As of May 15, HOP eligibility has expanded to include NC Medicaid members who are eligible for Tailored Care Management through Vaya Health or Partners Health Management.

Impact Health Designated Family-Friendly Employer by NC Early Childhood Foundation

Asheville, North Carolina – Impact Health has been named a Family Forward NC Certified Employer by the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. Impact Health is one of nine Family Forward NC organizations that employ 871 people across Western North Carolina. Impact Health joins HOP network partners Children and Family Resource Center and Dogwood Health Trust in earning this family-friendly designation. This brings the total number of certified employers to 42, with 6,300 employees working for these organizations.  

Launched in 2018, Family Forward NC is an innovative effort to improve children’s health and well-being and keep North Carolina’s businesses competitive. This initiative is designed to encourage employers to increase access to research-based, family-friendly practices — big and small — that improve workplace productivity, recruitment and retention; grow a strong economy; and support children’s healthy development. 

“Employers want to attract and retain the best employees, and they want those employees to be 

happy and healthy,” said Lisa Finaldi, Community Engagement Leader of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation. 

A Family Forward NC Employer Certification identifies employers like Impact Health that offer policies and practices to support the health and well-being of their employees and their families. These family-friendly policies and practices include 

  • paid leave and wages, 
  • accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding workers, 
  • childcare supports, 
  • health and wellness benefits, 
  • and flexible scheduling practices. 

“Impact Health is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all Western North Carolinians. This commitment includes our team members and their families,” shared Laurie Stradley, DrPH, Impact Health’s executive director. “The policies and practices recognized by Family Forward NC ensure our team members have what they need to take care of themselves and their families. With this kind of support built into our organization, we can all do our best work in service of our greater community.”  

Currently, the NC is facing a workforce shortage that is predicted to result in a deficit of millions of workers by 2030 (US Chamber of Commerce). For every 100 open jobs in NC, there are only 55 people available to fill them. This shortage, is, in part, due to a lack of affordable, high-quality childcare and a lack of supports like paid leave and work-time flexibility, which means pregnant, parenting, and caregiving workers are disproportionately forced to change jobs or leave the workforce entirely. Decades of research have established that children need supportive and supported families and communities to build strong brains and keep health and development on track, especially during the critical childhood years from birth to age eight. 

“Being a first-time mother came with so much joy and anxiety for me,” said Rene Henson, compliance manager at Impact Health. “I wanted to continue to grow in my career and enjoy motherhood at the same time. During parental leave, I was told you cannot have both, it’s going to be too difficult. Working at Impact Health has allowed me to do what was considered impossible. Every day I can show up as my whole self, Rene, the Compliance Manager, and Theo’s mother.”

For more information about Impact Health’s employee benefits and culture, visit For more information about Family Forward NC and the Family Forward NC Employer Certification, visit 


About Impact Health

Impact Health is an Asheville-based nonprofit leading a network of more than 50 human service organizations participating in North Carolina’s Healthy Opportunities Pilot. HOP is a groundbreaking initiative to improve health that uses Medicaid funding to support social drivers of health across four key domains: food, housing, transportation, and interpersonal safety and toxic stress. You can learn more about Impact Health, the organizations participating in HOP, and pilot eligibility at 

About Family Forward NC

Family Forward NC is an innovative initiative of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation to improve children’s health and well-being and keep North Carolina’s businesses competitive. The Family Forward NC Employer Certification designates employers that offer best-practice policies in one or more of five main areas: paid leave and wages, childcare support, accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding workers, health and wellness benefits, and scheduling practices. Family Forward NC is part of NCECF’s mission to marshal North Carolina’s great people, ideas, and achievements to ensure equitable access to opportunity and success for every child. Research shows that family-friendly workplace practices lead to better health and well-being outcomes for children and their families.  


For media inquiries, please contact Jennifer Maurer at [email protected].

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