What is a Culture of Health?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to building a national Culture of Health that enables all in our diverse society to lead healthier lives now and for generations to come. A Culture of Health is broadly defined as one in which good health and well-being flourish across geographic, demographic, and social sectors; fostering healthy equitable communities guides public and private decision making; and everyone has the opportunity to make choices that lead to healthy lifestyles.

The exact definition of a Culture of Health can look very different to different people. A national Culture of Health must embrace a wide variety of beliefs, customs and values. Ultimately it will be as diverse and multifaceted as the population it serves.

Building a Culture of Health

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, President Emerita and Adviser to the President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, discusses the Foundation’s vision of building a Culture of Health in the United States. She describes what a Culture of Health would mean for the nation and how the Foundation envisions achieving this goal.

Culture of Health Action Framework

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has developed an action framework to encompass the principles underlying the vision for a Culture of Health. This action framework will guide the Foundation’s grant making and strategic collaborations.

As can be seen in the model, a Culture of Health will not be achieved by focusing on each action area alone, but by recognizing the interdependence of each area. Implementing the framework will take time and involve collaboration across multiple sectors - beyond the traditional public health field.

It will call for new norms and expectations, knowledge and capacities, and practices and behaviors. It will require a commitment to equity and multi-cultural perspectives, and force hard choices about how to allocate limited resources in new ways.