Cabarrus County one of three nationally selected for Health Learning Challenge

June 04, 2015

Kannapolis, N.C. – The National Association of Counties (NACo) announced three counties selected to participate in its first-ever County Health Learning Challenge. Cabarrus County, along with Salt Lake County, Utah and Knox County, Tenn., will participate in the new initiative designed to catalyze innovative health improvement efforts.


“It is an honor to be included as one of the first three counties in the country to participate in the County Health Learning Challenge. I am proud that the residents of Cabarrus County will be the beneficiaries of this collaborative effort between the Cabarrus Board of Commissioners and the Cabarrus Health Alliance. I appreciate the confidence placed in us by the National Association of Counties and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,” shared Steve Morris, Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners Chair.


Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), NACo’s County Health Learning Challenge is a year-long program intended to help counties strengthen cross-sector partnerships, identify potential action and implement data-driven strategies to build healthier communities.  Teams composed of elected officials, agency leadership, non-profit partners, local businesses, community advocacy groups and other stakeholders in each county will embark on a collaborative, public-private partnership to address unique health needs.


“We know that no single policy, government department or organization can tackle a complex issue like housing or unemployment on their own,” stated Lauren Thomas, Healthy Cabarrus Executive Director. “Strong communities like Cabarrus County recognize the need to address large-scale social change. We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate more closely with the Board of Commissioners, ” Thomas continued.


Cabarrus County was selected due to the strong leadership of Healthy Cabarrus, a program of Cabarrus Health Alliance, which has the proven ability to collaborate across the county and the county’s focus on the social determinants of health. Over the year, the county will focus on housing and employment. Healthy Cabarrus, a long-running community partnership, will develop a work plan and begin implementation of goals addressing these two priority health needs. Through this project, the county plans to have a broad impact on the quality of life in the community. The goals for each team build on the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a collaboration between RWJF and UWPHI that measures the health of nearly every county in the nation on more than 30 factors that influence health.


“We are pleased to announce the first counties selected to participate in the County Health Learning Challenge,” said Matthew Chase, NACo’s executive director. “This effort will leverage county leadership and partnerships to improve residents’ health and well-being. Investing nearly $70 billion in community health and hospitals annually, health is a top priority for counties across the country.”


The Challenge begins at the 2015 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition in Mecklenburg County, N.C. in July. Over the course of a year, each team will attend a NACo “Learning Lab,” an intensive two-day experience to strengthen skills and strategies necessary for making community health improvements. At the conclusion of the Challenge, each county’s progress will be featured at the 2016 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition in Los Angeles County, Calif.


For more information about the NACo County Health Learning Challenge, visit or contact Lauren Thomas at 704-920-1357.

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