Addressing the Social & Economic Factors of Health in North Carolina

Blog | January 3, 2022


If you’ve been following the work of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Healthy North Carolina 2030, a roadmap for the state, local health departments, health systems, and communities to address negative health outcomes and health disparities over a decade. This roadmap includes a large amount of data about where we are now, as well as many recommendations for getting to a healthier place as a state by 2030.

Published in January 2020, the Healthy NC 2030 report is garnering new attention as leaders across North Carolina recognize its potential for helping us recover from the worst impacts—and revelations—of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this effort, in 2022 the North Carolina Medical Journal will dedicate five issues to the Healthy NC 2030 categories of health indicators: Social & Economic Factors, Physical Environment, Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, and Health Outcomes.

We are kicking off the year with an issue on Social & Economic Factors, with the help of guest editor Henry Clay McKoy, Jr., director of entrepreneurship at the North Carolina Central University School of Business. As McKoy writes, “Deleterious socioeconomic circumstances would be significant for an individual resident. They are, however, elevated in consequence

and complexity when they impact whole populations and communities, particularly when some are affected differently than others. Populations of color and women in particular experience disparate health outcomes.”

In this issue, authors relay data and analyze policies that have led to these disparities, and also provide examples of successful programs and policies helping to move the work of Healthy NC 2030 forward. Click the links below to read each article, and feel free to share your thoughts with us on social media:

Twitter: or



Policy Forum

Introduction: From Here to There—With a Spring in Our Steps, by Editor-in-Chief Peter J. Morris, MD, MPH, MDiv


Data & Trends

Wealth and Health: Exploring Asset Poverty as a Key Measure of Financial Security by Carl Rist, MA, independent consultant, Durham

Time, Talent, and Treasure: Health Systems and the Anchor Mission Strategy for Advancing Health Equity by Crystal W. Cené, MD, MPH, and Randi J. Towns, BSPH, of UNC Health

Urgently Needed: Equity Tools to Navigate Demographic Gale-Force Wind Gusts by James H. Johnson, Jr., PhD, and Jeanne Milliken Bonds, MPA, of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Allan M. Parnell, PhD, of the Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities and McMillan and Ross Research, Inc.

Lived Experiences

Family-Friendly Policies in North Carolina by Kimberly Montez, MD, MPH, of Wake Forest School of Medicine and Atrium Health, and Beth Messersmith, MPA, of MomsRising

Policies & Programs

The Impact of Advocacy Efforts to Improve the Care and Treatment of Incarcerated Pregnant People in North Carolina by Velma V. Taormina, MD, MSE, of the NC Obstetrical & Gynecological Society; Megan Canady, MSW, MSPH, of the UNC-Chapel Hill Collaborative for Maternal and Infant Health; and A. Kerianne Crockett, MD, FACOG, of ECU Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Medical Center

Grafting Equity by Reuben C. Blackwell, IV, Shelayna Parker, and Cooper Blackwell of Opportunities Industrialization Center


Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences with Evidence-based Care: Tripp Ake, PhD, and Lisa Amaya-Jackson, MD, MPH, by Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips, NCMJ managing editor

Creating ACEs-Informed Courts in North Carolina by Latoya B. Powell, JD, of the NC Department of Public Safety

COVID Reflections

The United Status of Women: A Critical Reflection on the Impact of COVID-19 on Women in North Carolina by Annette Taylor, MSL, of the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement Advisory Board

Policy Review

Achieving Healthy NC 2030 Goals: Social & Economic Health Indicators by Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips, NCMJ managing editor


Original Research in this issue:

Residential Segregation and Emergency Department Utilization Among an Underserved Urban Emergency Department Sample in North Carolina by Carlene A. Mayfield, PhD, MPH, and coauthors

Variations in Receipt of Contraceptives by Insurance Status and Race/Ethnicity by Tsai-Ling Liu, PhD, MSPH, and coauthors

Implementation of the North Carolina Plan of Safe Care in Wake County, North Carolina by Anna E. Austin, PhD, and coauthors


Letter of Correspondence:

Raising Awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia in Native Americans in North Carolina by Kathleen A. Welsh-Bohmer, PhD, and authors