The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Healthy Community Award

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Healthy Community Award recognizes a successful community- based effort to address the health of a low-to-moderate income neighborhood in the Chicago metropolitan area through creative and collaborative strategies.

Given the extraordinary work that community-based organizations and community health providers have done to stand on the front lines the past few years during the pandemic and other health challenges, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Healthy Community Award welcomes creativity, innovation, and compassion in holding together communities and keeping Chicago well and lifted.

The environments in which people live, work, learn, and play have a tremendous impact on their physical, behavioral and mental health. The greatest health challenges in communities today are complex and interconnected. Medical services, while vitally important, are only one factor in improving the health of a community. Also vital are understanding and addressing the social and economic determinants of health, such as economic status, educational attainment, race, gender, and neighborhood characteristics. Therefore, improving the health of a community requires a holistic view and coordinated approach to community development that supports healthy behaviors and outcomes.

This award will celebrate the work of a successful place-based initiative that is improving the health of residents and/or the environment of a community in a way that contributes to an improvement in overall community health, creatively responding to immediate community health challenges. The award will recognize efforts that take a “Health in all Policies” approach to community development; an effort that plans and implements specific policies, programs, and processes that focus on improving the health of a community with attention to equity, collaboration, and sustainability.

Applicants will be evaluated by the engagement of neighborhood partners, residents, and institutions, in informing and leading work that reflects innovative approaches to improving the health and well-being of their community. Nominated programs should also demonstrate an understanding of the multi-dimensional factors that contribute to risky behaviors and health outcomes and incorporates these perspectives into the community strategies.

The Award is $15,000.