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Healthcare Access

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.

Listed below are organizations that do Healthcare Access work. Organizations with volunteer opportunities are notated. For all volunteer opportunities, visit the CCESL Engage page.

American Red Cross

Volunteer Opportunities Available

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.

Autumn Care of Waynesville

Volunteer Opportunities Available

A long-term aid facility for the elderly, Autumn Care provides one-on-one care, serving meals, and provides craft and exercise classes and special events services. Autumn Care also offers short-term rehabilitation services. Volunteers may help with Bingo, visit residents one-on-one, and assist with craft classes.

Harris Palliative Care and Hospice 

Volunteer Opportunities Available

Hospice is more than traditional healthcare. Hospice and palliative care programs provide pain management, symptom control, psychosocial support, and spiritual care to patients and their families when a cure is not possible. Hospice and palliative care combines the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support that families need most when facing the end of life. We are Harris LifePath – an identity that truly represents the breadth of programs and services we offer – while continuing to maintain our passion to create personalized, positive, and meaningful care experiences.

Hope Chest for Women

Volunteer Opportunities Available

The Hope Chest was founded in 2003 to relieve some of the burden created by the cost of breast or gynecological cancer treatment. It serves under-insured, uninsured, or inadequately insured women who have been diagnosed with a female cancer who live in 22 counties across WNC that are experiencing financial challenges as a result of the cost of their treatment.

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.

Skyland Care Center

Volunteer Opportunities Available

Attentive care  in a home-like setting. You can rest assured that your loved one will receive superior quality care with us. As a part of our approach, we strive to ensure each resident, family  and staff member feel welcome in our home away from home.

Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center

Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center is a non-profit agency that offers care and support to women and men facing an unplanned pregnancy. Our free and confidential services include but are not limited to pregnancy tests, limited ultrasound, maternity and baby clothes and accessories, adoption referral, post-abortion counseling, educational materials, and friendship. Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center services are offered without regard to age, race, income, nationality, religious affiliation, disability and/or arbitrary circumstances. Clients of the center are treated with kindness and compassion.

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.


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