Health

A picture of corn rows.
Huw Williams / Wikipedia

Inmates at seven North Carolina prisons have grown 16,250 pounds of fresh produce for local food banks and soup kitchens since the Combating Hunger program launched last spring.

The initiative is a partnership with the nonprofit Harvest Now, which has helped set up similar programs in other states.

North Carolina Public Safety Department Spokesman Keith Acree says this will allow nearby charities to provide more nutritious food to people in their communities.

A picture of a young man with his head in his hands.
Sander van der Wel / Wikipedia

The North Carolina chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is hosting a two-day mental health conference in Raleigh. Discussion will focus heavily on the best practices for discussing and preventing suicide.

This week, the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force reported 46 children died by suicide last year, more than double the number in 2010.

Child death rates in North Carolina have held steady in recent years despite a downward trend since the 1990s.
Lotus Carroll / Flickr Creative Commons

The state's child fatality rate remained relatively unchanged in 2014 despite an increase in suicide. That's according to data released by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.

A picture of a young couple.
Kelly Boone / Wikipedia

The nonprofit SHIFT NC has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control to help health centers coordinate and improve services for teens in Durham.

The Bull City's pregnancy rate is above the state average.

A picture of a patient and a doctor meeting over a web connection.
Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems employees can now make appointments at the tech company's private medical practice in the Research Triangle Park.

The new LifeConnections Health Center offers medical, mental, vision, telehealth and holistic care, and an in-house gym. It replaces a smaller telehealth-only clinic on the grounds. RTP is the third of Cisco's LifeConnections Centers. This facility will serve about 5,000 employees and their families.

Aziz Sancar
Dave DeWitt

Aziz Sancar and Paul Modrich have both devoted their professional lives to DNA repair. That might seem like a small enough area of research that, if two of the most important scientists in the field live and work a few miles apart, they would be frequent collaborators.

A cigarette in an ashtray.
Tomasz Sienicki / Wikipedia

Nicotine is about as addictive as heroin. It is also about as hard to kick, according to Dr. James Davis of the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation.

His organization is participating in the Race To Quit, NC campaign this week to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking, and to point smokers to resources.

ICD-9 logo
http://icd9cm.drgily.com/ / Wikipedia

Doctors and hospitals will have a higher bar to clear when submitting insurance claims, starting today.

Federal law requires them to begin tracking patient care and submitting insurance claims using the more specific ICD-10 coding system. The broader ICD-9 had been in place for decades.

Julie Henry is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Hospital Association.

A picture of Wyatt Bond.
StoryDriven Media Group / wearestorydriven.com

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and N.C. State University's Counseling Center is trying to get people talking about it.

Clinical social workers Noah Martinson and Daniel Goldstein launched a campaign called #StoptheStigma. They and StoryDriven Media Group  released a video featuring three NCSU students talking about surviving their own suicide attempts.

A picture of a homeless man and a shopping cart.
Matthew Woitunski / Wikipedia

The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service in opening a new men's homeless shelter in Chapel Hill this week.

The new SECU Community House will replace the one in the old Town Hall building, and it will offer more permanent beds. It's still the only shelter for adult single men in Orange County.

IFC Executive Director Michael Reinke says he's been working in transitional housing services for 28 years.

KOMUnews / flickr.com/photos/komunews/15409762240

North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services is urging people to get the flu shot now, a month before flu season is supposed to get started.

Last year's flu season was particularly nasty.

A picture of a crying person.
Joe Penna / flickr.com/photos/pennajoe/2539202649

North Carolina's new Mental Health and Substance Abuse task force meets for the first time Tuesday.

Dr. Sarah Arif of Cleveland and Farris Barakat help a boy at the temporary Syrian American Medical Society dental clinic at the Al-Salaam School in Reyhanli.
Alena Advic

Months before his neighbor barged into his Chapel Hill apartment and fatally shot him, his wife and his sister-in-law, Deah Barakat had decided he wanted to help people escaping the war in Syria.

Deah, a 23-year-old student at the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry, had seen and heard about the escalating violence ravaging parts of his parents’ native country, so he called a dentist who was running clinics for displaced Syrians, and he told him: he wanted to take Americans to the Middle East and treat refugees.

A seflie of reporter Jorge Valencia with dentists in Syria
Jorge Valencia

A few weeks ago, WUNC reporter Jorge Valencia boarded a series of planes and buses en route to Reyhanli, a small city on the Turkish side of the Turkey-Syria border.

He was following a group of American dentists and students who were willing to travel into a dicey part of the world to complete a task: they wanted to carry out a mission that had been planned by Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha -- aspiring dentists who’d been planning on giving free care to refugees of the war in Syria before they were murdered by a neighbor in Chapel Hill this year.

