Novant Health Recognized by the United Nations

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Healthcare system to consult international body on women’s health issues.

Novant Health has been granted special consultative status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Consultative status for an organization enables it to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the U.N. Secretariat, programs, funds and agencies in a number of ways. This gives Novant Health a platform on the international stage to contribute to work in the areas of women’s and children’s health and wellness and population health, as well as poverty and food security.

“Novant Health women’s health and wellness will continue to provide exceptional care to the women in our local communities,” said Chere Gregory, senior vice president of Novant Health’s women’s health and wellness service. “With this collaboration, we will be able to increase the work we do abroad. It will give us the ability to identify host countries where we can work to improve health care and disease prevention for women and children.”    

Novant Health has built a “multidisciplinary approach in caring for women,” said Ashleigh Hargrave, director of Novant Health’s women’s health and wellness. “The women’s health and wellness service line strives to treat women as whole individuals, looking beyond the common areas of health which for many years focused only on obstetrics and gynecology. While obstetrics and gynecology is of paramount importance, we also look at gender-specific areas of care in every medical specialty.”

These programs include women’s heart health, domestic and intimate partner violence education and prevention, weight management, normal social and physical adolescent development, women’s midlife programs, caregiver support and resilience and overall disease prevention.

The consultative status builds on a global initiative launched in 2014 when Novant Health entered into a collaborative agreement with Kybele Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to improving childbirth safety worldwide through educational partnerships. The agreement enabled increased collaboration between Novant Health women’s services to reach beyond the boundaries of the United States and identify host country partnerships.

“Through the Kybele partnership, we have hosted country collaborations to provide clinical care and maternal/infant death-prevention programs. Our team members have been able to participate in global medical work to provide maternal-fetal education and support in Ghana,” Gregory said. “Working with both government and nongovernment agencies, we have been able to identify gender health care discrepancies and increase awareness about the care gaps that exist in North Carolina, across the United States and abroad.”

Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council is the highest status granted by the United Nations to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), allowing them to participate in the work of the United Nations. Consultative Status, depending on level, gives the organizations a number of rights to participate in the work of the U.N., to present their views and deliver testimony.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council addresses a vast number of economic and social topics through worldwide activities. The Novant Health special consultative status indicates the U.N.’s recognition of Novant Health’s global expertise in women's health, and is truly a significant honor given the fact that there are an estimated 3.7 million nongovernmental organizations worldwide.

As of January 2017, there were 143 organizations in general consultative status, 3,544 in special consultative status and 978 on the roster.

The role of the Economic and Social Council is to promote higher standards of living, full employment, social progress and development; solutions for economic, social and health problems; international cooperation and universal respect for human rights and freedoms. The council relies on NGOs to provide expertise and technical knowledge to support their work.

Special status is given to NGOs that “have a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, only a few of the fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC,” according to the U.N. Novant Health’s women’s health and wellness falls into this category.

About Novant Health
Novant Health is an integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient facilities and hospitals that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to communities in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. Named in 2016 by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the nation’s 150 best places to work in healthcare, Novant Health network consists of more than 1,500 physicians and over 25,000 employees that provide care at over 470 locations, including 14 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the health system serves more than 4.4 million patients annually and in 2016 provided more than $725.5 million in community benefit, including charity care and services. Diversity MBA has recognized the organization as one of the 50 best places for women and managers of diverse background to work and SK&A ranks Novant Health among the top 25 integrated health systems in the nation. Novant Health provides care in Virginia under the joint operating company, Novant Health UVA Health System.

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