An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville | Statement of Compassion & Inclusion


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

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 program 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 program 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 programs 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 programs 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 programs 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 program 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 programs. 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 programs 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 programs in more and more NC communities,” says NCCHW Executive Director, Amy Joy Lanou. “In 2018 alone, almost 1900 people participated in fall prevention programs in more than 120 different sites across the state.”

Upcoming Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Programs

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

Upcoming A Matter of Balance Programs

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 programs, visit the website The program 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.