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ICHD a HealthyCommunity50 member in Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge

LANSING, Mich. – Ingham County has been selected as one of 50 members of the HealthyCommunity50 in the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to receive a $10,000 community seed award. By participating in the Challenge, Ingham County is in the running to receive a prize that will support their local program.

The Challenge, a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties, launched in April during National Public Health Week. The Challenge will award $1.5 million in prizes to small and mid-sized cities, counties and federally-recognized tribes that are able to show measurable change over the course of several years working with cross-sector partnerships to implement health innovations and data-driven solutions. Hundreds of city governments, local municipalities, health departments, educational institutions and other public/private entities applied to be a part of the Challenge.

The HealthyCommunity50 were chosen based on plans to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five domains: Healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures.

Through the Challenge, Ingham County will work with multi-unit housing property managers to help buildings and tenants go smoke-free. This aligns with a mandate expected from HUD at the end of the month. It is anticipated that all subsidized housing must ban smoking sometime in summer 2017.

“Smoke harms everyone. When someone in an apartment building smokes, everyone is affected, whether they realize it or not,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “A smoke-free policy encourages smokers to quit, discourages young people from starting and stops harmful secondary exposure.”

“At the Aetna Foundation, we’re seeking to reward innovation for communities implementing new ways to improve health outcomes,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation. “We want the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to serve as a catalyst for collaboration in local communities around the country working to move the needle in combating health disparities.”

All selected HealthyCommunity50 members will be visited by an expert judge panel to answer questions, understand the community’s approach to the project first-hand and speak with the members of the cross-sector team and key stakeholders. At the conclusion of the Challenge, the programs most able to show measurable change will be eligible for prize awards from $25,000 - $500,000. Participants will be judged on their own progress and will not be competing against each other. For more information, visit