—Rev. Gary Gunderson, MDiv, DMin
VP, Faith and Health Ministries, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
From Rev. Gunderson’s video at WakeHealth.edu/Faith-and-Health-Ministries
FaithHealthNC is a dynamic partnership between faith communities and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (or other health care providers) focused on improving health. Partnerships are built on webs of trust, combining the caring strengths of congregations, the clinical expertise of the provider and a network of community resources. Members of the partnership sign a covenant linking them together in a shared mission of healing.
Clergy and their congregations assign volunteers, known as Congregational Care Coordinators (CCCs), to facilitate supportive health care ministries for their members and neighbors. When illness strikes, the volunteers provide support before, during and after hospitalization. They make home visits, provide emotional and spiritual support, and assess practical needs including meals, transportation and help with medications. They also facilitate educational events focused on preventive medicine and wellness.
Wake Forest Baptist provides Health Care Liaisons (HCLs) to help clergy and their CCCs in providing care and ensuring that member needs are met during times of illness. They facilitate training for CCCs in topics such as respecting patients’ privacy, hospital visitation, care at the end of life, mental health first aide and home health care. They ensure that member congregations receive a wealth of educational resources aimed at improving health. For more information, please contact Rev. Chris Gambill, 336-716-0459, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does FaithHealthNC work?
FaithHealthNC improves health by combining the caring strengths of faith communities and the clinical expertise of medical providers such as Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Transformative support is generated for congregational members and their neighbors after illness strikes—before, during and after hospitalization. Faith communities also receive abundant educational opportunities to promote health.
Participating congregations appoint volunteer Congregational Care Coordinators to facilitate care for members and their neighbors during times of illness. They work with Health Care Liaisons affiliated with the provider to ensure that people receive care at the right time (usually sooner than later), the right place (primary care physicians, community clinics, outpatient centers, the hospital), and with the right after care (adequate meals, transportation, help with medications, home care services). People are accompanied across the journey of illness by others they know and trust.
How will my congregation benefit?
Congregations and clergy who join the partnership receive an array of benefits defined in a covenant with Wake Forest Baptist or other participating hospitals. These include access to Health Care Liaisons to navigate the health care system when illness strikes and connect members to needed medical resources. Volunteer Congregational Care Coordinators can arrange health education events, including health fairs, expert speakers and medical mission opportunities for their communities.
Congregations will experience new levels of energy and cohesion as they focus on caring for each other and their neighbors. New and invigorating connections will occur with people in their neighborhoods and communities. New levels of cooperation will develop with other participating congregations and clergy. New leadership will emerge to take on health care roles within the congregation.
Is FaithHealthNC for all faiths?
These health-focused partnerships are open to all faith communities.
How can my congregation become involved?
The clergy of congregations may contact Rev. Chris Gambill, 336-716-0459, email@example.com, to explore joining FaithHealthNC.
Clergy (and a designated officer of the congregation as appropriate) sign a covenant along with the director of FaithHealthNC. This partnership agreement defines the shared responsibilities of the clergy, the congregation and Wake Forest Baptist (or other participating hospitals). Benefits to the clergy and congregation are outlined. Congregations then invite their members to join FaithHealthNC.