Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Selects 2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize Finalists

    • February 24, 2021

Princeton, N.J.—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced today the nine communities chosen as finalists for the 2021 RWJF Culture of Health Prize. The Prize honors communities working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity for all. The coronavirus pandemic and growing inequity across the nation underscore the importance of community conditions and collective efforts for all residents to have a fair and just opportunity for health.

The following nine finalist communities are one step closer to the national Prize:

Anne Arundel County, Md.          Bastrop County, Texas

Freehold Borough, N.J.              Green Bay, Wis.

Howard County, Md.                   Palm Beach County, Fla.

Rocky Mount, N.C.                      Salinas, Calif.

Thunder Valley Community-Oglala Lakota Nation (Oceti Sakowin Territory)

“RWJF Culture of Health Prize communities offer important examples of places where partners are coming together to cultivate a shared commitment to equity so all residents can thrive,” said Richard Besser, MD, RWJF president and CEO. “We look forward to connecting and speaking with residents and community leaders in each finalist community to learn more about how they are achieving meaningful and lasting change.”

To earn Prize finalist status, communities had to demonstrate how their efforts reflect the six Prize criteria:

  • Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
  • Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
  • Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health.
  • Maximizing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
  • Securing and making the most of available resources.
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results.

2021 Prize finalist communities will participate in a series of virtual community reflection conversations with leaders, residents, and representatives from the Prize program. The Foundation will also be evaluating the 2020 Prize finalists over the next several months. The process of choosing 2020 Prize winners was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 finalists are Addison, Ill.; Alamosa County, Colo.; Chickaloon Native Village (Alaska); Douglas County, Kan.; Drew, Miss.; National City, Calif.; Tulsa County, Okla.; and Worcester, Mass.

The 2020 and 2021 Prize winners will be announced this fall. The winners will receive a $25,000 prize and opportunities to share their story and lessons learned with the country. Learn more about the previous 44 Prize winners at

The Prize is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.


About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health. A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those in academia and those in the policy and practice arena. The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. For more information, visit


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 45 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

RWJF Culture of Health Prize

The RWJF Culture of Health Prize honors and elevates U.S. communities that have placed a priority on health and are creating powerful partnerships and deep commitments that enable everyone to live healthier lives.

Learn more