Communities Receive Funding to Accelerate and Deepen Efforts to Improve Residents’ Health

    • April 17, 2015
Daycare teachers play with a group of young children outside.

Cambridge, Mass.—The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) today announced the 24 communities that will receive funding to accelerate and deepen efforts to improve the health of their populations. Made possible by a $4.8 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by IHI, the communities will engage in an ambitious initiative called SCALE, or Spreading Community Accelerators through Learning and Evaluation. Three partner organizations—Community Solutions, Communities Joined in Action, and the Collaborative Health Network—will join with IHI in assisting the 24 awardees with developing further skills and strategies to improve the health of their communities as well as the mechanisms to spread effective community-driven approaches across the country.

“The interviewing team was very impressed with all of the SCALE applicants, and pleased to see such great interest from so many U.S. communities looking to accelerate their health improvement journey. It was very difficult to pare down from our 57 finalists to today’s 24 awardees,” stated Laura Brennan, MSW, immediate past Chair, Communities Joined in Action.

Soma Stout, MD, MS, IHI’s executive external lead for health improvement, added, “Now, we look forward to bringing the awardees together to deepen their ability to create effective improvement and to generously share what’s currently working in various locales. Communities don’t need to start from scratch to reduce homelessness, ease poverty, or fill neighborhoods with healthier food options. Effective interventions already exist that can be more widely adapted—and that process happens naturally when communities start to engage with one another. The awardees all have in common a readiness and eagerness to learn from each other.”

Over the next two years, SCALE will match the four announced today as “mentor communities”—those with a recent track record of achieving better health—with 20 now designated as “pacesetter communities” or seeking to accelerate their pace of change. Kicking off activity in May 2015, the communities will assess their current assets and skills; begin building or enhancing a set of community-health metrics; and attend a Community Health Improvement Academy that will strengthen everyone’s capabilities in leadership, change management, and improvement practices. Each community coalition will work on issues as diverse as increasing food access to reducing substance abuse to helping more people gain healthy literacy.

“We are so pleased with the level of interest in this initiative from communities working hard to improve health locally,” said Robin E. Mockenhaupt, PhD, Chief of Staff at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We look forward to seeing the learning, sharing, and impact that results from the efforts of these participating communities.”

SCALE marks the first community-based program of the recently announced global initiative, 100 Million Healthier Lives, led by IHI and 140 founding partners. The initiative aims to achieve the audacious goal of 100 million people living healthier lives by 2020, and so far has nearly 500 members representing public health, community health, health care, patient advocacy, policy, academia, business, and financing. Improving equity and creating a culture of health is a fundamental tenet of 100 Million Healthier Lives, and a common thread that unites all the SCALE awardees.

Communities not selected for the SCALE initiative are being offered the opportunity to engage with 100 Million Healthier Lives and receive some special assistance on mastering improvement methods, peer-to-peer learning, and the best ways to identify “bright spots” or effective practices and strategies. The 100 Million Healthier Lives and SCALE partners pooled their resources to make this option possible.

The final SCALE awardees include:

Mentors (4):

Cheshire County, N.H.

  • Cheshire Medical Center         
  • Monadnock Coalition for the Promotion of Breastfeeding     
  • Monadnock Regional Transportation Management Association          
  • Monadnock HEAL Coalition  
  • Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco-free Communities     
  • Advocates for Healthy Youth


Oklahoma City, Okla. 

  • Oklahoma City County Health Department    
  • City of Oklahoma City           
  • INTEGRIS Health System       
  • Oklahoma City Public Schools           
  • Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma     
  • Wellness Now


Summit County, Ohio 

  • Summit County Public Health
  • City of Akron
  • The University of Akron
  • Kent State University
  • Northeast Ohio Medical University
  • Summa Health System
  • Akron Children's Hospital
  • Akron General Health System
  • AxessPointe Community Health Center
  • SummaCare


Williamson, W. Va.       

  • Williamson Health and Wellness Center, Inc.
  • Strong Through Our Plan Coalition     
  • Mingo County Schools           
  • Williamson Redevelopment Authority            
  • West Virginia University Extension Service    
  • Williamson Farmers Market, My Mobile Market


Pacesetters (20):

Algoma, Wis.  

  • Live Algoma Coalition
  • Bellin Health   
  • School District of Algoma      
  • Precision Machine Inc.                       


Atlanta, Ga.  

  • Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI)
  • Georgia State University Research Foundation’s Georgia Health Policy Center          
  • Atlanta Regional Commission
  • United Way of Greater Atlanta           
  • St. Joseph’s Mercy Care         
  • Kaiser Permanente      
  • Grady Health System


Bernalillo County, N.M.         

  • Bernalillo County Community Health Council           
  • Presbyterian Healthcare Services        
  • NM Department of Health/Health Promotion  
  • Albuquerque Public Schools/Student, Family & Community Supports Division         
  • UNM/HSC/Office of Community Health Initiatives/Pathways to a Healthy Bernalillo County           
  • First Choice Community Healthcare


Boston, Mass.   

