Designation Criteria

The Healthy Communities Designation program has a tiered designation approach (i.e., Gold, Silver, and Bronze level designations) intended to allow for the acknowledgment of communities early on in their broad health improvement efforts, as well as of those communities with more advanced, comprehensive, and long-lasting efforts.


In order to earn a designation, communities must demonstrate that they are following the guiding principles below. The guiding principles reflect the criteria from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize and have been modified for this designation program. While the two programs are unrelated, it is our hope that the Wisconsin Healthy Communities Designation offers an additional way for communities to be recognized for progress on their local efforts.

1. Using a broad definition of health to engage in efforts to address locally identified health needs (ideally those identified in community health needs assessments conducted by the local health department and/or local hospitals). This includes the following:

a. Identifying needs/initiatives in more than one of the following health categories: health behaviors, clinical care, social & economic factors, and physical environment.

bConsidering the potential reach and impact of initiatives (e.g., initiatives can be either targeted to specific subgroups or the entire population). More targeted initiatives should be expected to achieve greater health improvements).

2. Committing to sustainable and comprehensive long-term solutions. This includes implementing initiatives from the program’s curated checklist of evidence-based approaches to enhancing health that works towards sustainable and long-term solutions.

3.Increasing the commitment to and actions that demonstrate the importance of equal and fair opportunity for health.

4. Including and harnessing the power of multiple sectors and voices in identifying and implementing initiatives. Applicants should be able to demonstrate how residents, government, business, and non-profit organizations are working together to improve health.

5. Maximizing resources including dollars, people power, etc.

6. Measuring and sharing progress and results.