Healthy Places NC logoMDC is working with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in its Healthy Places North Carolina (HPNC) initiative to find ways to incorporate community colleges as change agents in improving community health outcomes.

Healthy Places NC is a multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative working in some of the most distressed counties in rural North Carolina. The Trust has asked MDC to help it engage community colleges serving those locations by conducting research and analysis of the colleges’ current and potential roles in improving health outcomes and influencing healthy behaviors in their communities.

The colleges and communities are: 

  • Beaufort County Community College, Washington
  • Edgecombe Community College, Tarboro
  • Halifax Community College, Weldon
  • McDowell Technical Community College, Marion
  • Rockingham Community College, Wentworth
  • Western Piedmont Community College, Morganton

Next steps for the effort include exploring specific projects the colleges can take to better provide health-related programming to their faculty, staff, students, and surrounding community. The colleges will also form a learning network to ensure that best practices are shared between institutions


  • Helping community colleges in rural areas develop and implement programs to impact the health of their students, faculty, and staff and broader community
  • Providing insight to colleges on best practices in engaging rural communities
  • Facilitating conversations among college leadership to allow for cross-site engagement to share innovative techniques for serving rural communities


Healthy Places NC Learning Network


  • MDC brought representatives of the colleges, including college presidents, to Winston-Salem for a two-day meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the colleges about the HPNC initiative and to learn more about how each of the institutions saw their role in meeting their community’s broad health needs.
  • The second phase of the research involved site visits to each participating colleges. MDC sat down with faculty, staff, and students to explore in detail their colleges’ current programs and offerings aimed at addressing health needs on campus and in the larger community. 
  • From those visits, MDC produced a report with a detailed analysis of each college and suggestions for next steps for encouraging community colleges to increase the role they play in advancing health outcomes in their service areas.


For more information, contact Jenna Bryant.