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Cape Fear Valley Receives $1 Million Duke Endowment Grant

Cape Fear Valley Health has received a $1 million Duke Endowment grant to help grow the health system’s new psychiatry residency program.

Launched in 2018, the program’s mission is to train new psychiatrists who will hopefully practice in more rural areas of the state. The nation’s rural communities are struggling to attract new psychiatric specialists as older physicians retire out of the workforce.

Samuel Fleishman, M.D., is Cape Fear Valley Health’s Chief Medical Officer. He says there are entire counties in the health system’s six-county coverage area that do not have a psychiatrist.

“The need for behavioral healthcare and psychiatrists has always been a big issue for our region,” he said. “Our psychiatrists have long been challenged with an overwhelming community need.”

The Duke Endowment grant will help offset the program’s start-up costs for the first three years. The program launched with just four residents, but will have 16 by 2020. That number will grow to 24 in 2022 when a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship is added.

The program’s residents train by providing psychiatric care at Cape Fear Valley Health inpatient and outpatient facilities.

“We’re excited to be able to build the program up,” said Scott Klenzak, M.D., Cape Fear Valley’s Psychiatry Residency Program Director. “These residents help take care of those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse in our community.”

Lin Hollowell, Director of The Duke Endowment’s Health Care program area, said funding programs like Cape Fear Valley’s is important because the need for psychiatrists will only grow in coming years.

“The shortage of psychiatrists is particularly dire in rural regions,” he said. “The program at Cape Fear Valley Health will expand access to quality care for people in need and lay the groundwork for providing important services in the future.”

Cape Fear Valley CEO Mike Nagowski says he is grateful The Duke Endowment chose to invest in Cape Fear Valley’s fledgling residency program and its mission.

“We are so excited about this new partnership,” Nagowski said. “The Duke Endowment understands the importance of the Psychiatry Residency Program to our region, as well as the funding challenges that come with starting these kinds of programs.”

Based in Charlotte, The Duke Endowment has distributed more than $3.6 billion in grants since its creation in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke. The private foundation’s mission is to strengthen North Carolina and South Carolina communities by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits.

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