RWJF Culture of Health Prize

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation



For the past decade, the RWJF Culture of Health Prize has been made possible through a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize honors and elevates U.S. communities working at the forefront of advancing health, equity, and opportunity for all. This national award program recognizes cities, counties, regions, and tribal entities across the country through a cash prize, presentation and training opportunities, and networking activities with other Prize-winning communities. Prize winners exemplify the six Prize criteria in action across their communities:

  • Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
  • Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
  • Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health.
  • Maximizing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
  • Securing and making the most of available resources.
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results.


Our Support

Healthy Places by Design has had a deep and longstanding collaboration with the RWJF Culture of Health Prize since its 2013 inception, first participating in the Advisory Group and serving as a site visitor. Focusing on equity and community-led transformation is a shared value that has enabled our organizations to collaborate and inform each other’s work, and sustain our partnership. From 2016 to 2021, Healthy Places by Design has partnered more deeply, in roles that have deepened the capacity of Prize partners. Specific roles included:

  • Provided consultation regarding program strategy and direction related to eligibility, Prize criteria, and selection processes.
  • Served as a reviewer for Prize applications, and as lead facilitator and report writer for site visits to finalist communities.
  • Planned and coordinated all aspects of multi-day site visits to finalist communities, including planning and implementing a pivot to virtual site visits in 2020-2021.
  • Planned and facilitated meetings of site visit review teams and the Prize National Advisory Group.
  • Advised national storytelling activities to elevate the accomplishments of Prize-winning communities.
  • Partnered in planning and execution of the annual, multi-day RWJF Culture of Health Prize Celebration & Learning event.
  • Contributed to reflection and evaluation documents.



“The spirit of our thought partnership with Healthy Places by Design has been extraordinary. Our work is better because of your role. You are flexible, generously taking on and letting go of things with the ebb and flow, always willing to brainstorm approaches and refine processes. You listen and adjust, and you use your power and influence where it’s needed. I truly cannot imagine the past seven years without our collective partnership. Time and again the team at Healthy Places be Design has stepped up to help and lend strategic insights.”

Director, RWJF Culture of Health Prize, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute