FHLI Programs, Coalitions & Collaboratives

FHLI’s innovative programs advance whole-person health care through community engagement and a team-based approach. Our experienced teams work to improve health in communities across North Carolina and beyond.

94% of Bernstein Fellows have remained in North Carolina to continue their work in creating healthier communities.

Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Fellows

The Jim Bernstein Community Health Leadership Fellows program develops future leaders to work in, and improve the health status of, rural and underserved communities in North Carolina.

The Bernstein Fellows Program identifies and supports the work of outstanding individuals already working in health services and who share Jim’s passion for rural health. When selected, Bernstein Fellows receive:

  • Educational opportunities and individual mentoring through a network of professionals associated with FHLI and working in various fields of health and wellness.
  • Up to two years of funding to support a project they develop that will improve the health of their community.

After the two-year fellowship, Bernstein Fellows not only have a broader understanding of rural and underserved community needs, but also develop the leadership skills necessary to engage and collaborate with others to improve the health and economic state of their communities.

Since its inception in 2006, nearly $100,000 has been awarded to more than 70 North Carolina scholars.

Jim & Sue Bernstein Health Center Scholarships

FHLI founder Dr. Jim Bernstein dedicated his life to improving health and wellness in North Carolina’s rural communities. An innovator and a motivator, he served as a role model in addressing some of the most difficult rural health care challenges.

As a part of Jim’s commitment to improve rural health, he helped to establish a network of 81 community-based clinics and centers across the state. Being involved in the creation of these centers, Jim understood the importance of the contributions made to the community by the clinic staff. In an effort to give back, he and his wife, a former Peace Corps volunteer, began the Jim & Sue Bernstein Health Center Scholarship Program.

Selected annually by the Jim Bernstein Health Leadership Committee, these scholarships help to relieve some of the financial burden on the employees of eligible health centers by helping to pay for both the clinical education of rural clinic staff members, and the college education of a dependent in any area of interest.

Using its whole-person health philosophy, the COE team has spent the last decade assisting more than 30 health sites and programs integrate physical and behavioral health care.

Center of Excellence for Integrated Care

Too often, services for physical and behavioral health are poorly coordinated, leading to a lack of appropriate care for those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. This lack of collaboration means primary care providers often must try to address unmet behavioral health needs with insufficient specialty back-up and information.

For more than a decade, FHLI’s Center of Excellence for Integrated Care has been assisting clinics and health systems address this need by providing evidence-based approaches customized to fit local needs, as well as resources for assessment, training, and technical assistance.

Currently, the team works with more than 30 sites and programs, such as primary care offices, clinics and hospitals, community collaboratives, school-based health centers, and local government organizations.

Working together for a healthier North Carolina

Health ENC

Health ENC grew out of conversations between representatives from the Office of Health Access at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and health care leaders working in eastern North Carolina about improving the community health needs assessment (CHNA) process so that leaders can establish health priorities for their communities.

Now a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation, Health ENC collaborates with health departments and hospitals in 33 eastern North Carolina counties to facilitate a regional community health needs assessment, as well as build partnerships to address health priorities identified through the assessment process.

For the first time in North Carolina history, the state has one coordinated system to help every citizen obtain the services necessary to lead a healthy and prosperous life.


NCCARE360 is the first statewide network that unites health care and human services organizations with a shared technology that enables a coordinated, community-oriented, person-centered approach for delivering care in North Carolina.

Available in all 100 North Carolina counties, NCCARE360 helps providers electronically connect those with identified needs to community health and human service resources and allow for feedback and follow up. Whether it be connecting someone to a local food pantry, or assisting them with transportation to an employment agency, this solution ensures accountability for all services delivered, provides a “no wrong door” approach, closes the loop on every referral made, and reports outcomes of that connection.

Using lessons learned from previous natural disasters, the NCIDR network was created to amplify community voice and support equitable access to resources in North Carolina’s disaster recovery system.

NC Inclusive Disaster Recovery Network

A program of FHLI and Rural Forward NC, the North Carolina Inclusive Disaster Recovery Network is a collaborative of public, private, non-profit, and faith organizations that convene, facilitate, and communicate a united, inclusive vision for North Carolina’s communities of well-managed disaster recovery built on strong community reinvestment strategies, asset-based community development, and equitable opportunity.

Bringing partners together to improve the oral health status of all North Carolinians.

NC Oral Health Collaborative

The NC Oral Health Collaborative convenes diverse stakeholders from across North Carolina to identify and resolve barriers to good oral health, as well as to accelerate the implementation of proven policies and practices.

Members of the collaborative are committed to ensuring that all North Carolinians, regardless of geography, socioeconomic background, race, ethnicity, age, or mental/physical illness have access to quality and affordable dental care.

The NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance supports partnerships and strategies that improve health outcomes in rural North Carolina.

NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance

Rural communities are unique. And the failure to address the particular strengths and challenges they face can result in poor health outcomes for the people living there. Because of these distinctions, it is important to consider and prioritize the rural perspective when addressing health disparities.

The NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance is a coordinated network of administrative leaders and experienced practitioners representing rural health organizations and individuals. NCRHLA strives to improve the health of rural North Carolinians through education and strategic partnerships.

Since 2012, Practice Sights has been helping state Primary Care and Offices of Rural Health collect and use data to retain the talented professionals providing care to their rural and underserved areas.

Practice Sights

Practice Sights is the first web-based tool to provide a standardized, state-of-the-art way for state Primary Care and Office of Rural Health personnel to routinely gather, analyze and present real-time data from providers serving in National Health Service Corps, state and other incentive programs.

The platform collects the data through online questionnaires sent to providers and practice administrators via email. All of the data collected can then be analyzed to determine the best methods for retaining providers participating in state and national service programs.

There are currently 21 states using Practice Sights to help retain their providers, and the system now holds data from over 30,000 questionnaires.

Rural Forward NC amplifies the impact of rural leaders, organizations, and coalitions through capacity-building and resource development.

Rural Forward NC

Rural Forward NC envisions healthier, more sustainable rural communities with increased capacity to solve their own health problems. With an overall goal of improving the major health indicators in North Carolina over the next ten years, Rural Forward NC carries out its mission to build capacity and develop resources that amplify the impact of rural leaders, organizations, and coalitions currently in Halifax, Rockingham, Edgecombe, Nash, and Beaufort Counties.

Rural Forward NC also works in coordination with an assembly of statewide agency partners to identify:

  • Promising local leaders and their efforts to improve the health of rural communities, directly or indirectly
  • The assets of those efforts and the relevant barriers to success
  • Sustainable goals and achievable action plans
  • Measurable outcomes and benchmarks for success