County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, A Healthier Nation, County by County

Download Rankings Data

Get data for the entire nation or a state

Learn about the data & methods

Our Approach

Our model of population health

Ranking Methods

How Rankings are calculated

Using the Rankings Data

How to understand and go beyond the Rankings

Measuring Progress

Guide to understanding the health trends in your community

What can I do?

Action Center

Guides and tools for improving health

What Works for Health

Find effective policy/program strategies

What can I learn from others?

Community Grants

Local action to change policies or systems

National Partners

Learn about our partners in improving health


How communities are improving health

Projects Showcase

Examples of ways people are using the Rankings data

RWJF Culture of Health Prize

Learn about communities making a difference and how to apply

About the Prize

Throughout the country, people are coming together with a shared vision, strong leadership, and commitment to making needed and lasting changes that are enabling individuals to live long and healthy lives. This is happening in large urban settings and small rural ones; it’s happening in places with tremendous resources and in places with few resources to draw from; it’s happening in places with relatively good health and in places with poor health. The invitation to apply for this prize is being extended to all U.S. communities working toward better health. The prize is an opportunity for RWJF, UWPHI and the nation to honor and promote these successes. 

Each year, RWJF Culture of Health Prize winning communities are honored; each receives a no-strings-attached $25,000 cash prize. Winning communities’ success stories are celebrated and shared broadly in a variety of ways and may include live local and national celebratory events, meetings and conferences, Web and online platforms, and video, social, broadcast and print media—all with the goal of raising awareness and inspiring locally-driven change across the country. 


The RWJF Culture of Health Prize is a place-based prize that honors whole communities, so community members are strongly encouraged to collaborate with one another on the application.
For the purposes of this prize, “a community” must be defined as one of the following:

  • Town
  • City
  • County
  • Tribe or Tribal Community
  • Region (such as contiguous towns, cities, or counties)

Communities are asked to select primary and alternate contacts for their application. These individuals indicate their organizational affiliation which could be a:

  • Business
  • Coalition
  • Hospital or health care organization
  • Local foundation
  • Government agency or department
  • School
  • Social service agency

Applicant communities invited to Phase II of the competition also designate a local governmental or tax exempt public charity to accept the $25,000 prize on the community’s behalf, should they win. 

Selection Criteria

Every community can participate in the process of becoming a healthier place to live, learn, work, and play. With this in mind, judges from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the national Roadmaps to Health Advisory Group, and other national experts will review applications to assess the quality and breadth of communities’ accomplishments as well as their capacity for and dedication to creating lasting change according to six criteria:

  1. HARNESSING THE COLLECTIVE POWER OF LEADERS, PARTNERS, AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS by listening to diverse voices, inspiring each other and developing strategies for buy-in, decision-making, and coordinated action among groups (including employers, community advocates, health care and public health professionals, government officials, grantmakers, policymakers, educators, and others).
  2. IMPLEMENTING A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO IMPROVING HEALTH THAT FOCUSES ON THE MULTIPLE FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE HEALTH including health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment as illustrated by the County Health Rankings model, below. Judges have a particular interest in communities that are addressing all four factors in the County Health Rankings model and communities that are prioritizing those factors that most influence health.
  3. ADDRESSING PROBLEMS THAT DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECT VULNERABLE POPULATIONS such as ethnic minorities and those with limited English skills, income and/or education and creating opportunities for all members of the community to make choices allowing them to live a long healthy life.
  4. DEVELOPING SUSTAINABLE, LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS TO SHARED COMMUNITY PRIORITIES including planning and implementing policy, systems and environmental changes that target populations rather than individuals. 
  5. SECURING AND MAKING THE MOST OF AVAILABLE RESOURCES including innovative strategies to maximize financial resources and individual and organizational experience and expertise dedicated to programs and policies that are improving the health of the community.
  6. MEASURING AND SHARING RESULTS including setting achievable goals and engaging in thoughtful and regular monitoring and public reporting of strategies to improve health as well as the impact those strategies are having on health measures.

The County Health Rankings Model

The Application Process

The RWJF Culture of Health Prize Call for Applications has three distinct phases, including: Phase I Application, Phase II Application, and Site Visits.

Phase I Application (Now closed for 2013-14 applications)

The brief Phase I Application asks for a community overview and descriptions of four accomplishments. These accomplishments should be specific policies, programs, and/or strategies that your community has implemented. Communities should select those accomplishments that best reflect the six prize criteria described above and should consider new policies and programs as well as those that are well established and have had sustained impact over time. While judges recognize the tremendous value of planning and convening processes, communities should not consider coalition development, community health assessments or improvement plans as “accomplishments” for this competition. The Phase I Application may be up to five pages in length (Calibri, 11 point font, single-spaced, 1-inch margins). 

Phase II Application and Site Visits (Now closed for 2013-14 applications)

Selected communities will be invited to complete the Phase II Application and progress in the RWJF Culture of Health Prize selection process. From this group, up to twelve communities will be selected as finalists and will be invited to participate in a site visit. The Phase II Application will build on the brief Phase I Application and will include responses to questions that will provide the judges with a complete picture of how the community is exemplifying the six prize criteria described above. The Phase II Application will also request a draft itinerary for your site visit and a brief multimedia presentation. Additional information for the Phase II Application and the site visits can be found via the Frequently Asked Questions link at left and further details will be made available to communities at the time of invitation.



For more information on the RWJF Culture of Health Prize, please contact:
Kirstin Siemering, Manager, RWJF Culture of Health Prize