Healthier Highland

Gastonia, North Carolina

Engaging Highland community members hands-on in the process of improving their own health and well-being will have a positive impact upon the community for generations to come. Activating the Community-Centered Health approach in my community has been the most important work I have ever done!

Donyel Barber, Community Health Coordinator, Kintegra Health
Gastonia City Councilwoman


Gastonia, NC


City of Gastonia, Gaston Department of Health and Human Services, Highland Neighborhood Association, Kintegra Health

Issue Area(s)

Active Living, Infrastructure, Health Care Access


Healthier Highland is centered in a historically African-American community. While the community is served by a Federally Qualified Health Center, the health center was not in trusted relationship with community residents. Similarly, years of disinvestment resulted in challenging and inequitable conditions for these neighbors.

Using the Community-Centered Health approach, Healthier Highland is building a culture of healthy eating and active living in the Highland community by engaging resident-leaders, building a neighborhood association, and strengthening partnerships between local organizations and the hospital which, through the BUILD Health Challenge, has made a significant investment in community health.

Key Achievements to Date

  • Successfully advocated for more than $1 million in public infrastructure improvements resulting in a new splash pad, high visibility crosswalks, and new housing
  • Secured a land donation to expand community gardens and create an economic venture staffed by neighborhood youth
  • Hired a neighborhood resident as a community health worker at the local community health center – the first in its 25-year history
  • Received national recognition and funding via the BUILD Health Challenge.

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