The RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America released new recommendations in January 2014 that explore how we can improve health for all Americans by investing in early childhood, integrating community development and health, and linking health and health care. Explore the videos and stories below to learn how communities across the United States are taking action.  

Investing in Early Childhood

Early Steps to School Success

In 2006, Save the Children introduced its Early Steps to School Success program. Early Steps is built on public-private partnerships with local schools and states, and delivers high-quality early childhood development services to children ages 0 to 5, and their families in 14 states. Key components of the program include:

Home visits conducted by early childhood coordinators. For ages 0 to 3, coordinators provide parents with age-appropriate activities for their children, help monitor their children’s developmental progress, and offer suggestions on how to interact with young children to promote early literacy and language learning.

Book exchange program. Coordinators foster a love of reading in children age 0 to 5 with a book exchange program, supplying families with a rotation of children’s books.

Fostering a positive connection between families and schools. To support a positive parent-school relationship for children prior to entering school, parent education groups meet at local schools to discuss early development topics.

Enhancing the community of practice. To support a sustainable education model, the program emphasizes increasing early childhood education knowledge and skills among paraprofessionals and practitioners in the community.

Learn more about Early Steps to School Success

Video Stories

Video Stories

Learn how communities invest in early childhood development.

Learn more about these initiatives:

1) Booth Memorial Child Center

2) Child First

3) Educare DC

4) Keeping Families Together

5) Pre-K 4 San Antonio

6) Commentary from expert Jack Shonkoff, MD

Integrating Community Development and Health

Neighborhood Centers: The Gulfton / Sharpstown, TX Story

The Gulfton/Sharpstown neighborhoods comprise an 8.4-square-mile section of Southwest Houston with a population density three times greater than that of the city’s inner loop. While 70 percent of males and 55 percent of females are employed, many are underemployed, with nearly half earning incomes below $25,000. Approximately 40 percent of the families with young children in the community live below the poverty level. Sixty-two percent of households have school-age or preschool children; less than half of the adults in the area graduated from high school. And 53 percent do not speak English well.

Neighborhood Centers Inc. has been present in the Gulfton/Sharpstown area since 1980, providing early care and education to children while serving as a resource for family literacy, parenting and adult education. In 2005, Neighborhood Centers created a partnership with the City of Houston and JPMorgan Chase to build a new community center and marketplace that now house an immigration center, a comprehensive family education center that includes classroom space and a resource library, meeting space, and a center for economic development that opened in 2010.

Learn more about the Baker Ripley Neighborhood Center

Video Stories

Video Stories

Learn how communities are making their neighborhoods healthier.

Learn more about these efforts:

1) Camden, NJ: Northgate Park

2) Dillwyn, VA: Buckingham Schools  

3) Minneapolis-St. Paul Lightrail  

4) Trenton, NJ:  Monument Elementary 

5) Commentary from expert Nancy Andrews

Bridging Health and Health Care

Raymond Baxter

Health Care To Address The Entire Patient

Raymond J. Baxter, Senior Vice President Community Benefit at Kaiser Permanente, explains the importance of linking various services in the community to address the entire patient.

Raymond Baxter

Medical-Legal Partnership for Community Health Care

Medical-Legal Partnership combines the knowledge of doctors and lawyers to help people in vulnerable communities stay healthy. 

Learn More About

Head Start- Trauma Smart
RWJF Commission