"A Can-Do Attitude and a Passion to Make Their Community Healthier"

Why Gonzales Was Chosen from Nearly 200 Communities for the National RWJF Prize

Gonzales is one of five winners of the 2019 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize honors and elevates communities for working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity.

Gonzales was chosen from nearly 200 communities across the country for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Over the past decade, that's led to real progress on youth engagement, economic development, health care access, and sustainability.

 “The 2019 RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners recognize that health is about more than just healthcare. It’s about what happens where we live, work, learn, and play. They are fundamentally reshaping their communities so that everyone has a fair opportunity for health and well-being,” said Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of RWJF.

“These communities show the nation that solutions are within our grasp when we use local data to identify challenges and work together to implement solutions brought forward by residents.”

The Foundation's web story on the Prize cites The Gonzales Way:

"Residents describe the Gonzales Way as a genuine feeling that they can be a force for improving well-being in their community. It’s heralded on banners hanging from streetlights and matter-of-factly mentioned in conversation by people who have lived there all their lives or just moved to town... Gonzales reflects how a small community can tap the insight and power of its residents to create change and expand opportunities."

Two farmworkers in Gonzales CA

Gonzales receives a $25,000 prize, joins a network of Prize-winning communities, and will have its inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. The other four winning communities are: Broward County, Fla.; Greenville County, S.C.; Lake County, Colo; and Sitka, Alaska.

To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Gonzales had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six 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.
  • Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members. 
  • Securing and making the most of available resources. 
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results. 

(Photos used courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, copyright 2019 Josh Kohanek.)


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