The Role of FaithHealth
An interview with Rev Angela Brown, Community Health Educator, Wake Forest Baptist Health
What is your role in FaithHealth?
I work in the FaithHealth Division of WFBH, which is comprised of four distinctive departments – one being Community Engagement. I hold the position of the Community Health Coordinator. Daily, I am involved in the lives of many community members helping them navigate resources in order to maintain or stabilize their wellbeing within their own communities.
This might involve:
- pharmaceutical education and or financial support;
- food security, environmental issues or concerns;
- housing stability;
- mental health awareness and resource connections.
This role is like a “link” or a connection to life sustaining resources for day to day living. I have the opportunity to make direct line of connections with those community members to other nonprofit organizations, faith communities, mental health services, meal and food banks and so many other vital community resources.
Most importantly, I strive to establish partnerships and relationships with various community service lines; as well as stay abreast on available resources and opportunities; which in turn helps me to make a difference in the lives of the people. While persons who work with in the walls of the hospital systems continue to offer and provide medical care to the community; I in turn offer and provide a level of community care. Therefore, without the knowledge of resources-which seems to evolve daily and without those relational partnerships it would be difficult for me to navigate the complexity of the needs of so many people/families.
Why is this role important?
This role is significantly important in the life of the community; because of the many needs that go unattended; due to persons being under qualified or over qualified for certain services, not well informed, lack of education, too many health disparities, lack of family or community support and no one to advocate for them. I call it getting into the “sweet spot.” A spot that not too many people are willing or able to tread for others. Not because they don’t care but sometimes their program or their services do not permit them to do so. I believe this role offers a community network to people are after leaving out of the doors of a hospital network.
An example of Angela’s service:
A mother and father were over thousands of miles away from their daughters who were here in our local area. The daughters were both involved in an almost fatal motor vehicle accident. So, the family pulled together funds to help get the parents here to Winston Salem. During their daughters’ hospital stays, the parents needed financial support to continue to stay at the Family house. In addition, prior to the daughters being discharged from the hospital, the parents had decided to have the daughters move back home to Mexico with them.
Grateful their daughters survived this accident; but they had to now learn how to help one of the daughters care for herself while confined to a wheelchair. And the family had no money to get them back home and reached out to FaithHealth again for support. Through the service work of FaithHealth and partnership with the Family House, I was able to secure and cover their remaining bill there at the Family House.
Then, after determining the cost to fly four adults and a small dog back to Mexico; I had to bring in additional support. I brought in another community partner, The Hispanic League, who established a Go Fund Me page to solicit funds from the Hispanic community to help with this huge endeavor. Funds were collected beyond the amount we needed. The Hispanic League purchased the plane tickets, including their luggage, pet fee, and wheelchair fee. Plus, we were able to provide the family with the remaining money in cash to have and use for essentials once they arrived back home in Mexico. Melissa Thompson from the Family House provided transportation for the entire family to the airport.
The family was so excited. And on the day of their departure colleague, the community partner and I arrived at the Family House to say our farewell, take pictures and to pray with them before leaving. They told me that I was now in “the family.” I received a text from them once they arrived back in Mexico- letting me know that all was well and that they will never forget the love and support for their family.