Corporate Social Responsibility Taking a Stand for Healthy Communities
As a diversified health care benefits company, our strong and enduring sense of corporate social responsibility (CSR) demands that we stand alongside those who are working to improve the health of the communities where we live, work, and play.
That’s why, together with our partners, we launched an ambitious nationwide campaign in 2016 to catalyze cross-sector collaboration and advance innovative solutions to improve community health. The Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge will award $1.5 million in prizes to 50 small and mid-sized U.S. cities and counties that are able to show measurable improvements in health outcomes by implementing novel solutions.
The Challenge is underway, with local teams in 50 communities around the country beginning or expanding the hard work to improve the underlying issues that affect overall public health. For example:
- Tulsa, Oklahoma, is supporting thousands of the city’s most vulnerable residents by transforming a block of abandoned houses into a community garden and orchard, creating a mobile grocery store, cooking healthy meals for seniors, and offering free book and computer centers around town.
- San Diego, California, is empowering residents in high-crime areas to take back their communities, utilizing Walk and Knock programs with local police and neighbors.
- Durham, North Carolina, is focusing on preventive wellness education and population health, with programs to identify people with risk factors for chronic disease, like diabetes, and get these factors under control through healthy lifestyle management programs, such as cooking classes.
The Challenge was designed for participants to share their experiences, best practices, and successful health improvement strategies so that they can be scaled and replicated by other communities.
will award $1.5 million in prizes to 50 small and mid-sized U.S. cities and counties
Turning our vision for a healthier nation into reality requires that we address social determinants of health. A focus of the Healthiest Cities campaign, these determinants are at the root of many public health issues facing communities across the country. In fact, about 90 percent of the factors affecting the risk of premature death exist beyond the scope of a doctor’s office or hospital. Social determinants of health are wide-ranging and can include proximity to fresh fruits and vegetables, the walkability of a city, the affordability of housing, availability of social support networks, access to health care, and the level of violence in a community, for example.
The Healthiest Cities Challenge adds to Aetna’s portfolio of programs that aim to improve community health. These ongoing efforts included the distribution of more than $2 million in grants across the U.S. in 2016, as part of the Cultivating Healthy Communities initiative.
The Aetna Foundation supported the start of 120 community gardens in 2016, helping people gain access to healthful food choices. As a result of the Aetna Foundation Healthy Eating Active Living initiative in 2016: