Whole Community
Health Initiative

What is Whole Community Health?

Whole Community Health reflects a growing global awareness that the health of an individual or a community is inextricably linked to longstanding policies and practices that shape everything from access to nutritious food and safe affordable housing to rates of chronic illness and incarceration.

Consequentially, some historical policies and practices have produced and perpetuated socioeconomic inequities within certain communities. Entrenched disparities do not exist in isolation, and cannot be solved piecemeal. Communities know best. Whole Community Health fosters connections to partner institutions and neighbors to build collective and sustainable solutions for long-term vitality.

“… the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.”


The Trustees of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust have awarded the Whole Community Health Initiative, led by Dr. James Johnson and Jeanne Milliken Bonds, of UNC Public Policy and Kenan-Flagler Business School, a grant of  $981,966 to address the child care crisis.

Our Approach

The whole community health model focuses on six interconnected pillars of opportunity:

Economic Stability 


The availability of healthy food and the absence of hunger among at-risk vulnerable populations.

Access to high-quality health care and well-trained providers suited to the needs of the community.

Social integration and community engagement.

The physical environment.

CORONAVIRUS VACCINE DISTRIBUTION: A Race Blind Approach to a Racially Disparate Problem?

Considerable scholarly analysis and media attention has documented the racially disparate impact of coronavirus infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Constituting 13 percent of the general population, Blacks reportedly account for 25 percent of those that have tested positive and 39 percent of the COVID-related deaths in the United States.

Does Your City Have Reputational Equity?

A Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise White Paper

Warning: Demographic Headwinds Ahead

An essay highlighting equity issues undergirding North Carolina’s shifting demography

Whole Community Health program unites students to break down economic barriers in two NC counties

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy joins other UNC Schools to break down economic barriers in North Carolina.

Scapegoating Immigrants
in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Immigrants are once again the targets of draconian policy making. It is during the COVID-19 pandemic this time.

Dr. Jim Johnson named to Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force

The Task Force, established by the Governor’s Executive Order 143, will address the social, environmental, economic, and health disparities in communities of color that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading, Managing and Communicating in an Era of Certain Uncertainty

A Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise White Paper

Commentary: Policies Hamstring Federal Investment in Rural Small Businesses

The small-business program in USDA can’t leverage good rates and loan guarantees the way the national small-business program can. That’s one reason that the rural program has established only a handful of business investment companies since its authorization in the 2002 Farm Bill.

Coronavirus Pandemic Refugees and the Future of American Cities

History informs us that some people, especially the wealthy, typically flee cities in response to pandemics and other major catastrophes.