Creatively Collaborative

NCCHW fosters partnerships and collaborations throughout North Carolina. The center applies leadership, communication, collaboration and evaluation to improve effectiveness and efficiency to building community health across the state. See what our collaborative partners have said about working with NCCHW at UNC Asheville.

Partners have included:

ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project)

Emily Jackson, ASAPEmily Jackson- ASAP Growing Minds Farm to School

ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. ASAP’s vision is of strong farms, thriving local food economies, and healthy communities where farming is valued as central to our heritage and our future.

ASAP provides marketing support and training to area farmers, connects area chef and foodservice buyers with the farmers who suit their needs, spearheads a Local Food Campaign, certifies local products grown/raised in the Southern Appalachians as Appalachian Grown, runs Growing Minds Farm to School Program and organizes Asheville City Market and the Mountain Tailgate Market Association.

We work with the center in a number of ways with a member of the center's staff serving as our North Carolina state lead for the National Farm to School Network. We also wrote the center in as a consultant on a Farm to School to Community Project with NCCHW providing evaluation assistance. In addition, ASAP recently received a USDA Farm to School grant, and the center is partnering with us on that project. It has been helpful having research capacity in Western North Carolina and we have relied on the center for that service, as well as help with evaluation.

Having a statewide focus, the center helps provide information about what our Growing Minds and ASAP has to offer. The center staff have connections that have proven useful to ASAP's work." Emily Jackson, Program Director, ASAP Growing Minds Farm to School

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation continues to be a comprehensive and independent protector of the Parkway, providing critical support beyond federal budgets to assureBlue Ridge Parkway Foundation logo that the traditions and beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway can be forever preserved and shared. The Foundation's support of Parkway programs must meet two criteria: to have a lasting value and to enhance the quality of the visitor experience.

The Foundation's Kids in Parks program is an initiative of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. Working together with partners throughout the country, their mission is to promote children's health and the health of our parks by engaging families in outdoor adventures that increase physical activity and foster a meaningful connection to the natural and cultural world.

The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has been able to identify and provide field data regarding our on-site use of the TRACK Trails and how that use corresponds to the registration levels of users. Thus, we were able to calculate our registration rates of trail users. The collaboration has allowed us to reach a larger constituency and network of potential partners. We meet regularly with staff from NCCHW and two members of the staff serve on our Advisory Committee. Through regular collaboration and communication, we have been able to expand our network and potential partners. With the help of NCCHW we have expanded our reach into the public health communities and partners as a direct result of this partnership. NCCHW provides a unique partnership between an educational institution and community partners focusing on the applications of information and research to improving the quality of life." -Carolyn Ward, CEO, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

Buncombe County Department of Health

Gibbie Harris, Buncombe County Department of HealthGibbie Harris-Buncombe County Department of Health

It is the mission of the Buncombe County Department of Health to promote and protect the public's health and to assure through community partnerships that all people in Buncombe County have the opportunity to make healthy choices within a healthy environment.

Resources to support Buncombe County residents having a safe, healthy and thriving life are birth and death certificates, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screening, care coordination, clinical services, disease control, environmental health, immunizations, interpreter services, minority health, nutrition/WIC, nurse family partnership (NFP), school health nursing, STD clinic, travel vaccines and TB clinics.

 Staff from NCCHW are available and open to exploring new initiatives and their potential role or contribution to the work. They are always interested in new models that may be replicable in other communities and will come to the table in whatever capacity makes the most sense for the organization and the center.

The Buncombe County Department of Health has experienced leadership in a number of initiatives with the Department and in the Community, improved perspectives on evaluation and research, collaborative efforts and communication, and training opportunities through the N.C. Center for Health and Wellness.   NCCHW's proximity in Buncombe County makes it easy to engage them in conversations and in our work both in the county and regionally when appropriate.

