Skip to main content

Health Equity

Roughly 55% of Jackson County residents indicated that their lives had been negatively impacted by substance misuse in 2021, and 3% misused a prescription drug within the past month of response (WNC Health Network, 2021). 71% of residents are overweight or obese and less than 10% of residents in Jackson County consume five or more servings of fruits or vegetables daily. Sourced from the 2022 Harris Regional Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment. 

Since 2012, Jackson County has experienced an overall decline in the number of active health professionals per 10,000 population ratios as of 2019. This decline includes physicians, primary care physicians, dentists, and registered nurses. The uninsured population in Jackson County has decreased significantly from 16% in 2012 to 6.8% in 2021 (WNC Health Network, 2021). During the state fiscal year of 2004, 17% of Jackson County residents were eligible for Medicaid, as compared to 20% of the population in the state fiscal year 2020 (NC DHHS, Annual Report: N.C. Medicaid Eligibility and Program Expenditures for Which the County is Responsible for Its Computable Share, 2021). Sourced from Jackson County Community Health Assessment 2021 by the Department of Public Health.

Community Partners that actively work with WCU in the Health Equity focus area are listed below. If you are interested in working on a project with one of these organization, please contact the CCESL office. For all volunteer opportunities, visit the CCESL Engage page.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and fundamental principles of the International Red Cross movement, provides relief to victims of disaster and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

Equinox Ranch

Equinox Ranch provides a program for U.S. combat veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The program's goals are to awaken the mind, body, and spirit of warriors whose traumatic memories and attempts at repressing have left them emotionally numb, volatile, and closed off to the world. The program focuses on building the skills that help veterans readjust to the civilian world and their work, relationships and communities.

Mountain Wise

MountainWise works with the eight westernmost counties of North Carolina to provide opportunities for physical activity, access to local fresh fruits and vegetables, provide support for tobacco-free places and access to services for chronic-disease management.


SADD empowers and mobilizes students and adult allies to engage in positive change through leadership and smart decision-making.

Vecinos, Inc.

At Vecinos, we believe healthcare is a basic human right. That’s why, since 2004, we’ve provided direct healthcare services to underserved communities in the Western North Carolina region. Our team of volunteers and advocates restores the health and dignity of our community members with quality, culturally sensitive, person-centered healthcare services.


Office of Web Services