An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville


Managing Diabetes – Three-Year Grant to NCCHW

Building Capacity for Managing Diabetes – Three-Year Grant of $863,000 to N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville Will Make Statewide Impact

Nicolle Miller, Director of State and Community Collaborations, NCCHW

A new three-year grant of $863,000 to the N.C. Center for Health & Wellness (NCCHW) at UNC Asheville will help build North Carolina’s capacity for community-based programs to address diabetes. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Administration for Community Living (ACL), on May 1, 2019.

“Self-management education and support is vital help for people with chronic conditions like diabetes, and through this grant, we will help Area Agencies on Aging all over North Carolina become accredited providers of these programs, and gain reimbursement so the programs can continue and grow,” said Amy Joy Lanou, NCCHW executive director, professor and chair of UNC Asheville’s Health and Wellness Department. “Evidence shows that self-management education and support brings better health outcomes and reduces health care expenses and we hope to extend those benefits to people in rural and underserved areas across the state.”

Partnering with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency on Aging (PTRC AAA), NCCHW will work with the AAAs serving 37 eastern NC counties during the first year of the grant, to help them gain Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support accreditation through the American Association of Diabetes Educators. NCCHW and PTRC AAA will then assist the AAAs with Medicare billing, which will help sustain the diabetes education and support, as well as medical nutrition therapy programs for older adults with diabetes. The work will be extended into 11 western counties in the grant’s second year.

In the past two years, NCCHW also has received a major grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to support arthritis programs, and from ACL for falls prevention programs, as NCCHW continues in its role as a key figure in community health for older North Carolina residents, with more information at

 NCCHW was launched at UNC Asheville in 2010, and works statewide to impact policy, build capacity and create health initiatives through a web of community partners all over North Carolina providing wellness programs and education. With a staff of seven and offices in Asheville and Raleigh, NCCHW continues to add to its list of partners and reach more people across the state with wellness education and programs. For more information, visit

NCCHW Helps Expand Fall Prevention Programs

Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Programs Expand with Boost from N.C. Center for Health and Wellness

Meghan Bryant led the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention workshop at UNC Asheville. Janice DeMille (dark blue shirt) will teach the class in Marion.Meghan Bryant led the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention workshop at UNC Asheville. Janice DeMille (dark blue shirt) will teach the class in Marion.
April 23, 2019

Instructors serving 20 Western North Carolina counties learned how to teach basic Tai Chi at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center this spring – they are preparing to offer Tai Chi classes to older adults as a way to help prevent falls and maintain mobility, especially for those with arthritis. The two-day training was offered by UNC Asheville’s N.C. Center for Health and Wellness (NCCHW) on April 5-6, 2019.

“It’s a safe way to keep the body moving, have more fluid movement and be more confident,” said Cheryl Perry, one of 18 people who received the training. “When you get older, you start to get isolated, you don’t move around as much as you used to. This covers all the joints in the body and keeps you moving – it’s a wonderful way for people to have more movement in their lives.” Perry, a yoga teacher and retired physical therapy assistant, recently relocated to Asheville, plans to teach Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention as a volunteer with Land of Sky Regional Council’s Area Agency on Aging.

The training, part of NCCHW’s Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention program, follows the approach developed by Dr. Paul Lam, M.D., using the Tai Chi Sun style, known for its ability to improve relaxation, balance, and for its ease of use. Meghan Bryant, master trainer for the Dr. Lam’s Tai Chi for Health Institute, led the two full days of training for instructors across Western North Carolina.

“In Western North Carolina, we have some of the counties with the highest rates of unintentional fall deaths in the state.  With fall injuries, there’s often a decline in health after a fall – that’s one of the reasons we’re trying to increase the availability of these classes across the state and especially here in Western North Carolina,” said Ellen Bailey, grant manager for falls prevention with the Healthy Aging NC Initiative of NCCHW.  “Falls are not a natural part of aging – we want to get the word out that people can prevent them and improve overall quality of life – and we want to offer the tools to do that in more communities.”

Janice DeMille, who took part in the training workshop, is teaching Tai Chi for Arthritis at the Corpening YMCA in Marion where she lives, and will begin teaching classes starting May 13 at the McDowell Senior Center. “I’m a senior myself,” she said. “My goal is to really encourage people to keep moving and get out there. I’ve found there is a big desire to have Tai Chi for Arthritis – I want to fill that gap.”

