As part of a larger effort to find out where it’s falling short or not providing the very best service, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, May 8, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., to discuss the new NC DHHS “Community and Partner Engagement Initiative” with members of the community as well as with local leaders, non-profits and community partners it works with.

Everyone is invited to take part in the discussion.

NC DHHS launched the Community and Partner Engagement Initiative earlier this year in response to a directive from NC DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley, and the program is meant largely to address “ongoing health disparities and needs within North Carolina communities.”

Now the department is asking state residents to help let them know what needs to be done in order to advance NC DHHS’s work and policies in the best way.

The interactive webinar will include a panel of experts and will allow you to share insights and ask questions.

You can register to attend the virtual event at the following link:

In February, NC DHHS announced the initiative to “ensure the voices of North Carolina communities and families continue to be at the center of the department’s work.”

This effort included a new website along with improvements in the ways the department engages and communicates with its community partners, as well as with the clients that it serves.

The goal is to make policy changes that best serve the people of North Carolina.

“Ensuring every voice is included in our work is essential to our mission to protect the health, safety and well-being of all North Carolinians,” Kinsley said at the time the program launched. “This collaboration not only drives policy decisions, but also helps us learn from and build trust with the communities we serve.”

To use one example, the department is working to address “longstanding disparities in health among underserved communities” throughout the state.

Therefore, department leaders are consulting with those in rural communities who understand first-hand what it’s like to try to find health care in their town, or what other challenges there are to seeing a health care provider.

A press release the department put out in February offered another example.  It  noted that the NC DHHS “cannot make well-informed policy decisions to improve maternal outcomes without hearing from diverse voices of women across the state who have received or tried to access labor and delivery care services.”

The webpage lists the many groups, organizations and commissions that NC DHHS currently partners with. The department will continue to update the website and it encourages community members to get involved with a current group.

“Having people with different backgrounds and real experiences at the table helps NCDHHS make sure that a program or policy is aligned with community priorities and most effective for the people it impacts,” department officials noted.