Health Equity Resources


The Office of Health Equity has created a resource list for anyone looking for more information on health equity. The resources listed below are on various topics including communication equity in presentations and communicable disease response, as well as policies and articles written by NCDHHS staff. This page will be updated regularly as we gather new information and resources.  

Communication Equity

NCDHHS has created the Communication Equity & Excellence/Cultural Competency & Diversity Program. This OHE program works to improve Communication Equity and Excellence through Cultural Competency and Diversity Interventions with multi-sector collaborations and community-driven partnerships for strategy development and execution. OHE seeks to foster customer service excellence among local health departments (LHDs), community health centers, health professionals, and community-based organizations throughout North Carolina. The purpose of this program is to equip organizations with the information and resources needed to address the changing demographics and health care needs of North Carolinians and eliminate the communication, cultural, and linguistic barriers that diminish quality care and sustain health disparities. The resources below provide information about how to make presentations and other communications more inclusive for those who may be visually impaired, hard of hearing, or otherwise disabled.

Community Engagement Best Practices

The resources listed below are examples of community engagement at work and of incorporating health equity into all procedures

Communicable Disease Response Resources

This section lists resources about communicable diseases that contain information regarding public health strategy, communications, and best practices.

Data Equity

The resources below utilize data equity principles and practices to guide anyone who works with data in integrating a lens of justice, equity, and inclusivity into the framing of all data work.

Chronic Diseases Response Resources

The links below highlight programs and informational resources that equip North Carolinians to reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases.

  • Diabetes Free NC is a site that connects people to CDC-recognized diabetes prevention programs in North Carolina. On this site, there are resources for employers, health professionals, diabetes prevention program lifestyle coaches and people looking to get involved in a program.
  • The Cervical Cancer and Health Equity Flyer (New 2024) Spanish: is a joint informational resource, created in partnership with the NC Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) and the North Carolina Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (NC CCCP) to promote Health Equity in Cervical Cancer Screenings.


The resources listed below provide information for North Carolinians about environmental issues that may affect them. These resources also list ways North Carolinians can get help on these issues, should they need them.


The document below includes department training and resources, external procurement resources and information on a nonprofit that educates, connects, and advocates for nonprofits in North Carolina.


Links 1 and 2 below are various policies that NCDHHS has signed on to.  Links 3 and 4 are health equity reports completed by NCDHHS. 

The North Carolina Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) provides a structured process to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies and programs that impact population health, with a goal of reducing health disparities and inequities.

Articles Written by NC DHHS Staff & Team Leads in Equity Space

NCDHHS staff work on research in a variety of areas. The below articles are a sampling of some of the recent research done by NCDHHS staff. COVID-19 is a large focus of the articles, but health equity remained a focus in all of the articles.

  • In the Path of the Storm: NC’s Response to COVID-19’s Impact on Historically Marginalized Populations
    • Authors: Michelle Laws and Viviana Martinez-Bianchi
    • An Historically Marginalized Populations (HMP) Workgroup was created to develop and provide strategic guidance on the state’s response to COVID-19’s disparate impact on these communities. The article recognizes the work this workgroup did and what future work/challenges remain.
  • Community Testing in High-priority And Marginalized Populations (CHAMP)
    • Authors: Shannon Dowler, Sam Thompson, Brin Phillips and Michael Schwartz
    • This article describes how NCDHHS developed CHAMP as the department realized that COVID-19 cases were rising dramatically in spring 2020, particularly among HMPs. CHAMP ran over 16,000 tests in the summer of 2020, and data was collected on those who were tested.
  • Facilitating COVID-19 Testing in Historically Marginalized Populations by Leveraging Community Partnerships
    • Authors: Laurin Brown, Victoria Billings, William Pilkington and Deepak Kumar
    • This is a letter to the editor from several NCDHHS employees that was published in the NC Medical Journal. The letter describes how the North Carolina Central University’s Advanced Center for COVID-19 Related Disparities (ACCORD) conducted research to better understand the public health impact of COVID-19 on HMPs in North Carolina.
  • Innovations and Collaborations Born of Necessity During the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • Author: Susan Mims  
    • This article examines several examples of innovation and collaboration in North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of securing, promoting, and administering testing and vaccines; providing virtual health care; producing needed supplies; addressing basic human needs such as housing and food; and using data to inform planning and decision making, all with an eye toward closing disparity gaps and moving toward equity.
  • Health and Wellness for Our Latina Community: The Work of the Latinx Advocacy Team & Interdisciplinary Network for COVID-19 (LATIN-19) 
    • Authors: Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, Gabriela M. Maradiaga Panayotti, Leonor Corsino, Irene C. Felsman, Rosa M. Gonzalez-Guarda, Gabriela A. Nagy and Alejandro Peña
    • This article examines the work that the LATIN-19 group did during COVID-19. The work included the development of Spanish educational materials, public safety announcements; training and testing sites; working with policymakers and vaccination events.
  • In Search of Equity
    • Author: Cornell P. Wright
    • This article describes the establishment of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (now Office of Health Equity) in the NCDHHS. The article describes health equity efforts in North Carolina starting in the 1970s and up to current day efforts which include equity efforts around COVID-19.

