Lake County Receives RWJF Culture of Health Prize 


For Impressive Efforts to Create a Thriving Community 


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Recognizes Lake County for Building a Healthier Future for All Residents 


(November 12, 2019) Lake County 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. 


Lake County is being nationally recognized for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Chosen from nearly 200 applicant communities across the country, Lake County’s award-winning efforts include initiatives such as Get Outdoors Leadville! and the Youth Master Plan. The community has worked tirelessly to ensure efforts are governed by collaboration, data, and resident input. Lake County is improving college and career readiness through a dual-enrollment program at a local college, implementing restorative justice in the school system, and supporting homegrown businesses. Through training, leadership opportunities, and inclusive practices such as removing language barriers, the community is making it easier for residents to advocate for themselves in a way that is most meaningful to them. 


“At the heart of all of this work is a belief that we have the right people in our community to build our economy, create amazing schools for our youth, and develop a more healthy and equitable community, said Katie Baldassar, Lake County Build a Generation Director. “Our best community investment has been to provide opportunities and support for the many amazing people doing the work—and this award is further recognition of their efforts.”

“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.” Lake County will receive a $25,000 prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities, and have its inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. The other four winning communities are: Broward County, Fla.; Gonzales, Calif.; Greenville County, S.C.; and Sitka, Alaska. Lake County is the first community in Colorado to win the distinguished Prize. To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Lake County 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.

“This award is for all of the Lake County Community members, partners, and leaders who continue to show up and shape our community,” said Colleen Nielsen, Director of the Lake County Public Health Agency. “It recognizes that Lake County is headed in the right direction to ensure that our community is a place where all residents can achieve their greatest health, regardless of neighborhood, ethnicity, or income.” A delegation of six community leaders from Lake County is currently at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation along with representatives from the other 2019 Prize-winning communities. All communities are being honored as part of the Prize Celebration and Learning Event at RWJF headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey.

Learn about the Prize-winning work underway in Lake County through a collection of videos, written profiles and photos at

Lake County Build a Generation, the Lake County Public Health Agency and Lake County School District led the application process, with the help of many other agencies and community members in Lake County.


About Lake County Build a Generation
Lake County Build a Generation is building a movement for community health and well-being in Lake County, Colorado. We bring local residents together to address the issues that matter most to all of us, such as food, housing and health care.

About the Lake County Public Health Agency
The Lake County Public Health Agency’s vision is to empower our Lake County community in making healthy choices where we live, work, learn and play. We do this through our direct service programming as well as collaborating with community partners to effect positive change for Lake County. For more information, please visit

About the Lake County School District
The Lake County School District challenges students to reach their fullest potential through personal, engaged and rigorous learning in the classroom and beyond. For more information, please visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health. A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those in academia and those in the policy and practice arena. The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. For more information, visit