NCCHW has been involved in the regional Community Health Assessment process, regional Triple Aim effort, WNC Healthy Kids, and now our County Community Health Improvement Process have and will continue to profit from their involvement, to name a few. Staff have participated in training, been engaged in new methods of planning and evaluation, and benefitted from having NCCHW staff's thoughts and ideas in conversations regarding current efforts and new initiatives. The center has broad perspectives and connections across the state but also has the ability to work more locally in the development of models that can be shared." Gibbie Harris, Health Director, Buncombe County Department of Health

Council on Aging of Buncombe County

Council on Aging of Buncombe County Logo

The Council on Aging of Buncombe County (COABC) is a non-profit organization providing services, support and information to help people meet the challenges of growing older. COABC is dedicated to promoting independence, dignity and wellness for older adults through education, innovative programming and coordination of resources.

 The value the Council on Aging of Buncombe County (COABC) has gained by working with NCCHW is the expertise and knowledge the staff brings to our program and their ability to assist us in focusing on being more efficient in the work we do and pulling all the pieces together to make a cohesive program. NCCHW provides us with assistance of facilitation, program evaluation, and verification processes, which has afforded us the ability to have a broader reach for older adults in North Carolina. NCCHW links us to other organizations across the state that have mutual goals for improving wellness in older adults. NCCHW assists with facilitation of trainings and development of policy for older adults. In addition, the collaboration has enabled Project EMMA to continue activities related to replication throughout Western North Carolina. NCCHW is an advocate for our program and older adults across the state to improve existing state programs like the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. It has been extremely helpful to be able to share ideas with the staff at NCCHW and brainstorm future opportunities for this collaboration and potential others.

The Project Coordinator of EMMA and NCCHW Director of State and Community Collaborations work together to coordinate continued replication processes of Project EMMA.  NCCHW has supported and conducted outreach to community organizations and individuals to determine appropriate partners.  The center establishes partnerships and identifies community ‘sparkplugs’, works to establish community support,  leads trainings, provides support and follow up, and serves as source of expertise for funding and collaborations.

NCCHW advocates for state level change in policy of funding for older adults in North Carolina. NCCHW assisted us with development of a 'Train the Trainer' model for replication of project EMMA with NCCHW being Project EMMA’s sparkplug for growth and expansion.

Due to the collaboration with NCCHW, Project EMMA has been able to reach older adults outside of Buncombe County, primarily in the Western part of North Carolina where programs tend to take a very long to time to get to. It is exciting to be able to go in communities and work with the unique strengths within each community and bring people together that care about their aging population. This partnership has enabled community collaborations that otherwise would not have occurred without the expertise of NCCHW.

COABC have had a great working relationship through this collaboration not only for replication of Project EMMA, but on building a foundation to continue the focus on older adults and access to wellness activities in North Carolina. The 2013 Successful Aging event is another great example of how this partnership works.

The expertise and knowledge the staff brings to the table is immeasurable. Having an advocate at the state level to promote wellness is extremely important for all of our programs to move forward. NCCHW allows us to continue our work on the local level by providing the resources, oversight and verification processes."   Cyndy Wallhauser, Former Service Coordinator, Council on Aging of Buncombe County

Eat Smart, Move More NC

Vondell Clark, ESMMNCVondell Clark-Eat Smart, Move More NC

Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina (ESMMNC) is a statewide movement that promotes increased opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity wherever people live, learn, earn, play and pray.

ESMMNC works to help communities, schools and businesses make it easy for people to eat healthy food and be physically active. They encourage individuals to think differently about what they eat and how much they move, and to make choices that will help them feel good and live better.

Eat Smart, Move More NC is guided by the work of the Eat Smart, Move More NC Leadership Team, a multi-disciplinary team composed of statewide partners working together to increase opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. ESMM works to reverse the rising tide of obesity and chronic disease among North Carolinians by helping them to eat smart, move more and achieve a healthy weight.

NCCHW impacts me locally in Catawba County as Medical Director of Catawba Valley Medical Center’s Healthy House, a program designed for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.  Dr. Gardner was gracious enough to invite me for a tour of NCCHW that was very insightful.  It not only confirmed that I was on track in our program but generated a wealth of new ideas.  I plan to bring my staff for a tour of NCCHW in the future.