Examples of Health Equity Efforts Put into Practice

The contributions below were reported by the group of stakeholders that formed the ‘HMP Workgroup’ between March 2020 and December 2021. These can be considered examples of Departmental collaborations and partnerships that were formed in order to achieve equity in the following areas:

Prevention Efforts

  • Regular engagement and communication with local health departments to support local health equity efforts and facilitate sharing of best practices regionally and statewide
  • Continuous engagement with Communications Team on strategies to better educate HMP on preventative measures  
  • Provided feedback to Vaccine Provider Guidance for equitable vaccine distribution
  • Vaccine 101 slide deck refined for lower health literacy and in Spanish
  • Identified and connected with Latinx faith-based organizations and leaders  
  • Created a Vaccine Accessibility Quality Improvement survey to send to CBOs

Testing and Screening

  • Developed metrics for equity within testing and treatment distribution
  • Provide on-site participation of community-level events including Vaccine on the Green, Bringing Summer Back, and other vaccination events
  • Partnered with UNC Chapel Hill’s Research Outreach Prevention Education team to assist with DHHS testing promotion and education for holiday event
  • Partnered with Latin-19 and Duke testing team to connect with CBOs and provide testing  
  • Pilot tested the Barbershop Initiative to increase trusted messengers spreading knowledge and resources during COVID-19  

Behavioral Health

  • Hope4NC behavioral health support and chat function: This chat function was created to connect people with behavioral health support 24/7. Hope4NC includes a Crisis Counseling Program tailored for COVID-19, which provides immediate crisis counseling services to individuals affected by the ongoing public health crisis. Callers are also connected with the emotional support and community resources needed to navigate this challenging environment.

Common Health Equity Definitions:

Health Equity: The intentional effort to ensure that everyone experiences a fair opportunity to achieve the highest level of health without barriers to access and care. Health equity can be achieved through ongoing focused societal efforts to address and eliminate inequities and injustices that lead to health disparities.  

Health Inequities: Disparities in health that stem from unjust, systemic policies and practices which limit opportunities for good health.

Health Disparities: Preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by populations who have been socially, economically, geographically, and environmentally disadvantaged.

Diversity: Is the full spectrum of identities including but not limited to national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, neurodiversity, lived experiences, geographic location, and family structure. Who we are; The mix of our similarities and differences; Including but not limited to country of birth, language, race, color, disability, sex, etc.

Equity: Means consistent, fair and just, treatment and outcomes for all persons in the workplace at personal, interpersonal, cultural, and systemic levels.

Inclusion: Involvement, belonging, respect, and connection; feeling valued and included across diverse groups; regularly using a diverse group of staff in decision-making; recognizing and understanding our differences as having worth, dignity, and value in the workplace. Creates a culture where diverse employees feel valued, respected, and encouraged to fully participate, are able to be their authentic selves in the workplace and feel a sense of belonging. Social Determinants of Health (SDOH): The conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.