Highland Neighborhood Association (HNA) collaborates with community partners to improve health in the neighborhood through obesity reduction. Support from BUILD will provide resources to continue addressing 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. We will link the healthcare community with the neighborhood in meaningful ways that promote and support good health outside the clinical visit, and strengthen neighbors’ capacity to advocate for and sustain change.


BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


Inequity — racism, lack of opportunity, lack of education, lack of social and political power, and lack of income — is at the heart of health disparities in Highland. Generations of people experiencing inequitable conditions left community members with no hope that anything could change for them. HNA’s early successes and future plans have shown the community that they don’t need to wait for things to get better — they can make things better themselves. The community’s leadership is a bold shift.


We are providing programming and education for parents and students at the neighborhood elementary school. Creating a fresh food enterprise in the neighborhood will create employment (with living wages and benefits), increase affordable access to healthy food, and spur economic development. Residents will be supported in their advocacy efforts including engagement in City government through elected and appointed positions and leadership development opportunities.


HNA has worked with Highland Health Center’s senior leadership to shift clinical practices to align with community needs, including: requiring authentic community engagement of all Highland Health Center staff, hiring a community health worker, holding free healthy eating workshops and annual health conferences, distributing free produce to health center patients, and leading walking and activity groups. Through BUILD, CaroMont Health will achieve similar alignment between health goals and community needs.


Highland has successfully utilized the Community Centered Health approach to its work for over four years. This approach holds the community voice as the central and strongest one, with all aspects of the work (advocating, planning, decision-making, monitoring progress) done in the manners that community members decide. For BUILD, a trusted community member will work to engage even more Highland neighbors to assure strong community agreement with and commitment to project activities.


Data is crucial to the Community Centered Health approach and has been used to illuminate disparities in Highland and inform resident priorities. CaroMont Health has pledged significant data support towards this initiative. Data will be used to show the reduction of health disparities in Highland as well as the impact of other community changes, such as access to fresh foods and the economic impact of the food access enterprise.

Kintegra Health
City of Gastonia
Highland Neighborhood Association