Healthy Community Culture
Chambers of commerce are known for championing opportunities to raise the quality of life for their residents, as their members prosper from such opportunities. These organizations—which typically represent diverse sectors of the community, including business, non-profit, education, and health and government entities—are uniquely poised to serve as community health intermediaries that can offer opportunities for their members to participate in health and wellness events, programs, councils, or other initiatives. By creating a healthy community culture, chambers of commerce can ensure economic vitality and equitable prosperity, fulfilling its community’s vision. Download the EAD's Frameworks Toolkit for more talking points on Healthy Community Culture initiatives: Championing Health and Wellness - Frameworks for Chambers of Commerce.
Chambers Leading Healthy Community Culture Initiatives
See all examples of Health & Wellness Initiatives in ACCE's Samples Library
or view highlighted resources listed below.
- The Asheville Area (NC) Chamber of Commerce began a tradition of community health with their "Chamber Challenge" 5k Race event held early summer each year. The team-based Chamber Challenge is designed to promote community wellness through friendly competition between businesses. The chamber is also starting their first "Winter Walk" in 2016 as part of their Chamber Challenge Series for health and wellness with a winter hike in Western NC. View the 2016 Winter Walk poster example and the Health and Wellness Events Sponsorship opportunities example. See also the chamber's full sponsorship opportunities guide (2016 example).
- The Billings (MT) Chamber of Commerce began work on its Trails Initiative in 2009 and the goal is to develop the area's trail system for the economic and healthy community benefits that result from active transportation (to work and school and for leisure). The Chamber has worked with many partners and trail enthusiasts in the community for 3 long term objectives to support a marathon trail, maintenance of existing trails, and provide directional and interpretative signage and trail amenities. The Chamber was a Category 3 Winner, 2015 Chamber of the Year, and the Trails and Heritage Initiative synopsis describes the project and their role as leader in the Billings Trails Committee.
- The Castle Rock (CO) Chamber of Commerce hosts the Healthy Living Expo, a free family-friendly event that features companies, health organizations and nonprofits, as well as a 5K race, health screenings, demonstrations, kids activities and entertainment, to encourage the community to live a healthy life.
- The Charlotte (NC) Chamber of Commerce organizes the Healthy Charlotte Council, which focuses on making Charlotte nationally recognized for its healthy initiatives and robust health services industry. The Council focuses on three key areas, including physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation. By leveraging the power of the business community to drive change, the Council seeks to help Charlotte achieve a top 10 ranking in the American Fitness Index by 2018. In March 2018, General Electric awarded Healthy Charlotte $125,000 to support the continued growth of the program.
- The Chattanooga Area (TN) Chamber of Commerce launched Thrive 2055 as a strategic visioning initiative to engage the people of the Chattanooga region in creating an action plan to make the most of their economic opportunities while preserving what they love about their home communities. After an intensive public engagement process, four regional priorities were defined: economic development, education, transportation, and the protection of the region's natural treasures. Thrive 2055 determined that by keeping these priorities in balance the people of the region would always live healthy, fulfilled lives with access to the wealth of natural and cultural resources. The Chattanooga Chamber was a Finalist in ACCE's 2016 Regional Innovation Award.
- The Greater Chambersburg (PA) Chamber of Commerce serves as a partner of Healthy Franklin County which is a collective impact effort with the goal of aligning resources and working together to improve the health and well-being of Franklin County residents and focuses on early childhood education, mental health, wellbeing, access to healthcare, nutrition, and employability. A 2016 survey showed that obesity and depression are key issues in the community.
- The Greater Kansas (MO) City Chamber of Commerce launched Healthy KC, a metro-wide health and wellness initiative that focuses on nutrition, physical activity, tobacco cessation, workplace wellness, and behavioral health, which includes the Tobacco 21|KC initiative to aid in tobacco cessation of its community's youth population and Resilient KC to raise awareness of the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), create a resilient community, and collect ACEs and resiliency data from the Kansas City region.
