Zomorodi to Direct New Rural Interprofessional Health Initiative for UNC Health Affairs Schools

UNC Health Care announced today that a $1.5 million grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust will establish a new UNC Rural Interprofessional Health Initiative, giving UNC health professions students interprofessional clinical experiences in rural areas of North Carolina. SON Associate Professor Meg Zomorodi, PhD, RN, CNL will serve as director of the effort.

Reposted from the UNC Health Care Newsroom

Kenan Charitable Trust Awards $1.5 million to UNC Health Affairs Schools

Media contact: Phil Bridges, 984-974-1152,

Chapel Hill, N.C. — July 5, 2017 — The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust has awarded the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $1.5 million to establish interprofessional clinical experiences for health professions students in rural areas of the state, launching the UNC Rural Interprofessional Health Initiative (RIPHI).

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, serves North Carolina, the United States, and the world through teaching, research, and public service. The proposed UNC Rural Interprofessional Health Initiative is a joint effort of the health professions schools at UNC, each of which has a similar mission – improve and promote the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians, improve public health and eliminate health inequities, advance and advocate for health care through education, practice, research, innovation and collaboration.

“We are extremely grateful to the Kenan Trust for funding work that will help improve the health of all North Carolinians, especially those suffering health disparities simply because they reside in rural areas,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “By bringing together the specialized talents of faculty and students from across the Carolina Community, we can make a positive impact in health care delivery. Rural communities will see the benefit through direct service and the development of a health workforce prepared to best serve their needs.”

The award from the Kenan Trust will launch a three-year pilot to provide faculty and programmatic support that will enable UNC health professions students to serve and learn in underserved rural clinic settings in North Carolina. Goals of the project are to inspire a rural health care workforce and to help transform clinical care in underserved areas.

“This collaboration will develop health professionals in rural settings, and will optimize interprofessional faculty efforts in cooperation with practicing clinicians in rural North Carolina,” said Meg Zomorodi, PhD, RN, CNL, Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Zomorodi will serve as the Director of Interprofessional Education through the UNC RIPHI. “These efforts will yield shared curricula, support innovative clinical delivery models with population health management strategies, and generate a health profession pipeline for rural settings.”

The aims of the UNC RIPHI include the following:

In addition to supporting UNC RIPHI Faculty Champions at each of the UNC Health Affairs Schools – UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, UNC Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, Social Work, and UNC School of Medicine and its Department of Allied Health Sciences, the Kenan Charitable Trust will also provide support for the UNC RIPHI Rural Site Investment Fund to foster clinical community site development and implementation.

“This is a win-win collaboration, where we will produce learning experiences for UNC students that will not only transform their lives of service, but will also transform the health of the communities they serve,” said Robert Bashford, MD, UNC School of Medicine Associate Dean for Rural Initiatives. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Kenan Charitable Trust for recognizing the vital importance of improving rural health in our state.”