Baltimore City Health Department Recognized As HealthyCommunity50 Member In Healthiest Cities And Counties Challenge


Media Contacts:

Mona Rock: Office: (443) 984-2623, Cell: (410) 375-7763
Perry Meyers: Office: (410) 545-0823, Cell: (667) 216-0723

Baltimore, MD (September 21, 2016) —Today, Baltimore City was selected as one of 50 members of the HealthyCommunity50 in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. By participating in the Challenge, Baltimore City will receive a $10,000 community seed award and is in the running to receive a prize that will further development of local programming.

Specifically, this grant will support the Baltimore City Health Department’s efforts to encourage cross sector collaboration in order to increase physical activity across Baltimore City by focusing on areas with high risk of cardiovascular disease.  This initial funding will drive the development of a citywide challenge to increase physical activity and improve community health.

“Baltimore City is honored to be selected as a member of the HealthyCommunity50 in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “By bringing diverse partners across the city together, we can help Baltimore’s residents pursue healthier lifestyle behaviors.”

Launched in April as a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties 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.


Baltimore City will use this challenge as seed funding to engage Baltimoreans in pursuing healthy lifestyle behaviors by increasing physical activity across the entire city. There will be a specific focus on zip codes with the highest levels of premature death due to cardiovascular disease and other health disparities related to chronic disease.


The project comes following the recent release of Healthy Baltimore 2020, BCHD’s new strategic blueprint for health and wellness in Baltimore City through the lens of health equity.


“As we aim to cut health disparities in half over the next decade, it is imperative that we empower Baltimoreans with the tools to get healthy, stay healthy, and develop life-long success,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “Creating a healthy and well city requires the input of every sector, and I look forward to convening business, nonprofit, and government partners to develop a transformative citywide strategy for fitness and well-being.” 


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 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.”


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.


More information about the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge can be found at

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