FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDate: September 15, 2016
Savannah, Georgia has been selected as one of 50 members of the HealthyCommunity50 in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to receive a $10,000 community seed award. By participating in the Challenge, Savannah, Georgia is in the running to receive a prize that will support their local program.
The Challenge, a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties, launched in April during National Public Health Week. The Challenge will award $1.5 million in prizes to small and mid-sized cities, counties and federally-recognized tribes that are able to show measurable change over the course of several years working with cross-sector partnerships to implement health innovations and data-driven solutions. Hundreds of city governments, local municipalities, health departments, educational institutions and other public/private entities applied to be a part of the Challenge.
The HealthyCommunity50 were chosen based on plans to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five domains: Healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures.
Through the Challenge, Savannah, Georgia and the Healthy Policy for a Healthy Savannah will engage with the community and work with community leaders and policy makers to advocate for policy actions to increase access to healthy and affordable food. The project comes at a critical time for Savannah, Georgia as we have over 30,000 adults and children that currently do not have access to affordable healthy food. Lizann Roberts, Board President of Healthy Savannah, says “We know that well developed policies around access to healthy food can have a positive long-term impact on the health of our citizens, especially those living in food deserts.
“At the Aetna Foundation, we’re seeking to reward innovation for communities implementing new ways to improve health outcomes,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation. “We want the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to serve as a catalyst for collaboration in local communities around the country working to move the needle in combating health disparities.”
All selected HealthyCommunity50 members will be visited by an expert judge panel to answer questions, understand the community’s approach to the project first-hand and speak with the members of the cross-sector team and key stakeholders. At the conclusion of the Challenge, the programs most able to show measurable change will be eligible for prize awards from $25,000 - $500,000. Participants will be judged on their own progress and will not be competing against each other. For more information, visit www.healthiestcities.org.