MountainWise, a collaboration of eight public health departments in Western North Carolina, is conducting an eight county health impact assessment (HIA) called MountainElements that will inform decisions about each county’s comprehensive plan, focusing on the transportation and parks and recreation sections of each plan. Three plans are currently under development and two will begin soon. Three plans are currently adopted and will require an update; the MountainElements HIA is serving as a catalyst to update these plans by conducting a retrospective HIA on the existing plans. MountainElements is focused on economic growth, job creation, mobility, access to nature, and creating healthy conditions for all residents. In addition to conducting the HIA, MountainElements will also develop health and wellness elements for comprehensive plan integration in all eight counties.
Western North Carolina generally has poorer health conditions when compared to statewide averages for key health indicators. Based on Census and North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics data, the HIA will recommend areas where specific small area plans or other interventions may have the greatest impact.
MountainWise is supported by a North Carolina Community Transformation Grant and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.