Health should be a national priority, valued and advanced by collaborators from all sectors. A Culture of Health is an organizing principle to catalyze, chart, and measure the nation’s progress toward greater health, wellbeing, and equity and we are committed to assessing our actions to realize those goals.

Progress Report Roadmap

Our approach to measuring progress toward advancing a Culture of Health breaks into three key phases.

Our Latest Progress Report: Phase Two Findings and Conclusions

Our Phase Two report sheds light on what it means to advance a Culture of Health and offers examples of what that work looks like in practice. It also offers a long-term evaluation plan to understand the spread and uptake of the shared Culture of Health vision, as well as the effects of improving population health, wellbeing, and health equity. The report looks at both RWJF’s contributions as well as external drivers to progress in these areas.

  • An evaluation team at Westat assessed the developmental phase of RWJF’s work toward advancing a Culture of Health, covering the period from July 2017 to January 2020.

    The report describes both RWJF’s contributions and external drivers of progress, offers practice examples, and promotes a plan to measure uptake of the Culture of Health vision and its effects of population health, wellbeing, and health equity.

    To inform the report, Westat:

    • Conducted 10 case studies of organizations that have adopted or aligned with Culture of Health principles.
    • Reviewed 10 RWJF initiatives that illustrate the Culture of Health.
    • Conducted two national surveys—of housing agencies and county health officials in 16 counties—to assess their use of Culture of Health principles, especially health equity.
    • Developed a theory of change and a long-term evaluation plan.

  • Health Equity is Pivotal

    Health equity was viewed as pivotal to advancing a Culture of Health, but integrating health equity can and should occur at different levels. For example, efforts to integrate health equity into policies at federal, state, and local levels.

    Collaboration Fuels Change

    Cross-Sector Collaborations (Action Area 2) were found to foster the development of all the other Action Areas. Identifying leverage points can help shift practice and policy. Building a Culture of Health requires collaborating with partners often in other fields and finding points of leverage to achieve shared goals. Early and structured collaboration, support, peer learning, and evaluation will build overall capacity for systems change.

    Communicate Regularly

    Disseminating findings in a timely manner may result in efficient systems change, but timeliness is often challenged by standard research practice. 

    Community Buy-In is Key

    Making Health a Shared Value (Action Area 1) emerged as a necessary element to advancing a Culture of Health vision. Authentic community engagement is crucial to fostering a Culture of Health vision. Success depends on gaining the trust from the community so members will participate fully and own the work.

    Communities Must Acknowledge Need

    Initiatives focused on Creating Healthier, More Equitable Communities (Action Area 3) to improve health and health equity were often motivated by an acknowledgement of residents’ health and social needs.

    Be Flexible, Local and Creative

    Advancing a Culture of Health has to be local and tailored to context and requires agility, flexibility, and creativity.

  • Progress is now being guided by the long-term evaluation plan and its four guiding questions:

    • What is RWJF doing to build a Culture of Health?
    • How is a Culture of Health and health equity operationalized within key areas of RWJF programmatic strategies?
    • How is a Culture of Health and health equity spreading more broadly?
    • What is the influence of a Culture of Health on population health, well-being, and health equity?

    Future progress reports will examine the direct impact of efforts to build a Culture of Health. Assessment of community-level impacts is critical to determining how effective these efforts are in advancing a Culture of Health and what changes are needed to improve them.