MountainWise Partnership for Health

The MountainWise Partnership for Health is a Duke Endowment funded Healthy People Healthy Carolinas (HPHC) coalition which is focused on improving regional health outcomes through healthy eating and active living, primarily in Swain, Jackson, and Macon Counties initially. The coalition is composed of community and professional representatives engaged in the work of public health, food systems development, education, economic development, local government, and food security programming. The coalition works to reduce rates of chronic disease and illness by planning, implementing, and supporting evidence-based interventions which result in changes to participants’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, or behaviors, or improvements in local policies, systems, or environment.

Interested in learning more?

For more information, contact Nicole Hinebaugh at




Current MountainWise Partnership for Health Projects

Community Food Assessments

Dr. Patrick Baron, an adjunct professor at Western Carolina University, partnered with MountainWise’s HPHC (Healthy People Healthy Carolinas) to develop Community Food Assessments (CFAs) for Swain, Jackson, and Macon Counties. The overall objective of the CFAs is an in-depth look at the trends and issues occurring in a 3-county area for the population that is experiencing food insecurity. Phase 1 of the project collected existing secondary data related to local food system assets and food access resources to better understand the food and health goals and priorities of each county. Phase 2 of the project was comprised of primary data collection, including qualitative interviews with directors of food pantries and human service organizations serving three-county area and surveys distributed to patrons of food pantries, feeding programs, WIC enrolled households in Produce Rx program.

Specific areas of inquiry include:

  • Food security and severe food insecurity/hunger
  • SNAP/WIC access and barriers
  • Healthy food access and barriers
  • Food pantry access and barriers
  • Mental health
  • Digital access
  • Chronic disease status

To view the results of the CFAs, please navigate the links below!

CFA Presentation Slides

CFA Final Report

CFA Executive Summary


Swain-Macon Produce Rx Program

Click HERE to view the Swain-Macon Produce Rx webpage!

Photo credits to ASAP

MountainWise Partnership for Health (MWP4H) Coalition

MountainWise Partnership For Health’s mission is to increase community wellness and improve whole health and socioeconomic outcomes for rural residents and communities in far western NC through healthy eating and active living interventions, systems, and policies.

MWP4H is made up of representatives and stakeholders across all of WNC. Leadership consists of Chelsea Burrell, Trish Hipgrave, Jimmy Villiard, Kristin Washington, Rose James, Millie Smith, Patrick Baron, Jess Mrugala. 

MWP4H is championing health programming across WNC. Click here to see the most recent meeting slideshow.

Community Wellness Program Toolkit

MWP4H has supported the development of a Community Wellness Program (CWP) Toolkit. The purpose of the CWP Toolkit is to consolidate information about all of the Community Wellness Programs offered by public health entities across Region 1 of Western North Carolina into one accessible resource. The toolkit is meant to support the development of new Community Wellness Programs and provide additional resources for existing programs. The toolkit includes information about curriculum, evaluation, challenges, incentives, and marketing tools. To create a more robust toolkit, there is also a section that lists national and non-local Community Wellness Programs and a section of other national and non-local health programs that are not specifically community wellness focused, but may have aspects that would be valuable for implementation in a WNC program. As participating Region 1 sites add components to their programs, they can be updated within this Toolkit as well, ensuring partners have access to the most current information and examples available. 


Click here to access the Community Wellness Toolkit Webpage.

Macon County Food Council

MWP4H is working with the Macon County Food Council to determine customer and vendor interest in a new Macon County Farmers Market! Flyers targeted at both customers and vendors were created in distributed in English and Spanish for Macon County residents. Flyers had QR codes and links to surveys so that residents could share their thoughts and contribute to shaping what the new farmers market will look like.




Jackson County Elevate828

MWP4H supports Elevate828, a six-month Jackson County wellness program. Elevate works to improve the health of Jackson County residents through nutrition education, stress management, and physical activity challenges. Participants will be informed of challenges through email, ChallengeRunner, and RunSignUp. Participants will earn points through these challenges andother activities that will then be redeemed for prizes such as gift cards!

Participants earn points through: 

    • Completion of a pre, mid, and post surveys
    • Participation in monthly challenges (2 available each month)
    • Participation in Move Around Jackson County (a physical activity challenge)
    • Completion of preventative health screenings

For more information in enrolling in Elevate828, contact Chelsea Burrell at