Arms and hands

The North Carolina Division of Public Health (DPH) uses Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funding to administer the Healthy Communities Program through the Chronic Disease and Injury (CDI) Section. The aim of this program is to reduce the burden of chronic disease and injury in North Carolina.

This funding enables county and district health departments to implement community-based interventions that address poor nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco use, violence and unintentional injury.

All strategies implemented through the Healthy Communities Program provide opportunities for everyone in North Carolina to achieve their optimal level of health regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, education status, disability status or sexual orientation.

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Research shows that implementing policy and systems changes can result in positive behavior changes that decrease chronic diseases and injuries and improve health. County and multi-county district health departments are required to implement at least two of the following strategies:

  1. Develop and implement a community violence prevention plan with community partners that addresses shared risk and protective factors (i.e., CDC’s Connecting the Dots approach).
  2. Work with at least one organization to establish a policy and/or program to address suicide prevention and receive gatekeeper training for suicide prevention [using the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST); Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR); Counseling for Access to Lethal Means (CALM) or Mental Health First Aid training programs].
  3. Partner with one organization to implement a safer syringe initiative in the county.
  4. Implement media and messaging campaigns that increase awareness of the risks of opioid poisoning, signs and symptoms of opioid overdose, and where to access and/or how to administer naloxone in the event of an overdose.
  5. Increase the number of community venues/organizations that implement food service guidelines, healthy meeting guidelines, and/or policies that require healthy food and beverage options.
  6. Increase the number of facilities that are designated as breastfeeding friendly.
  7. Increase the number of retail venues that meet the North Carolina Healthy Food Retail Designation.
  8. Incorporate active transportation infrastructure (e.g. sidewalks, paths, bicycle routes, public transit) goals that connect everyday destinations (e.g. homes, schools, worksites or parks) into jurisdiction-wide plans without such goals, and/or support the implementation of active transportation goals in existing plans.
  9. Increase the number of evidence-based 100% smoke-free or tobacco-free regulations, including e-cigarettes covering;
    1. Government buildings, grounds, parks and recreation and/or enclosed public places through ordinances or Board of Health rules or
    2. Colleges and universities. (Note: The UNC System’s strongest policy allowed is smoke-free within 100 linear feet of buildings)
  10. Increase compliance with the NC 100% tobacco-free schools law by partnering with youth, parents and school personnel to educate about dangers of tobacco use, and new and emerging tobacco products.
  11. Increase the number of smoke-free or smoke-free/e-cigarette-free policies in multi-unit housing with a minimum coverage of all indoor spaces and balconies, patios, and porches.
  12. Implement evidence-based media messaging campaigns approved by the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch to prevent the use of all tobacco products by young people, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, smokeless tobacco and hookah, and to help tobacco users quit.
  13. Increase the number of new community venues providing access to healthy foods, and/or the number of existing community venues providing enhanced access to healthy foods.  
  14. Implement a communications campaign that addresses the prevention of COVID-19 transmission.

The Healthy Communities Program is administered by the Healthy Communities Program Consultants.

Karen Stanley

Mary Bea Kolbe

Ryan Ward

Healthy Communities Program Consultants Regional Map

Last Modified: 07-08-2021