The Health Collaborative

Danville Regional Foundation
Dan River Region, NC and VA



The Health Collaborative is a group of passionate, multi-sector community leaders who are committed to improving health in the Dan River Region, which includes Pittsylvania County, VA; Danville, VA; and Caswell County, NC. The Health Collaborative is working to build a strong network across sectors; educate key stakeholders and the community on promising practices; and implement community-led plans that prioritize equity, leadership and sustainability. The Collaborative's Health for All Action Plan serves as a 10-year blueprint for both short-term projects and long-term strategies that focus on policy, systems, and environmental changes to create a healthier Dan River region. In 2021, the second regional Health Equity Report was developed using inclusive, community engagement practices involving residents and community leaders.

Healthy Places by Design is working closely with the Danville Regional Foundation on collaborative planning and implementation strategies to support the Health Collaborative's work.

Project Highlights:

  • The Health Collaborative, made up of representatives from across the region, are working in five goal areas: active living, healthy eating, access to healthcare, healthy spaces, and leadership and capacity building.
  • The Health Collaborative selected goal-related strategies that align with the Dan River Region context.
  • Evaluation plans for each of the Health Collaborative’s five goal areas were created.
  • The Health Collaborative hosts numerous events, including an annual health summit, with state and national speakers to increase the importance of policy, systems, and environmental changes in the region.


Our Support

Healthy Places by Design provides strategic thought partnership around racial equity, sharing best practices, and brings a lens of expertise and understanding from outside the region. Our support includes capacity building to expand health goals and strategies with residents and decision makers, and continue to expand the network of regional health champions.

Additional services provided:

  • Developing capacity reports that focus on process and outcome measures of the Collaborative;
  • Participating in the Health Collaborative’s coordinating committee to create, implement and monitor a working strategic plan;
  • Identifying, facilitating, and brainstorming strategic conversations around project development and creating new initiatives and structures that support health and equity;
  • Supporting and participating in health summit and site visit planning, and participation and facilitation at the health summits and site visits; and
  • Working with community partners to plan long-term implementation strategies.


“Though The Health Collaborative has always been focused on policy, systems, and environment change, we continue to see the need for a better way to demonstrate what PSE change actually looks like on the ground. As we work to implement a health in all policies approach in our community, Healthy Places by Design has provided resources, tools, and connections to comparable communities that have helped us translate this broad and ambiguous concept into practical and tangible actions that all of our partners and community members can help to move forward.” 

Regional Coordinator, The Health Collaborative, Virginia Cooperative Extension


“We are seeing members of The Health Collaborative truly integrate equity into their organizational practices and policies, including changing hiring practices, sharing decision making, and re-allocating resources. With the help of Healthy Places by Design, we are taking our equity work to the next level with the development of a health equity leadership program. This program develops a diverse group of local leaders who understand best practices for achieving health equity and have the knowledge, skills, courage, and supports to build more equitable organizations and neighborhoods.”

Senior Program Officer, Danville Regional Foundation


“We are seeing members of The Health Collaborative truly integrate equity into their organizational practices and policies, including changing hiring practices, sharing decision making, and re-allocating resources."

Learn more about this project on our blog:


Building Trust as a Community Leader

Qonell is a life-long resident of Danville. Everyone there seems to know him, and he knows everyone else—in part because he always shows up. He helps organize events like Rock D’Block, participates in National Night Out, and is involved in countless other community happenings. We reached out to talk about how he is able to so effectively build meaningful relationships that move people to action.

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One Foundation’s Culture of Learning Enriches a Region

Danville Regional Foundation has supported site visits for Collaborative members to visit other communities (and in addition to the valuable on-the-ground experience, the travel time is just as important for members to build relationships with each other). Now, other organizations that participate in the Health Collaborative extend invitations for workshop or training opportunities to those outside their traditional networks, because they recognize that their “community” is defined more broadly and that sharing resources builds capacity across the region.

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Community Engagement

Learn more about Community Engagement, one of Healthy Places by Design's six Essential Practices. By working collaboratively with residents who share a common geography, special interest, or similar situations, community change strategies are grounded in people’s lived experiences and provide opportunities to take positive actions that are meaningful to them. Coupled with action, empowerment is an ideal outcome of true resident engagement and community organizing.

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