Cone Health is partnering with Guilford County on a initiative meant to address health inequities. 

The new Social Innovation team will be made up of staff from both Guilford County and Cone Health. The plan is for the six to eight person group to engage with members of the community to determine barriers that most impact their ability to stay healthy.

It was created in part in response to well-documented health inequities in the county. In a release, Cone Health officials said white residents in Guilford County live three years longer than Black residents on average. Black babies in the county are twice as likely to die before their first birthday compared to white babies. 

Audrey Mangili, an innovation program manager at Cone Health, says the point is to give the community's most vulnerable people a seat at the decision-making table. 

“When we talk about access to care, access to transportation, like what is really the issue that is kind of like the hang up, or the sticking point, the pain point for folks?" said Mangili. "What is that area of opportunity?"

Mangili says involving members of the county government will make it easier to implement ideas raised by community members. 

The team is supported in part by funding from the American Rescue Plan Act. Mangili says they'll likely begin work by the end of the year. The program is set to continue until 2026.  

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