RWJF Awards $6.3 Million to 100 Million Healthier Lives Initiative, to Foster Healthier, More Equitable Communities

Grant supports community transformation and the engagement of health care organizations in population and community health

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) today announced an award of $6.3 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that will lead to the expansion of an initiative to advance the health, wellbeing, and equity of communities. The initiative offers community health leaders a groundbreaking opportunity to combine improvement science with transformational leadership skills in order to effect greater, more sustainable change. The grant goes to an umbrella effort known as 100 Million Healthier Lives, and will enable 200+ communities and 500+ health care organizations to accelerate their work on population and community health.

Building on Successes

This new phase of work to improve the health of communities builds upon a two-year first phase, also funded by RWJF and involving 24 communities in the US – spanning urban, suburban, and rural areas. Part of 100 Million Healthier Lives and dubbed SCALE 1.0 (Spreading Community Accelerators through Learning and Evaluation), it enabled teams to come together as a network to gain critical skills – in leadership, collaboration, co-design, measurement, and improvement science – and then apply these skills to address multiple issues impacting the quality of life of especially poor and low-income individuals. These same individuals were both beneficiaries of and partners in the process. For example, the residents of Laramie County, Wyoming, helped to house homeless youth and increase their graduation rates from 38% to 50%; Skid Row Women’s Center helped homeless women manage their diabetes in Los Angeles, California, with an 84% improvement in how the women evaluated their own lives, along with improved diabetes and weight outcomes; and a community in Waterville, Maine, engaged food bank users as decision makers and improvers of the local food distribution system.

Dr. Soma Stout, IHI Vice President and Executive Lead of 100 Million Healthier Lives, says that at a time when the country is experiencing great divides, SCALE communities stand as a beacon of hope for what is possible when people come together with a focus on improving the wellbeing of their communities, in partnership with those who are most affected. “In communities across the country, an incredibly diverse array of people—of different backgrounds, professions, race, class, and political persuasion—are forming coalitions in partnership with many who aren’t thriving to advance the health and wellbeing of their communities. These coalitions have already created meaningful improvement, showing tangible outcomes in a short time period. SCALE communities realize they have far more in common than they ever imagined.”

Expanding the Work to More Communities

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is now funding an expansion of 100 Million Healthier Lives approaches through two related initiatives, SCALE Communities and SCALE Health & Care.

Through the SCALE Communities initiative, Communities Joined in Action, Community Solutions, and IHI will scale-up the successful approach to improving health, wellbeing, and equity that was adopted by the 24 US communities participating in SCALE 1.0 over the past two years. The overriding goal, which is now being expanded to 220 communities in the second phase of work, is to develop a set of behaviors, processes, and systems that, over time, will lead to improvements in health, wellbeing, and equity and a Culture of Health across the country.

The second RWJF-funded initiative within this award, SCALE Health & Care, will create a practical framework and strategy for health care organizations to assess where they are on the journey to improve population health and make meaningful, measurable progress in both system development and tangible improvement across some 500 health care organizations, in partnership with patients and communities.

“This initiative will increase participating community members’ ability to develop, test, and improve local solutions to improving health,” said Hilary Heishman, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The ambitious goal of engaging this number of communities and health care organizations has the potential to make a real difference in improving health in every corner of the US.”

Lena Hatchett is Executive Director of Proviso Partners for Health, one of the communities supported by SCALE 1.0 that will be part of the expanding effort. Proviso engaged 35 partners and more than 500 community members, and improved food security, healthy eating, and jobs availability in a community of concentrated poverty. She states, “At the end of the SCALE 1.0 journey, I hardly recognize this community. The Park District and the Village that has fought over parks for more than 20 years are now working together collaboratively. The police are training with women domestic violence survivors, and our youth Champions for Change are teaching adults how to find assets in the community. There is usually a SCALE tool just right for their challenge. We ignited a community revolution with SCALE and it is spreading naturally.”

“This is the first initiative of its kind to combine the knowledge and methods of improvement science with the skills of leadership, collaboration, community organizing, and system change to bring about much deeper health and health care transformation and lasting, measurable change,” noted Derek Feeley, IHI President and CEO. “We are proud to continue our partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to achieve a Culture of Health in the US.”

To access all the community transformation stories from the SCALE Communities, visit:

Partners in SCALE Communities include:

Partners in SCALE Health & Care include:

About the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

IHI is a leader in health and health care improvement worldwide. For more than 25 years, IHI has partnered with visionaries, leaders, and frontline practitioners around the globe to spark bold, inventive ways to improve the health of individuals and populations. Recognized as an innovator, convener, trustworthy partner, and driver of results, IHI is the first place to turn for expertise, help, and encouragement for anyone, anywhere who wants to change health and health care profoundly for the better. Learn more at

About 100 Million Healthier Lives

100 Million Healthier Lives, convened by IHI, is an unprecedented collaboration of change agents pursuing an unprecedented result: 100 million people living healthier lives by 2020. The vision of the hundreds of 100 Million Healthier Lives partners, some of whom have come together to create these two initiatives, is to fundamentally transform the way the world thinks and acts to achieve breakthrough results to the intractable challenges that stand in the way of achieving health, wellbeing, and equity across the globe. Learn more at

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health, enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.rwjf.orgFollow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at


CXO Communication for IHI
Joanna Clark, 207-712-1404

Release Summary

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grants $6.3M to 100 Million Healthier Lives initiative, convened by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).


CXO Communication for IHI
Joanna Clark, 207-712-1404