In a region where no one grows up without going to church or organized religion, there’s another thing that people go to churches for: health care.
A rural handful of towns in North Carolina and South Carolina is home to world-class hospitals that are the best in the country. Surgeons, pediatricians, even every post-partum midwife in the region, is trained to give women care at those hospitals, and since 2005, a state-chartered Health and Wellness Education Center has hosted dozens of seminars, each with the aim of changing the outlook and practices of the region’s doctors.
Dr. Dolores Heer, one of the original leaders of the medical education center, is happy to see those hospitals benefiting from the clinic’s initiatives, but she thinks the change is coming not only because of the improved training, but because it’s changing the practices of other doctors.
“We’re not the only people with low expectations for the health care industry here,” said Dr. Heer, the chief of family medicine at Martin Memorial Hospital in Hoke County. “But we’re the only ones who are trying to transform it, as opposed to blaming it on the system.”