UNCG and Phillips Foundation today officially launched the Guilford County Healthy Relationships Initiative (HRI), an original program to promote happy, healthy and safe relationships and improve quality of life across Guilford County.

At a launch event held at UNCG’s new Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness, the HRI team unveiled the program’s three-pronged public health approach focused on community mobilization, social marketing and educational programming.

In addition, HRI introduced a month-long series of kick-off events, including a community date night, educational workshops and a family fun day at local YMCA branches.

“Traditionally, relational health has been viewed as a private matter, and as a result, individuals haven’t had access to the support and resources they need to form and foster positive relationships,” said Dr. Christine Murray, director of HRI and associate professor in UNCG’s Department of Counseling and Educational Development. “HRI is changing the conversation so that relationships are seen as an important public health issue. Our goal is to be a go-to community resource for individuals, couples and families across the county.”

HRI is guided by a steering committee that represents 21 community organizations. These partnerships will allow the initiative to reach a broad audience and host engaging programs and events, most of which will be offered free to the public.

In addition to public programming, HRI offers free online toolkits, as well as training for Guilford County professionals.

“Unhealthy relationships, particularly within families, threaten the stability of our society’s foundation,” said Elizabeth Phillips, executive director of Phillips Foundation. “With the integration of the HRI’s programming and ‘upstream’ interventions into the service platforms of our partner organizations, we plan to democratize best practices and resources from the clinic environment to the broader community. Phillips Foundation is excited to help launch this initiative to enhance a positive culture across Guilford County that values healthy relationships, ultimately preventing trauma and dysfunction in the home.”

While the initial implementation plan focuses on the next four years, the long-term goal is to create a lasting, sustainable initiative that can serve as a resource for Guilford County residents and a model for communities across the United States.

To learn more about HRI and upcoming events, visit guilfordhri.org.