SANTA CRUZ COUNTY RECEIVES
NATIONAL ROADMAPS TO HEALTH PRIZE FROM THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION IN CELEBRATION OF THEIR EFFORTS TO IMPROVE HEALTH
Santa Cruz County’s Work to Make a Collaborative Investment in the Health of the Community Gains National Attention
Santa Cruz County, California (February 21, 2013) Santa Cruz County is one of six inaugural winners of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Roadmaps to Health Prize. The prize honors outstanding community partnerships across the United States that are helping residents live healthier lives. The community has received a cash prize of $25,000 in recognition of its efforts and was honored on February 20th at an event held at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.
Santa Cruz County is being recognized for several of its innovative strategies to improve health. Using their Community Assessment Project Report’s local data as a guide, public and private community partners have pinpointed areas where they can make the biggest difference. A local universal health insurance plan, Healthy Kids, has provided coverage to 21,000 previously uninsured children; a healthy restaurant initiative by the youth advocacy group Jóvenes SANOS spurred the approval of an ordinance that requires new restaurants and transportation stations to offer and highlight healthy options in Watsonville; a community-wide effort called Together for Youth helped curb high underage binge drinking through the Social Host Ordinance which helps law enforcement to keep youth drinking in check; and the Sheriff’s Custody Alternatives Program which has provided over 300 participants education, employment, treatment, and social services as an alternative to incarceration to get people's lives back on track.
"I have seen firsthand the County's efforts to work collaboratively with the greater Santa Cruz community to develop new and innovative ways to improve the health and wellbeing of County residents, and commend its tireless efforts to identify health care solutions and improve people's lives," stated Senator Bill Monning. "Congratulations to Santa Cruz County on receiving this prestigious national award for its work to improve the health of its residents."
United Way of Santa Cruz County Executive Director Mary Lou Goeke stated, "this prize is a great honor for our United Way and for our community partners. It reflects the commitment our residents have to improve the quality of life for everyone who calls Santa Cruz County home.”
“By working together, our community is successfully addressing critical health issues through strategies that leverage public investment, private support and community participation. A healthy community is a stronger and safer community,” shared 1st District Supervisor John Leopold.
“These prize winners represent leadership at its finest—trailblazers creating a culture of health,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “Today we honor leaders from government, business, public health, health care, and education who stand shoulder-to-shoulder working toward better health. The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize shines a light on their accomplishments; we hope it will inspire others to take bold steps to improve health in their communities.”
Santa Cruz County was among six communities selected for the award from more than 160 applications. The other winning communities are New Orleans, Louisiana; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Fall River, Massachusetts; Manistique, Michigan; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more about the RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize and watch a video profile of Santa Cruz County and the other prize winners at www.rwjf.org.
The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize is part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. In 2009, RWJF partnered with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to create the County Health Rankings. The Rankings serve as an easy-to-use health snapshot of the many factors that influence health, and help community leaders identify areas where improvement is needed. The County Health Roadmaps project supports communities working together to make progress on those factors. Find out more at www.countyhealthrankings.org.
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