- The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Wellness Council of Indiana partnered with organizations across sectors to create the Indiana Healthy Community Initiative which works to combat Indiana’s growing obesity rate. The initiative focuses on developing citizen engagement, adopting policies that support health and wellness at work and in the community, and cultivating strong leadership by local businesses. The project won a Healthy10 Award in 2017 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
- The Greater Keene (NH) Chamber of Commerce works closely with Healthy Monadnock 2020, a community engagement initiative designed to foster and sustain a positive culture of health throughout Cheshire County and the Monadnock region, and make the region the healthiest in the country. Their vision and goal is to have the Monadnock region be the healthiest community in the nation by increasing healthy living, acting living, educational attainment, income and jobs, conditions and skills that support mental well-being, access to quality healthcare, and social connections.
- The Longview (TX) Chamber of Commerce has a purpose statement of "Leading People, Leading Prosperity" and that includes building a culture of health in their community. This case study Tomorrow’s Workforce is on the Playground Today (Sept. 2018) highlights the work in a two-prong approach focusing on children and community health.
- The Greater Madison (WI) Chamber of Commerce is focusing on strengthening the Health Sector and launched the HealthTech Capitol website as part of an initiative dedicated to establishing Greater Madison as the best place to start and grow health technology companies. The initiative was designed to help health tech companies leverage the area’s density of talent, capital and mentoring.
- The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce launched its Healthcare Initiative in 2006, and it has grown into a regional collaboration between employers, health systems, and insurers promoting worksite wellness, a regional health information exchange, and implementation of Lean Six Sigma practices in area hospitals. The chamber is also a partner in the regional blood pressure collaborative, which created the nation's first community high blood pressure registry, and has kept the county BP control rate at 40 percent better than the national average. The Rochester Chamber was a winner of ACCE's 2016 Regional Innovation Award.
- The Iowa City (IA) Area Chamber of Commerce supported the launch of the Iowa Blue Zones Project, a community well-being improvement initiative, to make the city a better place to live, work and play. The initiative encourages residents to adopt the Power 9, which is nine healthy lifestyle habits that help them live longer, healthier and happier lives. Learn how to help your community by registering your organization with the Blue Zone Project here.
- The JAX (FL) Chamber convenes the JAX Chamber Health Council, a 150 member-led council, which organizes various subcommittees to promote best practices that enable Chamber businesses to optimize the health and well-being of their workforce and community.
- The Lodi (CA) Chamber of Commerce's Vision 2020 calls upon its residents to make Lodi a wonderful place to live and work by promoting collaborative strategies to improve business and community health, emphasizing how the two go hand in hand.
- The Mason City (IA) Chamber of Commerce was named a certified Blue Zone Community (geographically defined area where people live measurably longer) following a rigorous certification process involving North Iowa area employers, schools, and citizens. The project, which takes an environmental approach to improve total wellbeing, focuses on optimizing settings where community members spend the most time to encourage healthy behavior. One such focus on worksites led to a 15 percent improvement in worker well-being as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI). The Mason City Chamber was a winner of ACCE's 2016 Regional Innovation Award.
- The Meadowlands (NJ) Regional Chamber of Commerce's Healthcare Committee serves as the Chamber’s overall strategic plan by enhancing value proposition for members, helping members operate more productively and profitably, and assisting members in saving money in the areas of healthcare insurance, health, safety and wellness. The Committee’s 2013-2014 Health & Wellness Resource Guide, a comprehensive annual for Chamber members, is guide for what area businesses should know related to the Affordable Care Act, employee wellness and health care reform.
- The Miramar-Pembroke Pines (FL) Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts several community-building health-related events, including their Health Wellness & Lifestyle Senior Senior Expo, and networking events for healthcare professionals and regional physicians.
- The Olathe (KS) Chamber of Commerce manages and organizes the Garmin Marathon. The Olathe Sports Commission, a department of the Chamber. The Commission's vision is "to make Olathe a recreational sports destination."
- The Prince William (VA) County Chamber of Commerce’s Health and Wellness Council promotes wellness by connecting businesses with available preventative measures and health improvement services.
- The Santa Rosa (CA) Chamber of Commerce is a key partner of the Health Action: A 2020 Vision for Sonoma County, which is a collective impact initiative to make Sonoma County the healthiest county.
- The Saratoga County (NY) Chamber of Commerce launched the Chamber's #healthysaratoga movement in 2014 to ensure Saratoga County is one of the healthiest places to live.