A picture of a chicken.
Emilian Robert Vicol / Wikipedia

The North Carolina Agriculture Department has begun hosting avian flu informational meetings for people with backyard poultry operations.

If avian flu comes to the state, agriculture experts say backyard poultry will likely be the first to encounter the contagious and fatal disease because these flocks tend to live outdoors and use unprotected water sources.

A picture of assorted pills.
e-Magine Art / Flickr

Some mental health patients in rural Nash and Vance Counties are getting help from local nurses and technicians to keep their medications straight at home.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has given more than $2 million to fund the program, administered by the North Carolina Hospital Association.

Julia Wacker manages the Mobile Medicine Program for the NCHA.

An image of a solitary confinement cell
Chris Gray / Flcikr Creative Commons

Advocates are requesting the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the way North Carolina uses solitary confinement in prisons.

An image of double helix
Wikipedia Public Domain

Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine discovered a single genetic mutation that can cause autism. Last December, scientists identified about 1,000 gene mutations linked to autism but how the mutations caused the disorder remained unknown.

A picture of chickens.
woodley wonderworks / Wikipedia

The fall bird migration season has poultry producers concerned.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said avian flu is not dangerous to humans, but it is highly contagious among birds and can wipe out entire poultry flocks.

An image of life expectancy across NC counties
VCU Center on Society and Health

A couple miles up Highway 540 in Raleigh could mean a difference of 12 years in life expectancy, according to new maps from the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Binodkpn / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Health care organizations in the Triangle have difficulty providing hospice care for terminally ill children.  End-of-life care models for children are limited in the Raleigh-Durham area.

But a new program starting in September at Transitions LifeCare will provide hospice care for 10 terminally ill children at a time.

An image of a 'smart' insulin patch
UNC School of Medicine/ UNC Health Care

Pricking your finger and meticulously checking your blood sugar could no longer be the only way people with diabetes handle the disease.  Researches from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and N.C. State University are working to replace this painful process with a thin square patch the size of a penny.

Image of P. Murali Doraiswamy
Duke University

More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's and new evidence that suggests women's brains are especially vulnerable to the disease.

A picture of a woman with a bathtub balance seat.
Richard Duncan / CDC

North Carolina's population is aging quickly, increasing the demand for personal caregivers. But a report from a poverty advocacy organization says elderly people might have trouble finding reliable care unless caregivers' wages increase.

An image of bikers along the Dixie Pass Trail
Ed Billings / Bike Loud Troop 845

The members of Carrboro’s Boy Scout Troop 845 dipped their rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean in Oregon and repeated their chosen mantra: bike loud. With the wind at their backs and passion in their pedals, they began riding east with everything they had.

Image of Glen Warren and his three children
Glen Warren

Glen Warren vividly remembers the first moments of single fatherhood: he was standing in the living room of his new mobile home with his three kids, and he quickly realized that he had no idea how to make them dinner. 

In the coming years he learned how to piece together meals, filed for child support, and worked multiple jobs to put food on the table. And through all of this, he became increasingly certain about one thing: fatherhood is incredibly important. 

Image of stethoscope
Dr. Farouk / Flickr Creative Commons

People who live in rural North Carolina are still more likely to suffer from serious health problems than their urban counterparts. Rural counties show higher rates of heart disease and obesity, and rural residents have a lower life expectancy.

The recent closures of rural hospitals around the state makes those residents even more vulnerable. Research shows that systemic problems like slow economic development and spotty insurance coverage also contribute to rural health disparities.

Small children seated on the floor in front of a teacher.
woodleywonderworks / Flickr

North Carolina ranks 34th in the country for child well-being. That's according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The annual report evaluates states on economic prosperity, health, education, and family and community. It found one-in-four children in North Carolina lives in poverty.

A picture of hot dogs in a hot dog stand.
rollingrck / Flickr

The Durham County Department of Public Health wants consumers to know if food from mobile food vendors is coming from somebody who has a permit to sell it.

Environmental Health Director Christopher Salter said the department is also working to inform vendors of food safety regulations, which bar home food prep and selling from a stand without a permit.

An image of protestors outside Durham Co. Jail
Adam Pyburn / adampyburn.com

Updated Friday, October 9 at 2:30 p.m.

The Durham County Sheriff's Office has doubled the amount of time inmates at the Durham County Jail are allowed to spend outside their cells. General population detainees, or mainly those awaiting trial, are allowed to spend eight hours a day outside their cells, an increase from four hours a day.

Pages