Healthier Together

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Healthier Together: Health Equity Action Network

Healthier Together: Health Equity Action Network, also known as Healthier Together, is a new public private partnership to increase the number of individuals who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and from other historically marginalized populations* receiving COVID-19 vaccinations across the state of North Carolina. 

The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is committed to maximizing the speed and efficiency of North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution in a way that adheres to our strong commitment to equity. To do that, NCDHHS is building a grassroots mobilization strategy to help overcome centuries of health inequities by investing in state, regional and community partners led by and serving BIPOC and other historically marginalized populations by:

  • Building and earning trust on the ground with BIPOC and other historically marginalized communities and the organizations that are led by and support them
  • Co-creating strategies in collaboration with nonprofit, grassroots, and community partners rooted in BIPOC and other historically marginalized communities
  • Using data on vaccination efforts to inform planning and investment of resources

NCDHHS has partnered with the NC Counts Coalition to implement the Healthier Together initiative. NC Counts Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to building a healthy, just and equitable North Carolina through cross-sector partnerships that advance systemic solutions for communities facing systemic barriers, including BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+, low wealth, immigrant, and other communities. 

Healthier Together will implement strategies to drive demand and increase access to vaccines to BIPOC and other historically marginalized populations by conducting outreach and education efforts, coordinating local vaccine events at trusted and accessible locations, helping people schedule and get to vaccine appointments, providing on-site translation services, and helping ensure people get to second dose appointments. 

As part of this initiative, Healthier Together will provide grants to community-based organizations to do this work and hire regional health equity teams to support community-based organizations in their outreach and education efforts, help match vaccine providers with community-based organizations, and work with NCDHHS to ensure that communities have the vaccine supply, outreach, and transportation resources they need to get people vaccinated. As we move from COVID-19 response to recovery, we will extend this program’s infrastructure as a foundation for a longer-term framework for health equity. The program is funded by federal COVID-19 dollars.

*Historically Marginalized Populations are defined as individuals, groups and communities that have historically and systematically been denied access to services, resources and power relationships across economic, political and cultural dimensions as a result of systemic, durable and persistent racism, discrimination and other forms of oppression. HMPs are often identified based on their race (Black/African American, American Indian), ethnicity (LatinX/Hispanic), social economic status, geography (rural), religion, language, sexual identity (LGBTQ+), and disability status.

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