NCCHW impacts me on a larger scale from my relationship with Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina (ESMMNC).  Both organizations have widened my perceptual lenses so that I get a “Systems View” of the relationships of the various organizations throughout the state.  I think that the shared philosophy of both organizations is breaking down silos, developing and nourishing relationships and helping us all to speak with a concerted voice.

NCCHW was an integral part of “North Carolina’s Plan to Address Obesity: Healthy Weight and Healthy Communities 2013-2020”.  Dr. Rebecca Reeve was on the writing team that created this unique work and Dr. David Gardner gave guidance on the process through his role as Chair of the ESMMNC Leadership Team Executive Committee.  On a personal note, they exude an energy and passion for making our state as healthy as it can be.  Needless to say, they “walk the talk”.

As Chair of ESMMNC, I have learned much under the mentorship of Dr. Gardner.  As a physician coming from a clinical background, I found myself lacking some core knowledge of various organizations throughout the state and how they relate to each other.  Dr. Gardner has helped nurse me through this process so that now I have a much firmer grasp of our state’s needs and resources.

At a recent ESMMNC meeting, I was enthralled by an animated presentation by Dr. Reeve on how NCCHW is using the new State Obesity Plan.  As a self-professed “data-geek”, she brought a fresh approach that made the numbers come alive.  In medicine, we have changed our focus to “Translational Medicine” otherwise known as “bench to beside” medicine or bringing what we have learned into the real world for real people.  I’m glad to see that this is also the focus of NCCHW.  As Dr. Reeve commented, “I generate practice-based evidence so that we can have evidenced-based practice”.  Do I hear an Amen?

NCCHW is unique in that it is not reinventing the wheel or making a patchwork quilt when what is needed is a rich tapestry of what works and what doesn’t.  In a time of scarce resources, we can’t afford to duplicate services or implement ideas that have a low probability of fruition.  NCCHW aspires to push the envelope but does this while being thoroughly grounded on a robust evidence base." Vondell Clark, Chair, ESMMNC          

Haywood County Schools

Haywood County SchoolsAlison Francis-Haywood County Schools

Haywood County is located in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  With a population of approximately 57,000 people, Haywood County is the third largest county in Western North Carolina including the towns on Canton, Clyde, Maggie Valley, and Waynesville. 

Haywood County Schools serves approximately 7,500 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in 16 schools; 9 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 3 high schools, and 1 early college high school.

NCCHW has provided us with training materials and leadership with the Farm to School Program to follow through with our project. Their leadership has helped us start a program that we may not have had the time to if we had to do it on our own. What is unique about NCCHW is at no time have they tried to take over the project, they have been fantastic with communication and making us feel like part of a team." Alison Francis, Director of Child Nutrition, Haywood County Schools

NC Prevention Partners

Meg Malloy, NC Prevention PartnersMeg Molloy-NC Prevention Partners

NC Prevention Partners (NCPP) is a state and national leader in guiding schools, hospitals, clinics and workplaces to improve their culture of wellness. Their tools enable executives to assess and improve their policies and environments that address tobacco use, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and obesity.

Founded in 1998, NCPP's first accomplishment was creating the Preventive Benefits Profile, a voluntary insurance reform campaign to have health insurance plans cover preventive health services.  NCPP also played a critical role in advocating for dedicated health and wellness funds from North Carolina's tobacco settlement, worked on the successful campaign to increase the cigarette excise tax in 2005 and helped found the NC Alliance for Health.

The partnership has helped NC Prevention Partners (NCPP) in multiple ways. We hope that the inverse is also true, that our goals and our work align and extend the center’s strategic focus. For the Western Prevention Academies, NCCHW has been the “lynch pin” partner who has not only hosted the event in a beautiful facility, but also has leveraged relationships to actively recruit schools and businesses to join in WorkHealthy America, Zone Health and NC School Health Connection. NCCHW staff serve on our advisory councils for NC School Health Connection, and the Be Active NC Scientific Advisory Council.  I am always hearing of the “connect the dots” thinking by the leadership and staff at the center, helping for all organizations to see where they could better link in and support the work of others.  For example, Dr. Gardner helped me to see the missed opportunity to another statewide effort by our not being a part, so we have moved ahead to align our work with that group.

