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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Case Study


The Challenge

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) helps to shape key initiatives to improve health for individuals, families and communities nationwide. RWJF imagines a culture that empowers people to live the healthiest lives they can, whether they are young or old, or have chronic limiting conditions. The Foundation and its partners seek to transform the definition of a healthy nation and connect professionals who affect their communities in many ways, and see how they can contribute to change toward a culture of health in their communities.

RWJF is committed to investigating and defining a national “Culture of Health.” To support the Foundation’s vision, RWJF determined the need to build a strategy to support measurable, sustainable action to improve health in the United States. The Foundation sought to engage community and professional leaders in a discussion about what they think contributes to a community’s recognition of its health and wellness for everyone.

The Solution

In 2014, CSI designed and conducted two comprehensive projects using almost identical questions to ask two different populations to help enrich the understanding of a measurable Culture of Health. Both of these populations were important partners and potential collaborators in spreading the expectation of a culture of health nationally. The first project, a pilot, captured the voice of community leaders and decision makers. The second project was an inquiry to specific national professional associations. The emergent conceptual framework helped lay the foundation for a network of partners to encourage, from their own perspectives, a national Culture of Health. In 2015, building on the strategic learnings and outcomes of both project findings, RWJF and CSI expanded their efforts to engage additional national professional associations’ membership in a Group Concept Map. Additional planning components for the projects included targeted recruitment, in-person and virtual focus groups, and survey and interview protocol development and implementation.

The Results

Though this unique process, both initiatives were able to yield conceptual framework and related reports, based on disparate points of view, strategic recommendations of the community, professional, foundation and systemic levels. Using Group Concept Mapping in this project resulted in strong and inclusive frameworks for a culture of health, from two perspectives. Active participation across both populations stimulated new learnings about community health and wellbeing as well as new networking pathways to support their own work. The resulting conceptual maps that emerged from participant data depicts areas of focus, each which contain specific ideas contributed by participants as to what shapes health and wellbeing in a community.

Through this multi-year effort and building on the findings from the two emergent conceptual maps, RWJF expanded their efforts to reach additional national professional associations. Both RWJF staff and leadership have commented on the utility of the study results. The study findings will be used to complement other RWJF initiatives, such as measurement development and identification of allies and partners that actively share the vision of community health and wellbeing.


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