FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 28, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Kansas City Health Department, 816-719-3610
Kansas City receives RWJF Culture of Health Prize for innovative efforts
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognizes Kansas City for reducing health inequities and increasing life expectancy
Kansas City, Mo. is one of eight winners of the 2015 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize celebrates the strides communities have made to ensure good health flourishes for all. Announced today at RWJF headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, the Kansas City community will receive a cash prize of $25,000 in recognition of its commitment to building a Culture of Health.
Kansas City is being recognized for leveraging its unique strengths and rallying community partners around a shared vision of health. Efforts include: the Health Department’s AIM4Peace initiative uses health workers who hit the streets to interrupt violence, where homicides in intervention zones have been reduced by 70 percent, contributing to a 24 percent reduction across the City; Communities Creating Opportunity works with community members and helps organize them to push for changes like predatory lending reform and minimum wage increase; Kansas City Public Schools, and more than 50 community partners have distributed 32,000 books to children and recruited more than 450 volunteers to improve literacy rates; educators witnessed a two percent increase in third grade reading levels in one year.
“We’re building Kansas City to be a City that cares for everyone in it, and we only do that by working together,” said Mayor of Kansas City, Sylvester “Sly” James. “The genuine commitment to all citizens in our Health Department and many partners is the foundation of the greater community we want for future generations.”
“This year’s RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners are inspiring examples of communities that are weaving health into everything they do,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “These eight communities, and our 12 previous winners, are connecting to like-minded people across the country to build a Culture of Health movement fueled by bold ideas, collaboration, and solutions so that everyone will have the opportunity and means to live the healthiest life they can.”
Kansas City was selected from more than 340 prize applications across the country. The other seven winning communities are Bridgeport, Connecticut; Bronx, New York; Everett, Massachusetts; Lawrence, Massachusetts; Menominee Nation in northeastern Wisconsin; Spartanburg County, South Carolina, and Waaswaaganing Anishinaabeg (Lac du Flambeau Tribe),Wisconsin. Tune in to rwjf.org/Prize today at 12pm ET/9am PT for a live webcast of the Prize announcement ceremony.
Building a Culture of Health means creating a society that gives every person, no matter who they are, the opportunity to be a healthy as they can be. To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Kansas City had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six criteria:
- Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
- Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
- Cultivating a shared and deeply-held belief in the importance of equal opportunity for health.
- Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
- Securing and making the most of available resources.
- Measuring and sharing progress and results.
“The prize is great recognition for the work we’ve done as a community, the shared focus on improving our collective health by government, business, our health-related organizations, and charitable institutions. The work continues as we search for more solutions to shape a ‘Healthy KC’,” said Jim Heeter, President & CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
The Kansas City, Missouri Health Department, Communities Creating Opportunity and partners will be celebrating the prize along with the release of the Community Health Improvement Plan at 10 a.m., November 6, 2015 at the Robert J. Mohart Multipurpose Center, 3200 Wayne Ave, Kansas City, MO 64109.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.
About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute is the focal point within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health to address questions of what it takes to improve health across the population. The Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and promoting evidence-informed approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and manages the RWJF Culture of Health Prize.