State Health Improvement Plan is Updated, Addressing Social Drivers of Health, Medicaid Expansion and Behavioral Health for a Healthier NC | Eastern North Carolina Now

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced recent updates to the NC State Health Improvement Plan, which includes priorities for addressing the full set of factors that impact a person’s health

Press Release:

    RALEIGH     The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today announced recent updates to the NC State Health Improvement Plan, which includes priorities for addressing the full set of factors that impact a person's health and updates data on the progress of improvement.

    The NC SHIP recognizes that multiple factors influence health, including social and economic factors, health behaviors, clinical care and the physical environment. The plan highlights the importance of addressing these various factors through interventions that support education, access to healthy food, air and water quality, and access to care, among others.

    "When people are healthy and our communities are strong, we all thrive," said Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and NCDHHS Chief Medical Officer. "That's why we want to make sure everyone in North Carolina, no matter where they live or their economic circumstances, has the opportunity for health."

    In addition to addressing these drivers of health, the NC SHIP also recognizes the pressing concerns related to behavioral health, including mental health, substance use disorders and suicide prevention as part of whole person health. North Carolina's drug overdose death rate has nearly tripled in seven years, from approximately 14 per 100,000 in 2014 to nearly 40 per 100,000 in 2021, underscoring the critical need for mental health support, prevention and treatment of substance use disorders, and suicide prevention efforts in the state.

    The 2023 NC SHIP places particular importance on Medicaid Expansion as a critical element in improving health care access and reducing disparities. On Dec. 1, 2023, NC will begin Medicaid Expansion, and we anticipate 600,000 North Carolinians will qualify for Medicaid and gain access to health care.

    "This plan identifies best practices communities can implement to have positive impact on health and well-being," said Dr. Susan Kansagra, NCDHHS Assistant Secretary for Public Health. "All of the practices promoted in the NC SHIP are rooted in local community support and emphasize the reduction of health disparities."

    The plan reflects the insights and contributions of the NC SHIP Community Council, which includes other government agencies, nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, businesses, community members, philanthropies and academia.


    To access the full 2023 North Carolina State Health Improvement Plan document and learn more about our efforts, please visit If you are interested in joining the NC SHIP Community Council, please fill out the following form:

  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • 2001 Mail Service Center
  • Raleigh, NC 27699-2001
  • Ph: (919) 855-4840

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