MANCHESTER, NH – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) on Sept. 14 announced Manchester as one of the seven communities selected to receive the 2016 RWJF Culture of Health Prize. The winning communities were chosen from a group of nearly 200 applicants.
Honored for their efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives, the 2016 Prize winners are: 24:1 Community in the St. Louis area of Missouri; Columbia Gorge Region of Oregon and Washington; Louisville, Kentucky; Manchester, New Hampshire; Miami-Dade County, Florida; Santa Monica, California, and the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe in Washington.
Each winner will receive a $25,000 cash prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities, and share their inspiring stories of challenges met, successes achieved, and lessons learned with other communities building a Culture of Health across the country.
“The RWJF Culture of Health Prize communities show us that in towns and regions across the nation individuals are coming together to find powerful ways to help people achieve the best health possible. These communities are connecting the dots between health and education, jobs, housing, and community safety,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “We’re privileged to learn from this growing network of communities that offer hope for the well-being of the entire nation.”
There is no single path forward to building a Culture of Health. Solutions are wide-ranging and everyone has a role to play. Each of this year’s winners developed approaches as unique as the communities themselves.
In the largest city in northern New England, public officials and private sector leaders have taken a data-driven, block-by-block approach to better health. Manchester’s swift and compassionate response to the emerging opioid and heroin epidemic — which has successfully mobilized first responders, non-profits, and health care providers to connect residents with critical treatment services — has set a national example for other communities to follow. When more than half of the city’s school children qualified for public assistance programs, city leaders partnered with residents to transform schools in the city’s most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, taking a community school approach that links health and education together. Former textile mills have been converted into high-tech spaces and outdoor recreation areas, spurring economic growth and providing more opportunities for physical activity.