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Published on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

San Antonio Receives RWJF Culture of Health Prize For Efforts to Improve Health and Well-Being

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Recognizes San Antonio for Building a Healthier Future for Residents

CONTACT: Carol Schliesinger, 210.207.8172


San Antonio, TX (Sept. 18, 2018) - San Antonio is one of four winners of the 2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize honors communities for their unwavering efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live healthier lives. 


San Antonio 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, San Antonio’s award-winning efforts include citywide, all-day pre-K, a municipal court that helped decriminalize truancy statewide, and Haven for Hope. The city’s Equity Office puts policies into play to reduce disparities, and the city’s budget prioritizes neighborhoods and populations that historically were marginalized. Individuals in crisis from mental health or substance use disorders receive compassionate support, with SAPD and the Restoration Center diverting them away from jail and into treatment. Finally, judges applauded San Antonio’s wealth of data-driven collaborations for education, teen pregnancy prevention and homelessness.


“For the first time, equity is the lodestar of public policy at City Hall,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “This recognition affirms that we are making real progress for the people of San Antonio, improving public health and expanding equal opportunity to all. We will continue our community collaboration to deliver data-informed results and better health outcomes.”


Richard Besser, MD, RWJF president and CEO, said: “The 2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners understand good health goes far beyond health care and that safe and affordable housing, a strong education, and job creation are also critical elements to a thriving community. These inspiring communities are working to give all residents the opportunity to live well—including those often left behind.”


San Antonio will receive a $25,000 prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities, and have their inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. The other three winning communities are: Cicero, Illinois; Eatonville, Florida, and Klamath County, Oregon.


San Antonio joins Brownsville as the second Texas community to win the distinguished Prize.


To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, San Antonio 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.


“Like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Haven for Hope also believes in strong partnerships and healthy communities. We are honored to be a part of the city of San Antonio and this award,” said Kenny Wilson, CEO Haven for Hope of Bexar County.


Joe Marx, RWJF Director of Program Communications, will join San Antonio leaders at a press conference to discuss their Prize selection on Tuesday, Sept. 18, beginning at 10 a.m. CST at the Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway Street, San Antonio, Texas.


San Antonio will join this year’s other Prize-winning communities at the Culture of Health Prize Celebration and Learning Event at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey on October 9-11.


Learn more about San Antonio’s work, as well as this year’s other Prize winners through a collection of videos, photos, and more at

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Author: Melanie Morales (GPA)

Categories: City News, Health