About the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge

3 women smiling and displaying certificatesRedesigning inequitable systems that affect health is a multifaceted endeavor that requires diligence and dedication from a variety of sectors. The strategies, partnerships and initiatives that need to be activated to cultivate healthier communities, must be responsive to the intersection of each community’s racial, economic, educational and other social factors. Additionally, placing community engagement at the forefront of the decision-making processes is necessary to meet local health needs. Recognizing the importance of cross-sector collaboration and community leadership in advancing health equity and preventing chronic diseases, the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge (HCCC) was created.

The American Public Health Association, with funding from the Aetna Foundation, worked in partnership with the National Association of Counties and Healthy Places by Design to support 20 communities across 11 states to address local health challenges through the Challenge. The HCCC aimed to accelerate systems-level approaches to curate collaborative and community-led initiatives that improve community health.

Cities and counties, in this second iteration of the Challenge, received grant funds and technical assistance over a two year time span so that they could increase access to foods that support healthy eating patterns and improve access to health services.

These communities worked across sectors, resulting in powerful, sustainable approaches that helped advance health equity. Interested in learning about what authentic community engagement and multi-sector partnerships can look like in your community? Explore the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge's NEW health equity tool! This resource features six interactive stories that highlight the approaches and impacts of these 20 diverse communities. Learn about their collaborative, community-led strategies and advance health equity in your own community.

Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge grantees reflect on what peer learning means to them and how they have engaged in the initiative's peer learning network

What does resilience look like? Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge participants respond

Hear how our communities are advancing health equity

Going Beyond Public Health 3.0

Challenge team members Brittany Perrotte and Arianne Noorestani's opinion editorial, "Going beyond Public Health 3.0: How flexible funding streams can help to break down silos, change systems and advance health equity in local communities," published in the American Journal of Public Health, explores how flexible funding streams can support multisector strategies that address local public health challenges, social determinants of health and health equity.

Read the paper and learn more about how funders of systems change can advance equity.

The Challenge in the News