We both have very aligned goals for enormous, complex and longstanding issues, which sets the stage for the best type of partnerships.  I’d say we offer the assets that each of us have created, and weave them together to maximize reach and impact. This type of work takes time but in the short and long term, it uses everyone’s time and dime better. We all achieve a much better outcome than if we’d try to tackle the huge public health and prevention and wellness needs in North Carolina alone. NCCHW has helped our organization in leadership planning, strategic engagement of community partners, scientific advisory role and hosting and collaborating on specific events.

We have been better able to impact schools and worksites and public health partners at the local and state level.  It is clear if you look at the map and the list of engaged businesses and schools in WorkHealthy America, Zone Health and NC School Health Connection, that the reach and engagement is significantly higher in Western North Carolina.  This is due to a strong planning and leadership team that NCCHW is active on, and their staff’s active outreach to help share the opportunities that NCPP has to support workplaces and schools in creating wellness environments.  It has been strategic in that many other nonprofit and governmental agencies are brought together to make it “one stop shopping” for schools so that all the pieces can be integrated.

NCCHW have the dedicated staff with remarkable depth and rich portfolio of skills is incredibly unique, and the facility is gorgeous and a point of connection for so many community partners. Even more so is the openness to collaboration and real partnership as a core value and purpose of the center.  There is no other agenda than the mission."  Meg Molloy, Founder and CEO, NC Prevention Partners

NC Society for Public Health Education

Tonya Bass, President, NC SOPHETanya Bass-NC SOPHE

The North Carolina Chapter, Society for Public Health Education Inc. (NC SOPHE) is a professional organization formed in 1965 to promote, encourage and contribute to the advancement of health of all people. NC SOPHE encourages its professional members to stay informed through continuing education to strive to improve practice of health education, and to make a positive contribution toward making health accessible to all people.

The Health Education profession is dedicated to excellence in the practice of promoting individual, family, organizational and community health. The responsibility of each health educator is to aspire to the highest possible standards of conduct and to encourage the ethical behavior of all those with whom they work.

NCCHW has given us the opportunity to learn about wellness in a creative manner, visit a state-of-the-art facility and collaborate with atypical partners. The collaboration works well and is balanced. It is a great to have a reciprocal appreciation of partnering agencies and like agendas.

We have been able to spread the word about NC SOPHE primarily through hosting and partnering to conduct our Annual NC SOPHE Conference in October 2012. This also sparked interest in some areas of health that NCCHW was conducting and facilitated the planning content for the 2013 NC SOPHE Mid-Year meeting.

We have been able to impact and connect with wellness, nutrition and physical activity experts primarily because of the relationship with NCCHW. I think NCCHW is unique because it has creative and innovative approaches working with social media and youth." Tonya Bass, President, NC SOPHE

Western North Carolina Healthy Kids

Erin Braasch, Director, WNC Healthy KidsErin Braasch-Western North Carolina Healthy Kids

WNC Healthy Kids is a population health program of WNC Health Network, an association of hospitals and health departments in the WNC region. The program is designed to reduce and prevent childhood obesity in Western North Carolina. Sixteen rural Appalachian counties are collaborating on the program, including Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Yancey and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

The center is unique because it is a statewide organization with roots in the west.  This positions the center to not only link WNC with the state, but also to represent and highlight organizations from the west to organizations based down the mountain.

