North Carolina takes home a better report card, but still needs a tutor

The 2011 NC Child Health Report Card is out, and the news is mostly good. The report from Action for Children North Carolina and the NC Institute of Medicine shows that in 2011, children’s access to care and preventive health either got better or remained the same, and engagement in risky health behaviors like alcohol consumption, tobacco use or other substance abuse slightly improved.

 This is no coincidence.

 Most of these improvements have to do with educating parents and caregivers and ensuring at-risk families get the support they need from proven methods and programs. Teaching our kids about healthy lifestyles, eating right and being physically active falls on parents and adults, but sometimes that’s not enough. That’s why having funding in place to support organizations like Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC), the state’s nationally recognized system of managed care, helps to improve access to health care for children and low-income mothers. The same is true for policies that limit youth exposure to tobacco or provide funding for campaigns to reduce child abuse and neglect, infant mortality and teen pregnancy.

 ECU’s mission to improve the health of our state through primary and preventive care has never been more relevant. And despite this encouraging news, facts show we still have more work to do.

 We can help move our state forward with improved access to health care for children – including dental care – by increasing the number of skilled physicians, dentists, nurses and health professionals working in rural and underserved parts of our state. We are proud to be both on the front lines – and fostering the future health leaders – that can help make North Carolina a healthier state in which to live and work.

 Let’s keep it up.