Defining and Measuring a Culture of Health

Health Affairs special issue explores how health and social issues intersect.

In 2014, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced a vision of working with others to build a Culture of Health that gives everyone in America an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life they can.

Nearly two years later, a special issue of Health Affairs features early findings from research on key factors that contribute to a Culture of Health, such as the interconnection of health and social issues; the link between population well-being and life expectancy; and collaboration across the many different sectors which play a critical role in achieving better health for all.

Writes Health Affairs Editor Alan Weil: “If there is one notion that captures what is needed to create a Culture of Health, it is that existing boundary lines must be crossed. Whether it is the public and private sector, the health and social sectors, or the silos that exist within the health care system, a new culture requires combined efforts that remove the barriers that each has placed around its work.”

In an interview with Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, former RWJF president and CEO, and Alonzo Plough, PhD, MPH, vice president of Research, Evaluation and Learning, Weil explores both the Culture of Health Action Framework and how improving population health will require attention to factors beyond traditional health care and public health systems.

"We decided that the real aspect of our daily lives that we needed to address was ... the ways in which our culture makes it more difficult, not less difficult, to make healthy choices; the ways in which our culture reinforces policies and practices that are not promoting health; and the ways in which our culture defines health very narrowly, rather than broadly, and not in terms of people’s overall well-being," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey said.

The special issue also includes:

Other RWJF-funded articles in the Health Affairs special issue focus on measuring and defining a Culture of Health, including:


Media Contacts

Jordan Reese

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-6322

From The Blog

Measuring What Matters

RWJF's Alonzo Plough introduces the Action Framework and discusses the need to change our culture into one that values health everywhere, for everyone.

Read the blog post

Building a Culture of Health

Accelerating Progress

RWJF is committed to a vision of working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone on America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

Learn more