  • Vital Village Network Boston Medical Center
  • Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School      
  • Medical-Legal Partnership/Boston      
  • Child Witness to Violence Project       
  • Boston LISC   
  • Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative


Cattaraugus County, N.Y.     

  • Cattaraugus County Health Department
  • Cattaraugus County Department of Aging      
  • Healthy Community Alliance
  • Southern Tier Health Care System      
  • Salamanca Youth Center        
  • University Primary Care


Chicago, Ill.   

  • Proviso-Leyden Council for Community Action        
  • Loyola Chicago Stritch School of Medicine    
  • Proviso East High School        
  • Triton College
  • Loyola University Hospital     
  • Cook County Department of Public Health    


Cleveland, Ohio          

  • MetroHealth—Center for Reducing Health Disparities            
  • Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation    
  • East End Neighborhoods House         
  • Fairhill Partners           
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority    
  • Buckeye Ministries in Mission


Hennepin County, Minn.         

  • Hennepin Health Foundation, Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc. d/b/a Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC)  
  • Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department, Public Health Promotion
  • Northwest Hennepin Family Services Collaborative   
  • North Sky Health Consulting  
  • Brooklyn Park, Minnesota      


Jackson, Mich. 

  • Jackson Health Improvement Organization    
  • Allegiance Health
  • Jackson County Health Department
  • Cradle to Career Education Network  
  • Financial Stability Strand                                


Laramie County, Wyo.

  • Laramie County Community Partnership, Inc.
  • HealthWorks   
  • Cheyenne Regional Medical Center    
  • United Way of Laramie County          

Laramie County Community College  


Los Angeles, Calif.

  • Downtown Women's Center   
  • United Homeless Healthcare Partners
  • JWCH Institute           
  • University of Southern California, School of Social Work     
  • Los Angeles Central Providers Collaborative  
  • L.A. Care Health Plan             


Maricopa County, Ariz.          

  • Maricopa County Department of Public Health          
  • Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD)      
  • Banner Health
  • Esperanca       
  • City of Phoenix—FitPHX         


North Colorado         

  • North Colorado Health Alliance         
  • Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Sunrise Community Health (FQHC)   
  • United Way of Weld County  
  • High Plains Library District     


Pueblo, Colo.   

  • Pueblo Triple Aim Corporation           
  • Pueblo City County Health Department          
  • Catholic Charities of Pueblo   
  • Pueblo Community Health Center      
  • Integrated Community Health Partners           


Raleigh, N.C.  

  • YMCA of the Triangle            
  • Wake County Human Services           
  • DHIC Affordable Housing     
  • WakeMed Health and Hospitals          
  • Wake County Public School System   
  • Fertile Ground Food Coop


Salt Lake City, Utah   

Ethnic Community-based Organization for Refugees

Musungu HIV/AIDS Support Organization     

Burundi Drummers     

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Community Outreach Division)                 


San Francisco, Calif.    

  • Saint Francis Foundation        
  • Saint Francis Memorial Hospital         
  • San Francisco Department of Public Health    
  • San Francisco Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development     
  • University of California San Francisco           
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco


San Gabriel Valley, Calif.        

  • City of Hope   
  • Neighbors Acting Together Helping All (NATHA)     
  • City of Duarte
  • Duarte Unified School District (DUSD)                      


Sitka, Alaska

  • Sitka Health Summit
  • Southeast Alaska Regional Hospital Consortium
  • Sitka Community Hospital
  • Brave Heart Volunteers         


Waterville, Maine         

  • Healthy Northern Kennebec   
  • Kennebec Behavioral Health  
  • Kennebec Valley Community Action Program           
  • Waterville Main Street
  • Family Violence Project          
  • City of Waterville


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


About The Institute for Healthcare Improvement

IHI is a leading innovator in health and health care improvement worldwide. For more than 25 years, we have partnered with visionaries, leaders, and front-line practitioners around the globe to spark bold, inventive ways to improve the health of individuals and populations. Recognized as an innovator, convener, trustworthy partner, and driver of results, we are the first place to turn for expertise, help, and encouragement for anyone, anywhere who wants to change health and health care profoundly for the better. To advance our mission, IHI’s work is focused in five key areas: Improvement Capability; Person- and Family-Centered Care; Patient Safety; Quality, Cost, and Value; and Triple Aim for Populations. Learn more at


About Community Solutions

Community Solutions is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that helps communities solve the complex problems facing their most vulnerable, hard hit members. We work from eight locations to assist communities throughout the United States and internationally. Learn more at


About Communities Joined in Action

Communities Joined in Action is a private, non-profit membership organization of nearly 200 community health collaboratives—each of our members being committed to improving health, improving access, and eliminating disparities in their communities. Our mission is to mobilize and assist these community health collaboratives to assure better health for all people at less cost. Learn more at


About Collaborative Health Network

Collaborative Health Network is a vibrant network that connects diverse stakeholders and trusted groups who are working to improve community health and healthcare, especially those taking a multi-sector, collaborative approach. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, the Collaborative Health Network is designed to accelerate the adoption of what is working locally, and to identify the next generation of challenges. For more information, visit


Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

Additional Media Contact: Sandy George

CXO Communication for IHI (617) 413-6126