Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas (HPHC), is a bold, community-based approach to addressing chronic health conditions including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in North Carolina and South Carolina. The HPHC initiative currently involves 29 local coalitions working together to initiate evidence-based interventions and systems-level policy change to improve their community’s health. HPHC recognizes that health and well-being are created and sustained through individual and clinical efforts, paired with the cooperation and support of the extended local community.
Healthy People, Health Carolinas
Since its inception, HPHC coalitions have implemented 205 interventions, 268 policy changes, 534 environmental changes, and 650 system changes impacting an estimated 2,388,089 people.
HPHC’s work also helps improve practice. For instance, Brunswick Wellness Coalition in North Carolina brought together their local health department and two local hospitals to complete a joint community health needs assessment. Working to address some of these needs resulted in Brunswick County health outcome rankings improving from 36 in 2020 to 25 in 2023.
Another coalition in North Carolina, Granville Working on Wellness, will be featured in a scientific journal for the evaluation of Community Access to Child Health, or CATCH, implementation in a rural elementary school, reflecting the effect of a lifestyle intervention on child obesity.
Additionally, HPHC’s refocus on policy change has been impactful. Tri-County Health Network (Orangeburg, Calhoun, and Bamberg Counties in South Carolina) supported their Policy Agenda through advocacy at the state level. Coalition members advocated for House Bill 3006 which prevents districts from sending school lunch debt to collections. Coalition members and families went to the State House to testify, and the bill passed, impacting the entire state.
An intervention in Healthy Tri-County (Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties in South Carolina) that began as an opportunity to enhance an existing program focused on business health and wellness, Working Well, has spread statewide. The Charleston Healthy Business Challenge has now become the South Carolina Healthy Business Challenge, catalyzing lessons learned and spreading best practices across the state.
And HPHC is growing across North and South Carolina. In North Carolina, five new coalitions are in their first year of “readiness,” focusing on coalition building and being reflective of the communities they serve. In addition, five North Carolina coalitions are in their first year of implementation, focusing on the policy and systems issues prioritized by their communities. An additional 10 coalitions are serving in various capacities as mentors to their new peers.
In South Carolina, several communities have applied to receive funding to support “readiness.” Awardees will be announced by The Duke Endowment in June and five existing HPHC coalitions have applied to become mentors to support peers. The new cohort of coalitions and mentors will begin in July.
How Health People, Healthy Carolinas Works
Launched in 2015 with support from The Duke Endowment, the HPHC initiative involves building the capacity of local coalitions to work together to initiate evidence-based interventions and systems-level policy change to improve their community’s health. HPHC recognizes that health and well-being are created and sustained through individual and clinical efforts, paired with the cooperation and support of the extended local community.
Coalitions involve leaders from a wide spectrum of community organizations – healthcare, public health, social services, government, education, and business – to engage residents in improving their health. The HPHC approach is rooted in communities working together to address long-term systemic conditions that have led to poor health outcomes through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, and then sustaining those efforts for long-term impact through policy, systems, and environmental changes.
Our state implementation assistance teams provide data-informed technical assistance and one-on-one coaching to build coalition capacity and offer peer-to-peer and collaborative learning opportunities to spur innovation across coalitions. Additionally, as a trusted resources for community health, HPHC coalitions were instrumental in pandemic relief efforts throughout 2020 and 2021, including the coordination of vaccine distribution and served as leaders or collaborators in emergency food access for children and families.