About Us

Who We Are

The Health Collaborative is a cross-sector coalition of residents and organizations who are working together to improve the health and well-being of the Dan River Region.  Our goal is to make sure that everyone in our region has everything they need to thrive where they live. We do this by bringing people together across sectors and lived experiences and building our community's capacity to take action. By working to develop new leaders and new types of leadership, and helping equip individuals and organizations with the skills, knowledge, and tools to do their work more effectively, we are strengthening our ability to create transformational change in our region and beyond.


The Health Collaborative unites individuals and organizations and creates action to support health for all people in the Dan River Region.

Impact Statement

Indicators reflect a healthy, active, engaged and educated region where everyone lives in an environment where they can thrive.

Guiding Values

  • Equity— Is the strategy likely to directly serve the individuals in most need? Does it address health inequities through a racial equity lens? Does our collaborative reflect the diversity of the region?
  • Impact— Is there the capacity, resources, and political will needed for the strategy to have a broad impact? Will the strategy influence a greater number of people over a longer period of time in order to create a healthier population in the Dan River Region?
  • Community— Does it create opportunities for neighborhood and community residents to design, lead and implement initiatives to improve their own health and the health of their neighbors?

History and Purpose

Over the past few decades, many cities and counties, including ours, have unintentionally built communities where healthy choices are hard to find. Motivated by the Dan River Region’s declining health status and continually falling score in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings, a group of concerned organizations gathered to discuss this challenge and how to take action.  Officially establishing itself as The Heath Collaborative in the fall of 2014, the group worked together to create strategies that would work towards preventing the region’s most chronic diseases—obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart diseases and cancer. It produced a Regional Health Equity Report (2017) and Health for All Action Plan (2016) to better understand local conditions and to guide its collaborative efforts.  In its first five years, the Collaborative grew to include more than 300 individuals representing more than 150 groups and organizations.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic further exposed and exacerbated existing inequities and brought renewed attention to the field of public health. In response, The Health Collaborative updated its Health Equity Report (2021) and started the process of updating its initial Health for All Action Plan. These extensive community engagement processes revealed a significant change in thinking from 2016. It was clear that the community had a better understanding of the impact of the social determinants on health, a better grasp on systems thinking and the ways that policies, systems, and environments influence our behaviors and impact our day to day lives. There was also a strong collective desire to take on more complex challenges and to play a greater role in community decision-making. 

In response, The Collaborative honed in on its role in leadership and capacity building to support more community-led change. The Collaborative continues to act as a regional convener and facilitator and provides opportunities for shared learning, leadership development, and collective action towards health equity. Read about our approach to learn more.