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  • Private-public partnership secures grant to boost physical activity

    May 09, 2013 | Read More News
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    The Arizona Business Coalition on Health has been awarded a nearly $50,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and United Health Foundation to improve health among Pima County residents through increased physical activity.  Pantano River Park

    Through a program of the National Business Coalition on Health, the award will provide the Coalition and its partners with resources to engage employers, community organizations and local health systems in a community health and wellness summit this summer to develop a plan to increase physical activity.

    “Our focus will be on how to engage all of Pima County – including employees, dependents, seniors, youth and neighborhoods – in increased physical activity,” said Larry Aldrich, executive director of the Coalition. “While Tucson is known for its healthy lifestyles and walkable communities, there is still great opportunity for improving health and reducing chronic disease through increased physical activity. This grant will help launch us into an even more active and healthy future for all residents.”

    In collaboration with the Pima County Health Department, the Coalition will work with partner organizations to identify best practices for increasing physical activity leading up to a Health and Wellness Summit in August 2013. The goal of the summit is to produce a plan to improve health through increased physical activity while also developing a model that will connect ongoing health planning efforts throughout the County.

    From the County’s perspective, the project builds on ongoing investments in providing opportunities for healthier lifestyles, from linear parks to the Urban Loop System, a 55-mile continuous path around metropolitan Tucson that draws walkers, joggers and cyclists. It also continues the work done from 2010- 2012 when the County and several partners received the fourth largest award in the United States, at $16 million, under the federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work program.

    “The Pima County Health Department is eager to work with the business community and community partners on the launch and implementation of this important initiative that will involve employers, health care professionals, elected officials and other stakeholders in a collaborative effort to improve the health and wellness of all Pima County residents,” said Pima County Public Health Director Francisco García.

    Reed Tuckson, MD, senior advisor for United Health Foundation, added, “Supporting and nurturing businesses to engage with their communities to identify and address priority local health issues is the first step in solving them. We believe that these partnerships, supported by the combined efforts of the United Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, will produce real, meaningful health enhancements."

    The Coalition will use information from existing health assessments to identify measures that will best evaluate progress towards achieving the community health planning objectives produced by the planning effort. In addition, participating members in the Summit will be asked to commit to a specific activity to encourage increased physical activity among their employees or in their communities.

    ”The road to better health for our towns, counties, states and the nation is paved with collaboration,” said Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, Team Director and Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We can make significant progress on the health problems we face if the business community and leaders in public health, government, education, philanthropy and other sectors work together. These new grants will help inspire the changes we know need to happen to improve health.”

    About the Arizona Business Coalition on Health
    The mission of the Arizona Business Coalition on Health is to empower our employer members to transform the delivery of health and health care services. This will lead to a better quality of life for our citizens and will provide a better business climate for all current and future employers (public and private) in our regions and State. For additional information visit

    About the National Business Coalition on Health
    NBCH is a national, non-profit, membership organization of purchaser-led business and health coalitions, representing over 7,000 employers and 25 million employees and their dependents across the United States. NBCH and its members are dedicated to value-based purchasing of health care services through the collective action of public and private purchasers. For additional information visit:

    About The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. Follow the Foundation on Twitter ( or Facebook (

    About the United Health Foundation
    Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities.
The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being of communities. After its establishment by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $200 million to improve health and health care. For additional information, please visit

    NBCH Media Contact: Cary Conway
    Email:;  Telephone: 972-731-9242

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Media Contact: Christine Clayton
    Email:; Telephone: 609-627-5937

    United Health Foundation Media Contact: Lauren Mihajlov
    Email:; Telephone: 952-936-3068