GAIN: AIGA Design for Social Value Conference

Supporting the role of innovation and design in creating social value.

Ideas We Support

At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we recognize that health happens where you live, learn, work, and play. To improve health for all Americans, it is critical that we look beyond better access to health care and address what can help people avoid getting sick in the first place.

That means rigorously examining the role that housing, neighborhoods and factors such as income and education have on health. And, it requires design thinking, new research, innovative approaches, and unlikely new partners to give all Americans the opportunity to live long and healthy lives.

Here is a snapshot of the Foundation's most recent successful collaborations:

  • RWJF created The Green House model, a new kind of nursing home comprised of small 10-bedroom homes. By altering the facility size, interior design, staffing patterns and methods of delivering services to residents, the approach is directly linked to better health outcomes. The 100th home opened last year in West Orange, NJ, and the model continues to be replicated across the country.
  • We're supporting projects like Living Cities’ Integration Initiative, which is providing $85 million to support public-private partnerships in Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Newark and Minneapolis-St. Paul to improve access to healthy foods and employment opportunities, to create walkable communities served by public transit, and to preserve and create affordable housing.
  • In Louisville, the RWJF-funded Active Living by Design supported the design of Liberty Green, a $200 million, mixed-income community with pocket parks, walkable streets and houses with front porches. ACTIVE Louisville, along with the Louisville Metro Housing Authority and other community partners, assessed housing needs and helped with relocation, while providing a comprehensive array of social services and programs to help residents move towards self-sufficiency.
  • The Foundation’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program is helping dozens of communities across the country reshape their environments to support healthy living and prevent childhood obesity.
  • We’ve also been working closely with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Low Income Investment Fund and others to support a series of “Healthy Communities” meetings that bring together the health, community development and finance sectors to identify common goals, share information about cross-cutting work and forge new relationships.
  • The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between RWJF and the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute, is focused on identifying and addressing specific factors that affect health, such as education and income. The County Health Rankings are an annual check-up that highlights the healthiest and least healthy counties in every state, as well as those factors that influence health, outside of the doctor’s office, and the County Health Roadmaps help counties to mobilize and take action to become healthier places.
  • The Health Impact Project, a collaboration between RWJF and The Pew Charitable Trusts, promotes the use of health impact assessments, tools that can help decision-makers identify and avoid unintended health consequences of a policy or project, such as a proposed transit line that runs through low-income neighborhoods.

Stay tuned for updates on our efforts to create healthier places and conditions for people to live, learn, work and play.

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Join @RWJF & @AIGAconference for the 2012 #GainConference focused on how Business + Design = Social Value