Over the last three years, BUILD awardees have been working toward addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity in their communities. To commemorate the end of our third cohort and spotlight their impactful work, we will be sharing each of our 18 communities’ stories — highlighting the partners’ collaborative approach to creating meaningful change in their community, the challenges they faced, and the transformative impact of these efforts for residents.
In Gastonia, NC, the Highland Neighborhood Association (HNA) collaborated with community partners to improve health in their neighborhood through obesity reduction. As part of BUILD’s third cohort, the collaborative worked to address the upstream causes of poor health in Highland by: creating fresh food access in the neighborhood, continuing educational efforts with elementary school students, parents, and church members; and creating a neighborhood enterprise to increase employment opportunities and spur additional economic development. The group linked the healthcare community with the neighborhood in meaningful ways that promoted and supported good health outside the clinical visit and strengthened neighbors’ capacity to advocate for and sustain change.
Over the past three years, the RAMS Kitchen team has been able to:
- Double the number of items sold by the Kitchen during the five months following its launch.
- Secure full-time employment with insurance and benefits for staff.
- Lose a total of 144 pounds through positive lifestyle changes since May 2021
“This work has been successful because it is genuinely community led and community driven. The voice of the community is the only voice in deciding on the problem to be addressed—the upstream causes of the problem and the solutions to the problem. Community partners serve in supporting roles to bring needed resources and expertise if asked.”
—Donna Elliott, Kintegra Health
Read more about Healthy Highland and RAMS Kitchen’s impact in Gastonia, NC; hear from the Gastonia team directly below; and stay tuned for more BUILD community stories coming next month! All stories to date can be found here.