RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America

A collection of key content and lessons learned from a national initiative to improve health equity.

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What Shapes Health? Closing Socioeconomic Gaps in Health

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Commission to Build a Healthier America was a national, independent, non-partisan group of leaders established in 2008 to examine the many factors outside of medical care that influence health. The Commission researched and reviewed evidence, collected new data and listened to experts, leaders and citizens around the country. In 2009, the Commission released Beyond Health Care, a report containing 10 recommendations to improve health at the local, state and federal levels.  

In 2013, the the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reconvened the Commission to identify actions that should be taken now to support health in communities and during early childhood. The Commission released Time to Act in January 2014, which found that to improve the health of all Americans we must:

  • Invest in the foundations of lifelong physical and mental well-being in our youngest children
  • Create communities that foster health-promoting behaviors
  • Broaden health care to promote health outside of the medical system.

Commission Recommendations

Cover of RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America's 2014 report.

Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities

January 13, 2014 | Report

Understand the three major strategies to improve America’s health that extend beyond medical care. Read the report by the Commission to Build a Healthier America.

Read the final report
RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America's April 2009 report cover.

Beyond Health Care

April 1, 2009 | Report

The RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America issues 10 cross-cutting recommendations for improving the nation’s health.

Read the report
DC metro map
DC metro map

Life Expectancy Maps by City

A short distance can mean large disparities in health. Across America, babies born just a few miles apart have dramatic differences in life expectancy.

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Resource Repository

Visit the RWJF Commission's archived site to access lessons learned and other resources from this project.