Health and Human Services Equity

Social Services, often known as Human Services, is an approach focusing on people who values the individual while delivering care.  The purpose of Human Services is to help individuals and communities reach their full potential and improve their overall well-being. This entails giving assistance, resources, and interventions to solve a variety of social, economic, and personal issues. The ultimate goal is to encourage resilience, self-sufficiency, and social inclusion while also promoting equity, justice, and dignity for all. Human Services work collaboratively and innovatively to make a positive and long-term difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Health Equity

New Hanover County Health & Human Services defines health equity as a fair and just opportunity to pursue optimal health for all members of our community. Health equity is achieved when every person can attain their full health potential through personal commitment, work, and perseverance while obstacles such as social determinants of health are addressed, minimized, or eliminated.

As further work to understand and meet the diverse needs of our community, New Hanover County Health & Human Services conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in 2022 and identified the three most pressing concerns as follows: 

  • Access to Care 
  • Housing 
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse 

As we forge forward, New Hanover County HHS will remain committed to addressing these issues and others that will improve the health outcomes and well-being of our community.  

 We will continue to provide services and support that promote self-reliance, prevent adverse experiences, protect community health, and ensure that every resident of New Hanover County has equitable access to health care as well as sound mental well-being to attain optimal health.

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Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the non-medical factors that impact an individual's health outcomes. Examples include social, economic, behavioral, and environmental factors that influence health inequities, like income, education, housing, and access to healthy foods.  

As a part of the Healthy NC 2030 initiative, 21 public health indicators and targets were set as focus areas for the next decade in North Carolina. Health equity work focuses on these indicators with the goal of improving the overall health of our community and reduce health disparities.

The social determinants of health identified for North Carolina and the targets are as listed below:



Decrease the number of people living in poverty


Increase economic security

Short-term suspensions 

Dismantle structural racism


Dismantle structural racism

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) 

Improve child well-being

Third grade reading proficiency 

Improve third grade reading proficiency

Access to exercise opportunities 

Increase physical activity

Limited access to healthy foods 

Improve access to healthy food

Severe housing problems 

Improve housing quality

Drug overdose deaths 

Decrease drug overdose deaths

Tobacco use 

Decrease tobacco use

Excessive drinking 

Decrease excessive drinking

Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption 

Reduce overweight and obesity 

HIV diagnosis 

Improve sexual health

Teen birth rate 

Improve sexual health


Decrease the uninsured population

Primary care clinicians 

Increase the primary care workforce

Early prenatal care 

Improve birth outcomes

Suicide rate 

Improve access and treatment for mental health needs

Infant mortality 

Decrease infant mortality

 Life expectancy (years) Increase life expectancy

Equity Matters

Equity Matters is a monthly webinar that explores why and how we practice health equity in the workplace and community. Equity Matters aims to emphasize programs, partners, and individuals promoting health equity in Southeastern North Carolina.  Each month new panel members join Equity Matters to inform the public about the services their agency or organization provides. 

Equity Matters February 2024

Equity Matters: House of Love, Heart of Equity: Warmth for All
February 23, 2024 - 10:00 am on Zoom

This month, Equity Matters is discussing the positive impacts Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity and WARM NC are making for housing in the community.

Equity Matters is held over Zoom and community participation is encouraged. You can find out more about the upcoming topic and register to attend by clicking here. 

All previous Equity Matters sessions are available to watch on the county's YouTube page or below.

Community Engagement

New Hanover County Health and Human Services understands the importance of community engagement and is always looking for opportunities to get out in the community through outreach events.

If you have an upcoming event and would like to request a speaker from the HHS or Health Equity team, please fill out the request form below. 

Outreach Request

Community Feedback

If you have feedback about services received or provided by Health and Human Services, please fill out the form below. 

Health and Human Services Feedback Form