Serving older adults in rural areas means overcoming physical and social isolation. “There are lots of possibilities for outreach in rural areas and each community is different, in terms of where older adults feel safe taking a class and what transportation is available,” said Bailey. “We’re partnering with the Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers, and YMCAs across the region. Faith communities are great sites for programs, and in some parts of the state, libraries also offer these classes. Fire and EMS departments are often the ones going out and helping people who have had a fall at home. Land of Sky and the WNC Falls Coalition are working with Madison County EMS as they get ready to have their EMTs trained in A Matter of Balance.”

NCCHW is helping to support A Matter of Balance classes and Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention in communities all over the state with grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living.

“With the support of Ellen Bailey, who joined the NCCHW as the falls prevention grant manager in early 2019, our community partners – area agencies on aging, senior centers, and many others – offer these classes in more and more NC communities,” says NCCHW Executive Director, Amy Joy Lanou. “In 2018 alone, almost 1900 people participated in fall prevention classes in more than 120 different sites across the state.”

Upcoming Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Classes

Marion – May 13-July 19, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
McDowell Senior Center, 100 Spaulding Rd., Marion

Upcoming A Matter of Balance Classes

Asheville – April 29-June 24, 2-4 p.m.
Land of Sky Regional Council, 339 New Leicester Hwy., Suite 140

Asheville – May 2-June 20, 10 a.m.-noon
Groce United Methodist Church, 954 Tunnel Rd.

Black Mountain – May 2-June 20, 2-4 p.m.
Givens Highland Farms Community Room, 200 Tabernacle Rd.

To learn more about falls prevention programs coordinated through NCCHW all over North Carolina, and upcoming classes, visit the website The class listing is updated regularly. Information about NCCHW is available at

World Tai Chi Day – April 27, 2019

World Tai Chi Day is this Saturday, April 27th! There are events happening across the state. Please let us know if there is a Tai Chi event in your area!

Govenor’s Proclamation 

2019 World Heeling Day

2019 World Tai Chi Heeling Day Program Guide 

Central NC – Chapel Hill-Carrboro

Date: Saturday, April 27th
Time: 9:00 AM -12:00 PM
Location: Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA
980 MLK Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514

All peoples, whether beginners, experts, or simply curious of these arts and practices, are welcome! Bring your friends and family to enjoy a morning of community and peace.

Host:  Louise Keefer

Western NC – Hendersonville

Date: Saturday, April 27th 
Time: 12-1pm 
Location: Jump Off Rock, 4433 Laurel Park Hwy, Laurel Park, NC 28739 

All forms of Tai Chi are welcome, and Tai Chi instructors will lead their form one at a time so participants will get a taste of all different types of Tai Chi! All are welcome! 

Host Instructor: Suzanne Tindol

Central NC – Raleigh

Date: Saturday, April 27th
Time: 9:30-10:30 AM
Location: The Ellipse, North Carolina Museum of Art, 2110 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607

We are planning a casual get-together to enjoy the practice of Tai Chi. Please plan on joining us—all levels of Tai Chi students are welcome, even if you’ve never done Tai Chi before! 

Host Instructor: Sharon Mills 

Eastern NC – Benson 

Date: Saturday, April 27th 
Time: 11am
Location: Benson Singing Grove, 400 E Main St., Benson NC 27504

If you know how to do Tai Chi or just want to check it out, please come join us. This is free and open to all ages. 

Host Instructor: Debra Cardone

Kate Lorig shares her personal experience

Kate Lorig, developer of the Chronic Disease Self-Management suite of programs, recently blogged about her personal experience with chronic illness and about evidence-based programs. You can read it here (opens as a PDF document).

An excerpt from the beginning: 

I Have a Chronic Illness—I don’t “know” what to do—No One Gave me the Textbook

We all have too many problems and too many choices. Often this is so overwhelming that we do not do anything for fear of making of the wrong choice. We decide to just live with our diseases and symptoms.