- Traverse City (MI) Chamber of Commerce formed a Healthcare Committee to identify and articulate the local business issues related to health care and establish appropriate policy guidelines for the Chamber to address those issues.
- The Traverse City Chamber also created a Prevention Means Business Infographic, illustrating how investing in health, both in the workplace and community, reduces health care costs, improves productivity, and makes businesses stronger.
- The Greater Waco (TX) Chamber of Commerce works collaboratively with Prosper Waco and their collective impact model which model brings together key leaders and organizations in the areas of education, health and financial security and works to bring about measurable and sustainable change in the community, focusing on a number of initiatives, from ready to learn, K-12 and college success, work readiness, well women, work health and wellness programs, and community health.
→ See even more examples of chambers engaging in Healthy Community Culture programs
ACCE’s Education Attainment Division
hosted the following presentations:
- Championing Health and Wellness: Three Approaches for Chambers webinar (September 2016) discusses how strategic investments in health and wellness can improve economic outcomes, workforce readiness, and quality of life for residents in your community. This webinar held on September 19, 2016 featured a discussion about how a chamber can utilize three key strategies (see handout) to build sustainable health and wellness initiatives that boost regional economic competitiveness. Learn about sample messaging that engages business leaders and community stakeholders and also about chamber-led best practices that improve children’s health, workplace wellness and community health. Speakers: Sarah Melby - Director of Information & Research, and Rich Hadley - Education Attainment Division Consultant
- Boost Wellness and Transform Talent webinar (March 2016) discusses how a health and wellness agenda advances a community’s education and economic development agenda, making a community more economically competitive. It also discusses how chambers of commerce are implementing three civic approaches, including a Healthy Community Culture approach, to elevate a balanced health and wellness agenda while improving their 21st century talent pipeline. From ACCE’s Education Attainment Division. Handout available here.
Convention & Seminar Resources
- Chambers: Catalysts for Healthy, Prosperous Communities Audio (mp3) and Presentation (PDF) - from the 2018 ACCE Annual Convention
- Healthy Workforce, Healthy Community - Presentation from the ACCE 2017 Annual Convention in Nashville.
- Creating a Culture of Health Within Your Community - Presentation by Christy Huston, CCE, IOM, Executive Director, Indiana Chamber Foundation, Indiana Chamber of Commerce; Mary Manner, Great Start Coordinator, Venture North Funding, Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce (Mich.); Meg Schneider, IOM, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Greater Des Moines Partnership (Iowa). From the 2016 ACCE Annual Convention.
- ACCE's Resources:
- The American Planning Association's (APA) Healthy Community Design Toolkit helps planners, public health professionals, and the general public include health in the community planning process.
- The Center for Active Design is a non-profit organization that uses design to foster healthy and engaged communities, and provides Case Studies and other Publications to inspire Active Design, which is an evidence-based approach to development that identifies urban planning and architecture solutions to support healthy communities. They also have a Toolkit for Building Healthy Places.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) healthy communities resources:
- The 500 Cities Project is a joint effort of RWJF, the CDC Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 500 Cities data provide an easy-to-use picture of unhealthy behaviors, health outcomes and use of preventive services at a level of detail not available before for the nation’s 500 largest cities. These cities represent a third of the total U.S. population.
- Healthy Community Design Initiative (also known as the Built Environment and Health Initiative) houses a variety of online resources to create healthy places that improve the quality of life for all people who live, work, worship, learn, and play within its borders.
- The Colorado Health Foundation produced a report in July 2016 titled Where Health Happens: Health Begins Where Coloradans Live, Learn, Work and Play and shows that social and physical conditions have a significant impact on our health. The report's press release provides a summary of five key factors that impact overall health, including: Education and health are connected; As the income gap widens, health disparities increase; Access to fresh food is a must for good health; Adequate housing creates a sense of well-being and security; and How we get around (driving, biking, walking or taking public transit) impacts our health.
- The County Health and Ranking & Roadmaps program offers an online Action Center that provides step-by-step guidance, which includes interactive resources and tools, to help make communities healthier.
