A supporter gives her endorsement to healthy homes in Des Moines, Iowa. Des Moines is one of the 50 communities selected for healthy programming seed money in the ongoing Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. Photo courtesy Aetna Foundation

A supporter gives her endorsement to healthy homes in Des Moines, Iowa. Des Moines is one of the 50 communities selected for healthy programming seed money in the ongoing Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. Photo courtesy Aetna Foundation

Now that its 50 grantees have been named and awarded, the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge is moving forward at full tilt, with new and existing programs beginning to thrive in communities across the country.

A collaboration among APHA, the Aetna Foundation, National Association of Counties and CEOs for Cities, the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge is an initiative to award the programs and people making a difference and working across sectors to build healthier communities. With more than 100 cities, counties, tribal communities, universities and organizations applying for grant funding, 50 communities were chosen to receive $10,000 seed grants to fund their proposed programs in October. The communities span the country and cover everything from helping kids form healthy habits to building home-based asthma intervention programs to pushing residents to walk or bike more.

As the challenge continues, the grantees will be evaluated for their effectiveness, sustainability and replicability through a partnership with Rand. The National Partnership for Women and Families will provide support for community engagement, said JeVonna Ephraim, project manager for the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge at APHA. At the end of the challenge, in late 2018, grand prizes of $500,000 and $250,000 will be awarded to large and small communities, respectively. Four runners-up in each ranking will receive smaller supplemental grants of $50,000 and $25,000.

To continue reading this story from the May 2017 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.