A Partnership Between the Carter Center and CareNet, Inc

Our current vice president, Gary Gunderson, was previously employed by the Carter Center, a nongovernmental organization helping to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy and human rights; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care.  While at the Carter Center, Dr. Gunderson spearheaded many of their relationships with the intersection of faith and health.

CareNet is now building on and developing a further relationship with the Carter Center. They will serve in consultant capacity to help us in two primary ways. First, we will expand integrated behavioral health in primary care facilities across North Carolina. Second, using a current program called SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment), an early assessment of drug/alcohol usage in a primary care setting, we’re going to adapt it to congregational settings or faith contexts. We believe we can train people to do these assessments in faith contexts and use that adaptive logic to move it out of the primary care clinic and into congregations.

What we know is that if we can do early detection of drug/alcohol usage, it will lesson the likelihood that it will turn into chronic diseases, which is an epidemic in our country and costing our health care system. We think the relationships that clergy have, particularly in congregations where there might be heavy Medicaid members and in African-American congregations where they get a lot of actual health information and support, are vital. Therefore, we’re depending upon and raising the profile of faith communities as deliverers of prevention and wellness health care.

There is a significant health impact of congregations on their congregants and community. Good preaching, good pastoral care, good Bible study, good follow-up, these all increase health in a community. Church has just never thought of itself in this way. Research shows that a healthy church decreases what we call social determinants that eventually lead to good health. Churches that are healthy, that really take seriously their call, have been doing this for a long time. But they’ve never quite seen the connection between what they are doing and health care.  We plan to change that.

CareNet President, Steve Scoggin

Related stories: CareNet Counseling, a Leader in Innovation in a Time of Change, An Interview with Gary Gunderson

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1 Comment

  1. What an exciting move forward in enabling holistic health for our congregations! Kudos Steve!


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