How We Got Here
Over the last year, as we have continued to support organizations and communities throughout North Carolina, we’ve also been conducting a comprehensive strategic review, exploring answers to the two most important questions we face: what will it take for North Carolina to become one of the healthiest states in the nation where everyone has an opportunity to be healthy, and what will be our role in this pursuit.
We have drawn upon our own experiences, as well as those of our grantees and partners in undertaking this exploration, a process that has brought us to today – sharing where we are intending to focus our work moving forward and seeking broader input from the community at large.
Bear in mind, this is a work in progress. Some of what we have outlined below comes from years of experience working in a particular space, such as healthy food. And some we are newer to and just getting started with our planning, such as early childhood. As a result, things are very much subject to change.
And that is why we think it is important to share now. This public feedback phase complements targeted input sought from grantees, stakeholders, and subject-matter experts across the state, and is part of a broader, long-term effort informing our roadmap for the future.
What We are Asking
If you have an interest in the health and the future of North Carolina, see what we have outlined below. Better yet, if you have an idea on how we can make our intentions better, let us know.
While we are committed to the following four areas of focus, we know we are casting a wide net to achieve our goals. And that’s where we need help. Where should we concentrate our efforts? What are we not thinking of? If you have answers to these questions, we want to know.
So please, take a few minutes and read on.
Where We are Headed
Our approach to helping make North Carolina one of the healthiest states in the nation, includes:
Goal: Every young child (0-5) in North Carolina is on the path to lasting health, well-being, and success
- Build broad support for the systemic changes needed to invest in early child development: harness the power of narrative, networks, and data to create change.
- Improve living conditions for children and families: boost income, expand access to healthy food, and strengthen housing safety and stability.
- Support caregivers and strengthen family cohesion: provide caregivers with the time and support they need to raise healthy children.
- Expand access to high-quality early care and education environments: change policies and practices to increase the affordability, accessibility, and quality of child care.
- Strengthen multi-sector collaborations to improve systems that impact early child development: support collaborative efforts to build child, family, and community resilience.
- Support health care system improvements that promote healthy development: facilitate the shift toward patient- and family-centered care and drivers of health.
Goal: Every community in North Carolina supports good health
- Build broad support for communities to create conditions so that everyone in North Carolina has opportunity to be healthy: harness the power of narrative, relationships, and data to create change.
- Strengthen capacity for effective multi-sector collaborations, coalitions, and partnerships to improve health equity: enhance technical assistance and peer networks.
- Develop leadership capacity to improve health equity: increase leadership by and accountable to community members experiencing the greatest inequities.
- Leverage and influence the shift to “buy health,” through emerging pilot and testing opportunities: contribute to increased understanding and implementation of practices that improve health by addressing social needs and identifying and acting on root causes.
- Support the development of multi-sector partnerships that identify and address health inequities: spread learning and practices across the state.
Goal: Everyone in North Carolina has access to healthy food
- Build broad support for the systemic changes needed improve access to healthy food: harness the power of narrative, relationships, and data to create change.
- Maximize state-level impact of federal food and nutrition assistance programs: increase participation in federal food and nutrition programs, like school meals, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
- Support the development and strengthening of community-led food systems: support communities to transform their food and farm environments and economies.
- Increase access to healthy food retail in under-resourced communities: create conditions for healthy food purchasing.
- Support innovation in the charitable food sector: support individuals and organizations committed to addressing food insecurity to think and act beyond emergency food distribution to systems change.
Goal: Everyone in North Carolina can access quality, affordable oral health services
- Build broad support for the systemic changes needed improve oral health: harness the power of narrative, relationships, and data to create change.
- Spread best practices and existing models: increase adoption of clinical, operational, and person-centered practices that increase access and improve outcomes.
- Develop and test new models of care and financing: support innovation in workforce, financing, and community-based care to sustainably increase access and improve outcomes.
- Increase access to and quality of care at mission-driven safety net providers: increase access in underserved areas.
How You Can Help
We’re realists. While we know we want to do everything possible to advance health in North Carolina, we know we can’t. And we certainly know we can’t go at it alone. Elevating North Carolina in the ranks of healthiest states will take the collective efforts of many. And for us, this collaboration includes asking for help. Consider using the form below to assist us in refining our thinking even further. Taking into account what we have outlined above:
- Where should we prioritize or concentrate our efforts?
- Where should we play a leadership role, and where should we support the work of others?
- What challenges/barriers should we be mindful of?
- What else will it take to accomplish our goals? What have we not thought of?
If you have thoughts on any of these questions or would like to provide any additional input, please use the form below to do so. We’d love to hear what you have to say. We will be collecting responses until Friday, February 28th at noon.