About Us

We envision healthy communities where all people flourish.

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.

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

With a long history in the state — and a deep understanding of its health and wellness needs — FHLI scales solutions that benefit the entire state. Our team of thought leaders brings the following values to every project:

  • Everyone has a right to health care.
  • Health encompasses the whole person.
  • Healthy individuals come from healthy communities.
  • Care should be delivered in a manner that is collaborative, efficient, compassionate, respectful, and effective.
  • Health care systems belong to and are shaped by the communities they serve.

Why Whole-Person Health?

Whole-person health is based on the philosophy that people require a well-coordinated system of care that addresses medical and non-medical drivers of health.

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.