- The Cullman (AL) Area Chamber of Commerce supported the Complete Streets Public Forum (June 2016) and walking tour to provide insight into new transportation possibilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit. The forum was done under the the guidance of the Complete Streets Project and Smart Growth America's Healthy Communities and People strategy.
- The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index serves as "the Dow Jones of health, giving a daily measure of people's wellbeing at the close of every day." Read how the Index methodology works here.
- Health.gov, HealthFinder.gov, and HealthyPeople.gov are a trio of governement sites from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) for information and tools to improve the health of all Americans.
- Healthy People 2020's goals are to: Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death; Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups; Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all; and Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.
- The HERO Health non-profit organization offers Research, Publications, and a Scorecard, which is designed to help organizations learn about best practices for promoting workplace health and well-being, and to discover opportunities to improve and measure progress over time.
- The Hudson Institute's Obesity Solutions Initiative, which brings about practical, market-oriented solutions to the world’s overweight and obesity epidemic, produced the Lower-Calorie Foods - It’s Just Good Business report (February 2013). The report found that restaurants that grew their servings of lower-calorie foods and beverages delivered better business results.
- The National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH) produced this guide Community Health Partnerships: Tools and Information for Development and Support to aid in the collaborative steps of developing community health programs. Includes guidelines for successful partnerships, opportunities for business community collaboration, and lessons in collaboration with constituents.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) posted Community Health is a Business Issue. Here’s Why. (Dec. 2015), an article that presents the business case for community health. The article highlights that unhealthy workers are likely to be located in counties with unhealthy populations giving proof point that community health is critical to the health of the workforce — and the health of the economy.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Leaders program is a national leadership development program designed to connect leaders from across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to collaborate and develop strategies to promote healthier communities.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health Prize recognizes communities that are working to improve health for all residents. Applicants can compete to receive a $25,000 cash prize and the chance to share their accomplishments with the nation.
- The Society for Resource Human Management (SHRM) discusses a new study from the nonprofit Health Enhancement Research Organization that suggests a correlation between comprehensive, best-practice wellness programs and corporate stock performance in their Workplace Wellness Linked with Superior Corporate Performance article (January 2016).
- The Trust for America's Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released F as in Fat Infographic How Obesity Threatens America’s Future (August 2013), which includes an interactive map with state-specific statistics about the economic impact of obesity.
- PolicyLink's Equity Tools includes resources on Health Equity and Place with individual toolkits on: Access to Healthy Food, Equitable Food Hubs, Grocery Stores, Corner Stores, Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens, Local Food Procurement, and Farmers' Markets.
- What Counts for America: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities, a book that outlines opportunities and challenges related to gathering, analyzing, and using data to understand what actually works for communities, includes a chapter called The County Health Rankings: A Treasure Trove of Data, authored by Bridget Catlin, that serves as a how-to guide for using county health ranking data.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation surveyed leading obesity prevention organizations to compare their approaches, and assess the roles that stakeholders play, and shared their findings in the Navigating Obesity: A Road Map for Prevention report (2013). This research highlights the commonalities and gaps between these approaches and sets out a unified vision for how stakeholders in the United States should tackle obesity.
- Good Health is Good Business: Chambers Lead the Way on Community Health and Wellness, by multiple authors, Chamber Executive magazine, Fall 2016
- Communities Built for Active Living Have Healthier Residents - Gallup studied the walkability, bike-ability, transit infrastructure, and park infrastructure of 48 U.S. communities. Article provides examples of community policies and programs that have made it easier for their residents to live healthier lives. Gallup Business Journal (October 2016)
- Obesity, Smoking Damage U.S. Economy - The Gallup Business Journal presents 2016 stats on Americans' well-being that shows there is much room for improvement: Obesity up in U.S. since 2008; more than one in six still smoke; Obesity and smoking negatively affect the U.S. economy; However, good news among millennials, obesity and smoking are down, exercise is up. (September 2016)
- What's the Value of Exercise? $2500 - A study looked at a randomized group of 26,239 people ages 18 and up and found that those with heart disease might save, on average, $2,500 a year if they just work out five days a week. Healthy people with no heart problems might save an average of $500 a year on medical costs if they make time for the recommended levels of exercise, according to the report. (September 2016)
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