Building a Culture of Health

Our health and well-being can be greatly influenced by complex social factors such as where we live, and the strength of our families and communities. But despite knowing this, positive change is not occurring at a promising pace.

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To accelerate progress, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has proposed a vision for a national Culture of Health enabling all in our diverse society to lead healthier lives. It is based on 10 underlying principles:

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Culture of Health: Underlying Principles

  1. Good health flourishes across geographic, demographic, and social sectors.
  2. Attaining the best health possible is valued by our entire society.
  3. Individuals and families have the means and the opportunity to make choices.
  4. Business, government, individuals, and organizations work together to build healthy communities.
  5. No one is excluded.
  6. Everyone has access to affordable, quality health care.
  7. Health care is efficient and equitable.
  8. The economy is less burdened by excessive and unwarranted health care spending.
  9. Keeping everyone as healthy as possible guides public and private decision-making.
  10. Americans understand that we are all in this together.


In collaboration with the RAND Corporation and with far-reaching expert input, we have developed a Culture of Health Action Framework which sets a national agenda to improve health, well-being, and equity. It contains three core elements:

  • Action Areas: a series of high-level objectives which, when addressed together, can lead to improved population health, well-being and equity;
  • Drivers: connected with the Action Areas, specific types of activities or systemic factors that are critical to achieving better health at the national and local level; and,
  • Measures: data points representing an array of social, economic and policy measures that align with the overall Culture of Health vision, and can support the tracking of progress over time.

From Vision to Action:

Explore the Culture of Health Action Framework.

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A Compass for the Nation—and for Us

The Action Framework is informed by rigorous research, and insights from leading efforts to improve the nation’s health. It is designed to provide numerous entry points for all manner of organizations get involved, in ways that match their own unique perspectives and interests.

For our part, as a leading philanthropy and proponent of this vision, the Framework serves as a guide to all aspects of our work—from the issues we focus on, to the types of research we fund, to how we approach program development and evaluation.

At the same time, we are well aware that we are just one organization—and building a Culture of Health will take unprecedented collaboration. With the Action Framework as a guide, we hope to inspire new ideas and partnerships that can help advance the common cause of better health for all.

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