Duke-Margolis and Community Partners Receive Aetna Foundation "Spotlight" Award Honorable Mention

January 31, 2018
Healthiest Cities and Counties Spotlight Award

The Aetna Foundation today announced 10 community health programs nationwide that are receiving their newly-launched “Spotlight Award.” The award is part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge (the Challenge), an initiative launched in 2016 that supports 50 small-to-midsize cities and counties that are implementing innovative solutions to pressing public health issues in their communities. Along with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Aetna Foundation selected these 50 programs because of their ability to tackle social determinants of health (SDoH) that frequently lead to chronic health issues.

Duke-Margolis and community partners, Durham County Department of Public Health and the Cabarrus Health Alliance, make up the North Carolina Healthiest Counties Cross-Sector Team.  The project uses a multi-faceted approach through several community-based programs underway in both counties led by health department partners, a longstanding Duke University School of Medicine presence in Cabarrus County, and Duke University initiative to improve population health and payment reform to improve population health and health equity in both Cabarrus and Durham Counties. Specifically, we address nutrition/food insecurity, physical activity, tobacco use, integrating physical activity “prescriptions” into clinical care and piloting healthcare delivery and payment reform via community health workers. In each of these major areas, we will track performance measures linked to population health and identify new steps to support them through payment reform.

The team has received a $10,000 prize as Honorable Mention awardees to help accelerate and advance their work.

Through the Challenge, $1.5 million in prizes will be awarded to cities and counties that are able to show measurable improvements in health outcomes over the course of several years through cross-sector partnerships. The Challenge is designed to enable participants to share successful health improvement strategies with other communities.

“Since the Challenge launched, we have seen numerous improvements and advancements in the health of the 50 participating communities,” said APHA executive director Georges C. Benjamin, MD. “The Spotlight Awards are a moment to showcase the innovative work being done in cities and counties to address social determinants of health.”

The goal of the Spotlight Award is to highlight early success stories from participants that have demonstrated significant progress since the launch of the Challenge. The selected programs have identified creative partnerships and enacted programs that address the unique health issues facing their communities in meaningful ways.

In 2016, the Challenge chose 50 cities and counties as HealthyCommunity50 members based on their plans to improve local health outcomes. The HealthyCommunity50 continue to compete for overall Challenge prize awards ranging from $25,000 - $500,000. Participants will be judged on their own progress and will not be competing against each other. 

For more information, visit our project web page.