family Health Center.
In the early 1990’s, the North Carolina Office of Rural Health and Nash County Health Department came together to place a triple-wide trailer on a donated lot in a place called Strickland Crossroads. Utilizing County Health Department staff to provide healthcare services, the Nash County Migrant Center provided seasonal primary health care to area farm workers and their families.
In 1998, the Nash County Health Department made a decision to hand the operation over to Carolina Family Health Centers, Inc., and the Center became the second site owned and operated by the CFHC Corporation. Carolina Family recruited permanent staff and opened the Center year-around, accommodating not only farm worker families, but other permanent residents of Nash County and its surrounding communities.
The Center was relocated to a larger facility in 2002, with financing from The Duke Endowment, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
Over the next several years, the population accessing services continued to grow in number and diversity. With financial assistance from the USDA, Carolina Family relocated Harvest Family Health Center once again into an even larger facility, completed in April 2011. …another true story of service born of community need.
Freedom Hill Community Health Center: Established in 2005
Nash and Wilson counties were not alone in their shortage of primary care services. Edgecombe County was quickly gaining notoriety for high poverty rates and unfortunate disparity in health outcomes among its residents.
Carolina Family Health Centers, Inc. commissioned a Needs Assessment and, based on the results, petitioned the Health Resources and Services Administration for grant funding to support the operation of a community health center in Edgecombe County.
Provisionally located in Tarboro, Freedom Hill Community Health Center opened a small medical office adjacent to Heritage Hospital in the Spring of 2005. Ancillary services were offered from a FEMA trailer located beside the Town Hall in Princeville.
Adopting the original name of the town of Princeville, Freedom Hill honors the memory of Turner Prince and the freed African Americans who founded Princeville at the end of the civil war.
Carolina Family secured a USDA loan to build the 10,000 square foot, state-of-the-art healthcare facility that now stands on the outskirts of Princeville.