When 30 agencies focused on the health and wellness of Johnston County residents came together recently, Lee Ann Keen was there.
A nurse with the Johnston County Public Health Department, Keen wanted to know what the various agencies could offer the patients who come through the health department’s doors. Along the way, she learned how she might be able to help her mother-in-law.
“My mother-in-law is legally deaf,” Keen said. “She has old hearing aids and can’t afford new ones. She’s 82 and on Social Security.”
But at the booth for the N.C. Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Keen learned her mother-in-law might qualify for income-based programs that help with hearing aids.
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“I didn’t know she would qualify for something like this, but now I’m going to call and find out more about it,” Keen said.
The Johnston County Health Department sponsored what it called the Human Services Countywide Expo. The Aug. 24 event drew scores of health and wellness professionals to the Johnston County Agricultural Center near Smithfield.
Kimetha Fulwood, a health education supervisor with the health department, deemed the event a success. “We even had vendors show up who didn’t RSVP, so we had more than we expected,” Fulwood said. “This is just such a great networking event for our health community.
“It lets our health professionals connect with each other to better serve the community. So when someone calls them and needs help, they can direct them to the best resources. It turned out to be a wonderful collaboration.”
Some members of the public attended the expo, but it was mostly people like U.D. Nwoko, a community outreach specialist at Southeastern Healthcare, an adult-care firm that offers home health, behavioral health and respite services in Wake, Durham and Johnston counties.
Nwoko spent some time talking with Mary Jernigan of Destiny Counseling Connection, which offers counseling, clinical and substance-abuse assessments, anger management, PTSD assistance, kids groups, and group and parenting classes.
“I just wanted to find out who they serve and how we might be able to help each others’ agencies cover beyond who each of us serves,” Nwoko said. “Anything we can do to work together and keep people from being lost in limbo, as so often happens.”
Other agencies at the expo included the N.C. Division of Services for the Blind, Project Access Johnston County, Johnston County Schools, Johnston Health, the Social Security Administration, Serve the Need, Haines Vision Care, the Johnston County Mental Health Center, Pathways to Life, Johnston Recovery, N.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Restoration Family Services, the Johnston County Department of Social Services, Pride in North Carolina Inc. and Harbor Inc.
Abbie Bennett: 910-849-2827; @AbbieRBennett