“I want to congratulate the Spokane County community – including its education, university, health, civic and business leaders – for receiving the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2014 Culture of Health award. Spokane County was one of only six communities from around the country to receive this honor, which recognizes communities that are harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and stakeholders to help residents live healthier lives.
“Educational attainment is clearly linked to both long-term health and economic prospects, and the community knew they had to do better by their kids.
“Back in 2006, Spokane Public Schools had an overall graduation rate of less than 60 percent; the county’s rate was 72.9. Led by Priority Spokane, the community employed a number of innovative programs and saw outstanding results, including increased graduation rates from Spokane Public Schools to 79.5 percent.
“Communities should set their own priorities and they are well suited to respond to the most pressing health concerns. This is exactly what I am hoping to encourage through our Accountable Communities of Health - a significant part of the State Health Care Innovation Plan. Again, I offer my congratulations on this much-deserved award.”