Health-care system offers free screenings

HUNTERSVILLE – One of Novant Health’s biggest missions in 2014 will be to screen at least 500,000 people for pre-diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

Huntersville residents were some of the first to get free screenings in what is the organization’s largest community wellness initiative.

The health-care system held its first free screening in Huntersville on Jan. 24 at Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics.

“The beauty of this is that it’s just what people need,” said Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown, Novant Health senior vice president of physician services. “They need people to be able to come to them. Our focus is on engaging them to come use our services. We’ve got to transform healthcare. We’re dedicated to helping people be informed, educated and engaged in their own health.”

The screenings serve that purpose well, Novant Health Market Support Manager Terri Bennett said.

“This just fulfills our mission, that we bring the care that the community needs,” Bennett said. “We’re caring for the community one person at a time,” Bennett said.

Those interested in participating can find out more at

Novant Health held its first screenings throughout its markets in Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas. It will hold more screenings throughout the year at local events, community health fairs, businesses and churches.

“What better way for people to get a health screening than to have it in a place where they’re comfortable?” Garmon-Brown said. “We plan to continue this for years, so it’ll have a big impact on people both in the short term and on a long-term basis.”

Huntersville residents gave Novant Health high marks for the first wave of the hospital’s program.

“I go to my doctor once a year for a check-up, but I thought I’d go see what (Novant Health) said,” said Anna Roth, who learned she was on the cusp of being at risk for diabetes. “They were great people to work with, very helpful, and they gave great advice about how to lower the risk.”

Novant Health’s four-year-old process of finding patients who had been admitted to a hospital for various ailments but were undiagnosed with diabetes has already resulted in 6,000 discovered cases.