About Us

Advancing collaborative, equity-centered, and community-driven solutions to improve the overall health and well-being of all North Carolinians

Our Approach

At FHLI we embody a spirit of innovation and believe that sustainable, systems level change is driven by the people directly impacted by the longstanding inequities that continue to impact our society. From policy advocacy to program development, research, and education, we are proud of our 40-year legacy of success creating and contributing to lasting change.

Download a brief summary about who we are.

Planting flowers in pot. Carefree childhood. Shovel Planting flowers. American kids on farm.

We envision a North Carolina in which everyone has equal opportunity to attain their full health and well being potential, and where no one is disadvantaged due to demographically, socially, or economically defined circumstances.

Our staff of experts and advocates strives to embody these values in all the work we do:

  • Equity: We work to dismantle injustice, as leaders and allies, to rebuild systems of inclusion so that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
  • Collaboration—We seek to drive collective action by forging consensus among diverse partners, ensuring that all communities are heard and seen.
  • Boldness—We embody a spirit of innovation, entrepreneurial problem-solving, and strategic risk-taking to advance transformative change.
  • Community—We believe that sustainable, systems-level change is driven by the people directly impacted and seek to authentically listen and elevate community voice in problem-solving and policymaking.
  • Non-partisan—We evaluate proposed policy changes through a lens of equity, effectiveness, and sustainability, not politics or partisanship.

Launched in 1982 under the direction of rural health champion Dr. Jim Bernstein, the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation is a nonprofit organization that develops and supports innovative, community-driven partnerships that build a healthier North Carolina through collaboration and respect.

Happy senior couple making food standing in kitchen

Health is affected by many factors beyond the medical care provided within the four walls of a hospital or clinic. While access to high-quality medical care is critical, research shows that up to 80 percent of a person’s health is determined by social and environmental factors and the behaviors that emerge as a result.

A substantial body of research has established that having an unmet resource need — including experiencing food insecurity, housing instability, unmet transportation needs and interpersonal violence or toxic stress — can significantly and negatively impact health and well-being.

FHLI and its programs aim to address all of the factors that lead to healthy, prosperous and satisfying lives for North Carolinians.