Women's History Month
March 2023 Newsletter
March 28, 2023
May 2023 Newsletter
May 25, 2023
Rachel Lehman FNP-BC

The World in Our Neighborhood

How NeighborHealth Center Serves its International Neighbors

NeighborHealth Center exists to serve the healthcare needs of our neighbors right here in Wake County, North Carolina, but the work we do has international implications far beyond a few ZIP codes. At NeighborHealth, we care deeply about the health of all of our neighbors, regardless of their background or ability to pay, and we proudly serve patients from over 80 countries. The world is indeed right at our doorstep. We believe our work here in Raleigh answers God’s call to serve the world.

Every April, the World Health Organization celebrates World Health Day, recognizing the work that has been done and the work still to be done in ensuring “Health for All,” as the theme of this year’s World Health Day emphasizes. In honor of this celebration, we spoke with family nurse practitioner Rachel Lehman, FNP-BC, who shared more about what it means to serve a culturally diverse patient population. Rachel has worked in healthcare settings in Southeast Asia, and like our other providers, she often cares for patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. Some experience language barriers; some came to the United States as refugees; some have settled here in Raleigh for a time and will move on to other places. Many of these patients have had little to no experience with a healthcare system like ours and are often skeptical about engaging with a new healthcare model.

Rachel Lehman FNP-BC
NeighborHealth family nurse practitioner, Rachel Lehman, FNP-BC

One of the most important ways we serve our international patients is by helping them acclimate to the U.S. healthcare model, which emphasizes prevention (rather than just treatment) of disease, unlike many other healthcare systems, especially in developing countries. Our providers meet our patients where they are, educating them on the value of having a primary care provider. Sometimes, Rachel explains, “Half of the visit is just getting patients on board with why they’re here when they’re not sick. If we can help people think about how to prevent disease before it happens, rather than just taking care of disease when it happens, you can prolong life and encourage healthier lives.” We hope to empower our patients to become their own health advocates wherever they go; this kind of education is essential to achieving that goal.

Interpretation services also play a crucial role in caring for our international neighbors. We use a digital interpretation program that connects providers and patients via video call to interpreters of over 160 languages. We also have 18 bilingual staff members representing seven languages on our team. While our patients appreciate all our interpretation services, our staff observed a real difference when patients have an interpreter in the room with them. Specifically, our Spanish interpreters and Swahili-speaking nurse on staff have a significant impact on the care of patients who speak those languages. “I see Spanish-speaking patients immediately feel more at ease when a Spanish interpreter comes into the room. It makes a big difference to have a person here with them rather than a voice coming from an iPad screen,” Rachel says. In her experience when our Swahili-speaking nurse joins an appointment, she brings a powerful sense of comfort to the patient, a feeling Rachel describes as “warmth.” The interpreters on our staff also give our providers a deeper awareness of cultural differences, which allows them to extend more excellent and compassionate care. Many of our providers have also lived and served in other parts of the world, contributing to our clinical team’s overall cultural understanding.

For Rachel, one of the biggest differences between working in Southeast Asia and here at NeighborHealth is the availability of resources. “We have so many resources and public health programs to draw from,” she says. “We have testing available that we didn’t have overseas—we’re able to get necessary imaging like MRIs and CAT scans and have labs available for our patients on the sliding fee scale. All vaccines are free for children through a federally funded program, and that makes a huge impact to be able to give all our kids vaccines.” 

At NeighborHealth, it is our privilege to promote “Health for All” by serving the unique healthcare needs of our international neighbors right here in Wake County. The world is right here in our neighborhood. We invite you to join us in our mission of loving our neighbors through excellent, compassionate, and accessible healthcare.

NeighborHealth Awarded Grant


We are pleased to announce that NeighborHealth Center has been awarded a Community Health Grant through the Office of Rural Health. The $150,000 grant is for three years and will help cover the cost of providing care to uninsured patients. In 2022, NHC provided nearly $1.3 million in unreimbursed care to our uninsured patients. This grant will make a sizable dent in those costs going forward and increase our capacity to serve more people.

Every day is World Health Day at NeighborHealth!

Thanks to each and everyone who so generously supports us. We couldn’t do what we do without your investment in our work and we love having you as part of our “neighborhood.” It’s anticipated that unreimbursed care this year will approach $1.5 million as our patient base continues to grow. A monthly, recurring gift or a one-time donation will provide healthcare to our neighbors next door and those from around the world.

Thank you for your continued partnership.
With gratitude,
Daniel Lipparelli
Chief Executive Officer

Serving Christ by loving our neighbors through excellent, compassionate, and accessible health care.