Congratulations to Allen County, Kansas and Garrett County, Maryland, 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize Winners!

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced that the winners of the 2017 RWJF Culture of Health Prize include two counties and six additional communities. Allen County, Kansas and Garrett County, Maryland are both Prize winners, along with Algoma, Wisconsin; Chelsea Massachusetts; Richmond Virginia; San Pablo, California; Seneca Nations of Indians in New York; and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Learn more about the winners and watch video profiles for them here.

The RWJF Culture of Health Prize honors and elevates American communities that are making great strides in their journey toward better health. Chosen from a group of more than 200 applicants, Allen County, Kansas, and Garett County, Maryland, will each receive a $25,000 cash prize, join a growing network of Prize-winning communities and share their inspiring stories with other communities across the nation who are building a Culture of Health. These two counties have a distinct vision for the future and both have taken a unique approach to improving the health and well-being of their residents. 

  • Allen County, Kansas: In 2010, residents voted to raise local taxes to fund the building of a new hospital. Not only was access to health care expanded, but the old hospital site has been repurposed into a grocery store and housing development. To address poverty, child and family support projects including a “Meals and Reading Vehicle” have been developed. Allen County has created more ways to live actively with miles of new biking and hiking trails. These efforts have been powered by Allen County’s commitment to build connections and understanding between all residents through activities like “community conversations” that bring neighbors together for frank and sometimes uncomfortable discussions. Click here to learn more about Allen County’s work.

  • Garett County, Maryland: Garrett County, a rural Appalachian community bordering Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is tackling poverty through education, housing, and jobs. To meet the workforce needs of tomorrow, the county offers all high school graduates full scholarships to Garrett College. The 2-G (Two Generation) Program is helping families create their own roadmap to economic stability and better health by connecting them to the resources they need to succeed. When faced with the decision of expanding their county jail or building a new recreation center, residents chose recreation-- establishing an important hub for the entire community. Public and private partners have joined forces to expand low and mixed-income housing options and Garrett’s online planning tool virtually connects residents spread out over more than 645 square miles while informing community-wide priorities. Click here to learn more about Garett County’s work.

Counties play a vital role in the health and well-being of their residents, and we congratulate these communities on their success. The RWJF Culture of Health Prize is awarded annually. RWJF is now accepting applications for the 2018 Prize. Click here to learn more about the application process and apply today!


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