Shelley Carraway

Jackson County Health Director Shelley Carraway has been invited to serve on the N.C. Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on the Future of Local Public Health in North Carolina.

The goal of this work, supported by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, is to assess the state’s local public health needs, strengths and challenges and develop a vision for the future.

Huge challenges exist in the local health care sector, including per capita funding for public health in North Carolina decreasing by 27 percent in the past decade; nearly half the U.S. public health workforce planning to retire or quit within the next five years; and a recent national survey of public health workers finding that 53 percent were experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD and/or suicidal ideation.

Through investigating what is currently working and what could be improved, members of this task force aim to identify the most urgent funding, workforce and other needs in this vital sector of public health.

“I’m thrilled to be part of this initiative,” Carraway said. “It’s long overdue. The N.C. Public Health infrastructure has always been the silent hero and now is the time to shine light on it.”

The task force is made up of nearly 60 experts representing local public health, health equity, data, communications, business, health care, philanthropy and other related fields. This group will meet for 10 months and produce a final report with recommendations to local and state policymakers and stakeholder groups.

For more information, visit the task force webpage www.nciom.org/future-of-local-public-health-in-north-carolina.