Each of the center staff provide key leadership for various aspects of the WNC Healthy Kids regional coalition focused on preventing and reducing childhood obesity.  Their breadth and depth of knowledge has significantly influenced and guided the strategic direction of our coalition. There is no doubt that the team at the N.C. Center for Health and Wellness has helped guide the WNC Healthy Kids coalition to have greater impact in the region.” Erin Braasch, Director, WNC Healthy Kids

YMCA of Western North Carolina

Paul Vest, YMCA of WNCPaul Vest-YMCA of Western North Carolina

The most important measure of the YMCA is the impact it has on the lives of the people and communities it serves. Together, these diverse groups find a place of welcome and belonging at the YMCA of Western North Carolina -- an organization that builds strong kids, strong families and strong communities. The YMCA has 5 centers, 23 childcare sites and 200-plus programs throughout the community. The YMCA positively impacts people of all ages, races, faiths and economic backgrounds.

The charitable work of the YMCA is supported in part through contributions to the Y's annual Healthier Communities Campaign, endowment program, and other contributed income. YMCA's mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

NCCHW is a key player in working with and further developing health and wellness partnerships through the YMCA’s Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) initiative. To name a few, NCCHW works with city and county schools, the Chamber of Commerce and Hospital Health Systems.  Additionally, they actively lead and serve on several of PHC’s community task force groups working on our three priority areas – Walkway and Greenway Connectivity, Complete Streets Implementation and Safe Routes to School.  In addition, they share the YMCA story through the development of volunteers who serve on these teams within the community giving support to the Y organization and PHC collaborative.

  PHC is a project locally known as Activate Asheville Area where we focus on the future of community wellness by actually "Pioneering Healthier Communities" and David Gardner serves on that leadership team.  By working with community leaders like Dave and his team, we are able to focus on the built environment and supporting policies for healthy lifestyles, as opposed to direct programs.

As a testament to the support of NCCHW, Asheville, North Carolina was selected as one of three city-finalists in the USA to become the next Blue Zone Vitality City.  Asheville was selected because of how our vision of a healthy, resilient community aligned with the mission of Dan Beutner and the Blue Zones team to create a community built around longevity and healthy lifestyles.  PHC was also selected to present at the 2012 NC State Health Directors' Conference.  The presentation followed keynote speaker and United States Surgeon General, Regina M. Bengamin.  PHC was selected because of its ability to bring community partners together from both the private and public sectors to complete projects that bring healthy living opportunities to every citizen.  NCCHW was a voice for us in bringing partners together and advocating for PHC at a state level thus allowing us to have the opportunity to highlight our success.  It was also an opportunity for communities across North Carolina to learn how they can implement similar strategies.  We discussed our successes in developing safe routes to school, educating the community on complete streets and expanding greenways. 

NCCHW devotes quality time working with the PHC initiative.  Pioneering Healthier Communties is a multi-county partnership working with both Asheville-Buncombe and McDowell Counties.  NCCHW excels in supporting physical activities for all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds by advocating for greenways, complete streets and safe school routes.  We would like to reference one Asheville City and one Buncombe County success in 2012 that NCCHW was instrumental in moving forward.  The City Council passed a Complete Streets Policy.  It seeks a balanced approach to meeting the transportation needs of all travelers and includes the need for pedestrians to be able to cross streets as well as travel along them.  Adopting the policy is a multi-model transportation goal in the Asheville City strategic plan.  The policy required the ability to build partnerships with the City of Asheville Transit Commission, City of Asheville Greenway Commission and the Asheville Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force.  NCCHW worked with the community to take big steps toward foot and bike paths around Asheville by supporting the Greenway Master Plan which was approved by County Commissioners.  The plan calls for 102 miles of pedestrian and bicycle corridors around Asheville and Buncombe County, eventually connecting into surrounding counties such as McDowell County.

The relationship with NCCHW has positive health impacts in communities and will continue doing so for years to come.  They have been a voice for supporting Health Equity as a primary focus of PHC.  It is a very important focus area because the project ensures more equitable social policies for our communities.  Our communities will continue to feel the positive impact of their work, and for that we are very excited about our on-going partnership with NCCHW.

NCCHW is passionate about their work and connection to communities.  One of their strongest and most unique assets is their ability to build relationships with community partners and volunteers.  They have such a willingness to take on additional responsibility and their enthusiastic work ethic display a true commitment to NCCHW and our communities." Paul Vest, President & CEO, YMCA of WNC