Welcome to the Challenge

We believe a healthy city/county is economically competitive, inclusive and equitable. That's why we've called on cities and counties across the country to join the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. The Challenge is a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties and administered by CEOs For Cities. The partnership empowers small to mid-size U.S. cities and counties to create a positive health impact.

We're awarding more than $1.5 million in prizes to cities, counties and federally recognized tribes most able to show measurable changes in health and wellness over the next several years.

Place Matters: Making the United States the Healthiest Nation, Community By Community (Aetna Foundation CEO Garth Graham and APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin speak out in Health Affairs)

Healthy Cities and Counties:

  • Promote healthy behaviors.
  • Focus on community safety.
  • Provide abundant space where people can work, live and play.
  • Enable people to have enjoyable social experiences, and ample work.
  • Are clear of pollutants and provide communities with access to healthy food and clean water.


Over 400 applicants have started applications to be participants of the Challenge, and 50 finalists will be named in mid-September. Already, six innovative cities and counties are demonstrating what communities can achieve when they work together. As early adopters of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, these coalitions of city and county officials, consumer groups and many others are working together to improve the health of their communities.

Learn more about what the six Innovator Cities and Counties are doing in their communities:

  • Cleveland (working to reduce youth cigarette smoking rates)
  • Durham and Cabarrus Counties (creating healthy habits among residents)
  • Kansas City (treating the behavior of violence as a curable disease)
  • New Haven (reducing asthma risk among children in low-income families)
  • San Diego (offering more opportunities to live safely and achieve better health)
  • Tulsa (building better access to fresh, locally grown produce)

Questions about the Challenge? Email hccc@ceosforcities.org or call Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Director Debbie Nadzam at 216-523-7348.

And read about the Challenge in APHA's newspaper, The Nation's Health.