Today, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) release the 2013 County Health Rankings. The Rankings have been produced nationally since 2010 and are an annual reminder that where we live matters to our health. We know that health is more than health care, and the Rankings provide all fifty states with county-by-county snapshots to help raise awareness about the many factors -- such as education, employment, community safety, and access to healthy food -- that influence how long and how well we live.
Very helpful for getting attention, the Rankings are meant to spark the types of long-lasting change that we know make a difference in the health of communities. So, when you visit www.countyhealthrankings.org to see how your county's health compares to other counties in your state, be sure to check out the Roadmaps section to see what you can do to move your community’s health forward. There are several resources to answer the question "What can I do?" including the Roadmaps to Health Action Center (providing tools and personalized assistance for creating healthier places to live, learn, work, and play) and What Works for Health (providing information to help communities select and implement evidence-informed policies and programs). To answer "What can I learn from others?" the site features communities around the nation who are using the Rankings to take action. Visit this portion of the site to learn how Roadmaps Community Grantees are working on policy and systems change around social and economic factors and to read stories about local change agents--leave thinking about how you could lead or support similar action in your own community.
Last month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation presented the first RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prizes to six communities:
- Cambridge, MA
- Fall River, MA
- Manistique, MI
- Minneapolis, MN
- New Orleans, LA
- Santa Cruz County, CA
We invite you to meet these winning communities and learn about their accomplishments through the online RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize multimedia winners gallery.
The prize recognizes that every community is on a unique journey toward better health and that communities’ success stories are as diverse as their populations. All U.S. communities working toward better health are invited to apply. Winning communities will each receive a $25,000 cash prize and have their success stories celebrated and shared broadly with the goal of raising awareness and inspiring locally-driven change across the country.
We encourage anyone interested in the prize to join us on April 2 (1-2 p.m. ET) for an informational webinar (registration required) where we’ll provide an overview of the application and selection processes and answer questions from potential applicants. Those not able to participate in the webinar may view the recording, to be made available on the prize website, at their convenience.
We are also excited to announce that in addition to our first National Partner, United Way Worldwide, two other national organizations with a local presence have joined the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team—National Association of Counties and National Business Coalition on Health. These partners, together with the rest of our team at RWJF, UWPHI, and Community Catalyst are eager to be in touch with all types of communities to help and celebrate health improvement efforts across the nation.Bridget B. Catlin, PhD, MHSA directs the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.