Population Health Project

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has granted $1 million in additional grant funding to five existing Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) Alliances to connect AF4Q efforts with public health stakeholders to implement policies and systems change efforts that will improve selected social and economic determinants of health identified in the County Health Rankings.

AF4Q communities have demonstrated the power of multi-stakeholder alliances created to pursue shared goals related to improving health care delivery. RWJF is also interested in looking beyond health care to illustrate successful models of multi-stakeholder action that address other factors that influence health.

The two year grant funding started on December 1, 2011 (and runs through November 2013).  Grantees will ensure project sustainability and implement policy changes that will have lasting impacts well past the grant period. Some of the policy and systems changes the Alliances are pursuing include improving the health of school food options, implementing physical activity programs in large businesses, mapping chronic disease rates onto neighborhoods for livable neighborhood advocacy, and systematically changing the way eligible students are linked to higher education scholarships and public health insurance programs.

Participating Alliances will focus on multiple determinants of public health, including:

Focus Area
Healthy Memphis Common Table Diet and Exercise
P2 Collaborative of Western New York, Inc. Diet and Exercise
Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation Diet and Exercise
Minnesota Community Measurement Smoking Cessation
The Alliance for Health (West Michigan) Education
County Health Rankings Inform AF4Q PHP

The County Health Rankings (The Rankings), a collaboration of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) and RWJF, are a collection of reports that rank the health of nearly every county in the nation and show that much of what affects health occurs outside of the doctor's office.  The Rankings confirm the critical role that factors such as education, jobs, income, and environment play in how healthy people are and how long they live.  

The Rankings look at a variety of measures that affect health such as the rate of people dying before age 75, high school graduation rates, access to healthier foods, air pollution levels, income, and rates of smoking, obesity and teen births. The Rankings, based on the latest data available for each county, are unique in their ability to measure the overall health of each county in all 50 states on the multiple factors that influence health.

AF4Q PHP grantees used The Rankings to conduct needs assessments of their communities and are funded to improve outcomes related to many of the social and economic determinants of public health laid out in The Rankings. Many of the AF4Q PHP grantees used UWPHI’s document, “What Works? Policies and Programs to Improve Wisconsin’s Health” for inspiration and ideas for policies and systems changes they will implement in their communities to improve population health.

Background Information for AF4Q PHP

University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s County Health Rankings

Robert Wood Johnson/UWPHI Roadmaps to Health Community Grants

What Works? Policies and Programs to Improve Wisconsin’s Health

Media Coverage
  • Western New York's "Healthy Start, Health Future for All" Population Health Project (PHP) was featured in a news article on work being done at a Elementary School 7 in Dunkirk, NY to improve the diet and exercise routine of students. At Dunkirk and 9 other schools in the region the Rural Health Network, a PHP partner organization, is implementing its Fit & Fun program that includes a variety of student and community engagement strategies to achieve project goals. See the article link for more information on their progress and early successes. Read More.

 Bridging the Gap Between Health Care and Population Health - Sept. 19-20, 2013


For more information about AF4Q PHP, e-mail project staff at pophealth@forces4quality.org.