City of Westminster Named One of 50 Invest Health Cities
Westminster, working with Adams County, Tri-County Health, Mile High Connects, Regis and other partners to join innovative, national program to improve health in low-income neighborhoods.
The City of Westminster and its partners have been selected by Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to take part in the new Invest Health initiative. Invest Health is aimed at transforming how leaders from mid-size American cities work together to help low-income communities thrive, with specific attention to community features that drive health such as access to safe and affordable housing, places to play and exercise, and quality jobs.
The Westminster Invest Health Coalition was selected from more than 180 teams from 170 communities that applied to the initiative. Cities with populations between 50,000 and 400,000 were asked to form five-member teams including representatives from the public sector, community development, and an anchor institution, preferably academic or health-related. The Westminster Invest Health Coalition team comprises representatives from Adams County, the Tri-County Health Department, Regis University, and Mile High Connects working together to address health outcome disparities.
“Westminster Invest Health Program is an exciting way to build momentum and forge a larger net of partnerships around our existing efforts and plans to address the many disparities in health present in this area of Adams County. From our Federal Boulevard Framework Plan, Westminster Station Plan and related Health Impact Assessment, we know it’s time to put our plans into action,” said Abel Montoya, Adams County Long Range Strategic Planning Director.
Mid-size American cities face some of the nation’s deepest challenges with entrenched poverty, poor health and a lack of investment. At the same time, they also offer fertile ground for strategies that improve health and have the potential to boost local economies. The program has the potential to transform fundamentally the way Westminster and its partners improve opportunities to live healthy lives by addressing the drivers of health including jobs, housing, education, community safety and environmental conditions.
“With a long history in community development finance, we are excited to help create a pipeline to channel capital into low-income communities through public and private investments,” said Amanda High, Chief of Strategic Initiatives at Reinvestment Fund. “Our goal is to transform how cities approach tough challenges, share lessons learned and spur creative collaboration.”
Over the next 18 months, Invest Health teams will take part in a vibrant learning community, have access to highly skilled faculty advisors and coaches who will guide their efforts toward improved health, and receive a $60,000 grant. The Westminster Invest Health Coalition will also engage a broader group of local stakeholders to encourage local knowledge sharing. Learning from the program will be synthesized and disseminated through the project website.
“Public officials, community developers, and many others have been working in low-income neighborhoods for years, but they haven’t always worked together,” said Donald Schwarz, MD, MPH, MBA, RWJF Vice President, Program. “Invest Health aims to align their work and help neighborhoods thrive by intentionally incorporating health into community development.”
The Westminster Invest Health Coalition’s projects will explore a broad range of ideas from improvements to the built environment to health promotion programs. Project teams will travel to Philadelphia for a kick-off meeting on June 7th and will meet regularly to share lessons learned throughout the 18-month project. A full list of awardees and more information is available at www.investhealth.org.
About Reinvestment Fund
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.