Healthy Communities Initiative

“Of all forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Annual Meeting of Medical Community for Human Rights 1966

Healthy Communities Initiative was created to investigate and help reduce the health disparities driven by a complex network of economic, social, cultural, and medical influences. Chronic disease has a devastating impact in rural areas. Healthy Communities Initiative is collaborating with community members, healthcare providers, and scientists to improve the health of eastern North Carolina residents.

Healthy Communities Initiative utilizes a community-based model that uses a geospatial approach to target underserved neighborhoods with the highest rates of out of hospital premature death for a patient-centered and health worker-based intervention. Healthy Communities Initiative will select communities using death registration data to identify specific US Census blocks with disproportionally high rates of Out-of-Hospital Premature Natural Death (OHPND), which is defined as an individual aged 18-74 who died outside a healthcare facility of natural causes (excluding cancer). Healthy Communities Initiative has a team of community health workers that travel within the targeted communities. The community health workers are trained, trusted community members that use a door-to-door approach in the neighborhoods that have been selected within the eastern North Carolina region and they will engage with the adult members of the household.