Upstream Action Acceleration

New Jersey Health Initiatives
New Jersey



New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI)’s Upstream Action Acceleration initiative furthered the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) vision of building a Culture of Health by supporting the efforts of existing community-focused, cross-sector coalitions to adopt and implement upstream environmental, policy, and systems changes. The initiative has accelerated the work of 12 coalitions over a two year period in areas they identified as priorities for improving community health including Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), new sector engagement, effective use of data tools and resources to guide actions, civic engagement, environment/open space, and housing.

Inspired by Healthy Places by Design’s approach and management of the Roadmaps Action Acceleration and Collaborative Learning initiative, NJHI partnered with us to leverage our unique strengths which include a national perspective; expertise in community change and policy, systems, and environmental strategies; and our history of collaboration with RWJF.


Our Support

  • Served as strategic thought partners during program development and implementation;
  • Participated in the calls for proposals and selection phases, including providing coaching to the communities invited to submit full applications;
  • Provided collaborative learning services, including facilitating in-person convenings to build an informed network of local leaders, as well as hosting virtual learning sessions in the form of webinars or affinity group discussions; and
  • Contributed to program wrap-up and dissemination.

Specific services we provided included:

  • Program design and management
  • Collaborative learning and networking development, facilitation, and support, including in-person convenings and web-based sessions
  • Content contribution for the initiative webpage which serves as a resource hub
  • Field building with local, state, and national partners
  • Product and results dissemination



“We are generalists, and we’re always seeking an opportunity to bring in experts with a knowledge or skill set that will transfer to our communities—someone to fill the gaps and take what we know and help amplify it. That’s definitely what the Healthy Places by Design team did. We are really big fans. I can’t overemphasize how pleased we are to have your colleagues work with us and our grantees. It’s everything we hoped for.”

Director, NJHI


“When we are working collaboratively on planning, we know Healthy Places by Design will deliver what needs to be done. They know how we think and how we like to do our work, so it's smooth from start to finish. And they provide perspective from what they hear [so that] we can focus on more fine points within each community."

Deputy Director of Programs, NJHI

Learn more about this project on our blog:


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