MORRISVILLE (January 23, 2020) –In parallel with the national Healthy People initiative run by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has released Healthy North Carolina (HNC) goals at the beginning of each decade since 1990. The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) led the HNC process throughout 2019 and has released the final report detailing selected health indicators and targets for 2030.
Health begins in families and communities and is largely determined by the social and economic contexts in which we grow up, live, work, and age, the healthy behaviors that those contexts make easier or harder, and our physical environments. These factors are called drivers of health (also known as social determinants of health) and they directly affect health outcomes like development of disease and life expectancy. HNC 2030 sets the stage for a focus on health equity, or the opportunity for everyone to attain the highest level of personal health regardless of demographic characteristics, by incorporating these drivers of health outcomes.
The NCIOM HNC 2030 process integrated input from a Task Force, work groups, and communities across the state. Overall, 21 health indicators were chosen across the topics of Social & Economic Factors, Physical Environment, Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, and Health Outcomes.
The task force was chaired by Ronny Bell, PhD, MS, Professor and Chair at East Carolina University; Jack Cecil, MIM, President of Biltmore Farms, LLC; Laura Gerald, MD, MPH, President of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; and Elizabeth Tilson, MD, MPH, State Health Director & Chief Medical Officer for NC DHHS. They were joined by 44 other task force and steering committee members, as well as four work groups with a total of 107 members.
HNC health indicators and targets are designed to guide state efforts to improve health and well-being by helping NC DHHS, the Division of Public Health (DPH), local health departments, and other partners across the state to work together toward shared goals.
“We want all North Carolinians to have the opportunity for health and well-being,” said Dr. Tilson. “Addressing all the factors that drive health, both medical and non-medical, are fundamentally important to achieving that vision. The framework of Healthy North Carolina 2030 will provide a strong road map for our state, partners, and communities to collaborate and work towards a shared goal of better health.”
NC DHHS, DPH, and local health departments will remain at the forefront of HNC 2030 efforts; however, they cannot achieve these goals alone. The inclusion of health indicators traditionally outside the sphere of public health (e.g., reading proficiency, incarceration rates, housing problems, and employment) means that achieving the HNC 2030 goals will require engaging partners across multiple sectors to improve population health and drive health equity over the next decade.
The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) is an independent, quasi-state agency that was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1983 to provide balanced, nonpartisan information on issues of relevance to the health of North Carolina’s population. For more information, visit www.nciom.org.