I know this, because I was born with a genetic chronic illness and have acquired a few more along the way. In fact, as I look back, I have never been what the rest of the world calls well. I, like many people, deal with pain, the vagaries of aging, and a constant fight with the health care system. I sometimes think it is better to do nothing than to engage in another stressful encounter or have yet another test or explain myself yet again to a new health professional. Having a chronic illness is hard work.


“Naming your condition did not change you. It does not define you, but it does change the way you and the world might think about you.”
— Quote from Kate Lorig’s blog post

April Bulletin

Front page of the April Bulletin

Healthy Aging NC has a monthly bulletin, and you can find April’s news HERE.


Employee Testimonial: Sydney Swaim

Healthy Aging NC Initiative  —  Communications Specialist

Sydney began UNC Asheville in the Fall of 2018 as a sophomore. Her major is political science with a focus on American Government. She holds the Communications Specialist student employment position for the NC Center for Health and Wellness’s Healthy Aging NC Initiative.

Q: What are your job tasks with the Healthy Aging NC Initiative of the NC Center for Health and Wellness?

I have been co-leading a program called Walk With Ease—last semester I started to help coordinate the program and learned about it, now I am trained in it and am a facilitator. I do a lot of Facebook posts on the Healthy Aging NC page about aging and arthritis. I also have various tasks, it depends on the week—I have done some powerpoint development, some research, some data entry, and testimonials of past program participants and leaders.

Q: Why do you think this job and the Healthy Aging NC Initiative is important?

The Healthy Aging NC Initiative offers things that work and are effective. There are programs that are evidence-based and help people feel better. I am learning about myself and my own chronic illnesses while learning about these programs. Even doing Walk With Ease has been hard for me, walking can be a struggle for me. I thought I would have trouble relating to older adults as a college student. But going through my own experiences, it has given me an appreciation of what we are doing.

Q: Did you hold any stereotypes about working with older adults? Has that changed at all?

I did hold some stigmas that I think a lot of people my age have. You worry that older adults will look down on you because you are young. I even thought that they may be rude and crotchety, but I have not had that experience. Everyone has been respectful and receptive to what I have to say during Walk With Ease and my other communications.

Q: How does this job pertain to your future?

Part of what I care about going into the Political Science field is health care. Being someone who struggles with chronic illnesses myself, I would like to help in initiating some form of truly affordable healthcare for all Americans. Everyone deserves the right to get the help they need and when you’re sick the last thing you need to worry about is how you’re going to pay your medical bill.

NCOA Falls Free Photo Contest Honorable Mention

Congratulations to the High Country Area Agency on Aging for winning honorable mention in the National Council on Aging Falls Free® photo contest. With over 100 entries submitted, we are proud to have a photo from our network among the winners. An announcement with all the winning entries will be shared by NCOA next week.

New Report: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

Being physically active is one of the most important things that people of all ages can do to improve their health. The latest edition of the Department of Health and Human Services “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans” is clear: physical activity promotes growth and development and can make people feel better, function better, sleep better and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Health benefits start immediately after exercising, and even short episodes of physical activity are good for you. Even better, research shows that just about everyone benefits: men and women, people living with a chronic condition or disability, young children and older adults. The key guidelines for older adults focus mainly on two types of activity—aerobic and muscle-strengthening and an entire chapterfocuses on older adults beginning on page 66. Check out all of the information at  The evidence about the health benefits of regular physical activity is well established, and research continues to provide insight into what works to get people moving.


Remarkable Integration Conference

Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency on Aging is pleased to partner with Northwest Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to offer the premier Remarkable Integration: Human Service & Health Care Partnerships Conference December 3 & 4, 2018 at the Greensboro Coliseum Event Center. This conference features national, state and local speakers on topics that will address social determinants of health (Healthy Opportunities) and partnerships between human services and healthcare organizations.  One of our conference speakers, Dr. Adam Zolotor, President and CEO, North Carolina Institute of Medicine stated, “Bridging healthcare and human services is timely and appropriate.”  As we continue to serve many more seniors, we must look to diversifying revenue. 

(registration now closed) Step by Step instructions for registering online.  The conference will provide up to 11.5 contact hours from Northwest AHEC.

Concurrent with the conference we are offering a no cost Caregiver Expo for the public.  Conference attendees can also spend time visiting exhibitors during the two-day time-frame.