Newsletter Contents
Designing Lifelong Communities
Spotlights of the Month
Tools & Resources
HEAL Funding Opportunity
About Us
Stay Connected!
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Designing  Lifelong Communities 
Our environment shapes the way we live, work, play, and pray. Every day we make decisions that are influenced by our space and setting - deciding whether to walk or drive is one small example of a decision that each of us makes based on individual and environmental factors. Are we walking with a stroller or using a wheelchair? Are there clear sidewalks? How far is our destination? Are we carrying heavy bags or groceries? Each of these questions and decisions will ultimately dictate how we travel and how we live. These questions can be challenging for anyone, let alone an older person or someone with different abilities. Without safe and walkable infrastructure, residents of all ages and abilities might be limited in their ability to choose healthier options. 
Cities and towns have the unique ability to address these issues by creating safe and inclusive planning that helps resident's live healthy and safe lives, no matter their ability or age. This is often referred to as "age-friendly", "livable", or "lifelong communities." As the older adult population grows, planning age-friendly environments will become particularly important. According to the US Census, while in 2012, less than 20% of the population was over 60 years old, by 2050 over 25% of the population will have reached retirement age.
Access to healthy food and physical activity is good for anyone at any age; however, it is particularly important for older adults. Good nutrition and physical activity can lower risk of obesity and chronic disease. Further, staying physically active in later life can increase life expectancy, reduce the risk of falls, improve balance and stamina, delay cognitive decline, and prevent isolation and depression. Municipalities can address these needs by creating age-friendly communities that promote older adult health and wellness by integrating the needs of older adults into municipal decision-making and planning related to transportation, street and sidewalk design, park development, and land use and zoning.
The World Health Organization's (WHO)  Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities is another great resource to help foster and exchange best practices and solutions to address the health and wellness of aging adults. This network includes 705 cities in 39 countries covering over 210 million people globally. Municipalities can apply for membership by submitting an application outlining a commitment to helping address the needs of older adults in your community. Once municipalities join the network, you will have access to an extensive database of resources and age-friendly best practices that will help you advance your goals creating healthy opportunities and environments for all ages and abilities. Consider joining today! 
For more information and resources on how municipal leaders can support age-friendly environments that will help their older citizens stay healthy as they age, please visit our website at

Spotlight of the Month | Falls Church, Virginia
T his month we are reissuing our Spotlight feature on the City of Falls, Church. As a new HEAL City - Falls Church has been hard at work implementing HEAL policies and practices through their HEAL Committee.  Find the article here
Interested in having your city or town featured in an upcoming Spotlight article? Please send a request to Julia Groenfeldt, HEAL Program Associate, at   or 202-747-3455.  
Tools and Resources
HEAL Webinar | Increase the Health of your General/Comprehensive Plans -   This webinar features three expert speakers, including Councilmember Matt Lawless from the Town of Scottsville, VA, who present the case for including a health focus in general and comprehensive plans. Participants learn best practices for enacting healthy general and comprehensive plans, what steps lead to responsive and sound policy, and which publicly accessible tools are available to help them move forward right away. Find the webinar recording here.
HEAL Webinar | Healthy Procurement: Practices and Policies for Healthier Food Options -  Learn how cities and towns across the country are implementing healthy procurement policies. Check out how Ocean City, MD is helping employees eat better through a town run vending machine. Participants will learn best practices for enacting healthy procurement policies, what steps lead to responsive and sound policy, and accessible tools that can help them move forward. Find the webinar recording   here.  
Webinar | Creating Safer Streets for All -  Join America Walks for an informational webinar on how to improve pedestrian safety in your community. Pedestrian safety is a critical part of planning for healthy, active, and engaged communities. A safe systems approach and built environment interventions are important for achieving fewer pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The webinar will be held on February 13th at 2 PM EST. Register here
Fellowship | The Walking College -  The Walking College is an interactive, online educational program for walkable community advocates. Each year, America Walk's awards Walking College Fellowships to individuals who are passionate about helping increase walkability in their community. Learn more about the Walking College Fellowship and application process here
Infographic | Healthy Vending - What is healthy vending and why is it important? Check out this healthy vending infographic developed by the HEAL Cities and Towns Campaign and the American Heart Association to help municipalities learn the ins and outs of healthy vending. Interested in having printed copies of the infographic to hang in your municipal building? Email  Julia Groenfeldt at, and we'll mail you the posters. 
Funding Opportunities 
HEAL Implementation Grants - This winter, cities and towns across Maryland and Virginia have an opportunity to obtain new resources to help residents and municipal employees eat healthier and move more. On February 15th, the HEAL Campaign will release a request for proposals (RFP) to support selected local governments in Maryland and Virginia to implement policies that promote opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity. All  current HEAL cities and towns are eligible to apply. Please note all upcoming dates: 
  • February 15, 2019 - RFP released
  • February 28, 2019 - RFP Informational Webinar (Register Here
  • March 15, 2019 - Proposals due by midnight ET
  • Early April 2019 - Grant decisions announced
  • January 15, 2020 - Grant project end date
Up to ten cities and towns will receive grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. This grant program is made possible through the financial support and generosity of our founding partner,  Kaiser Permanente, and the continued collaboration of our strategic partners, the Maryland and Virginia Municipal Leagues. 

We will be contacting all HEAL cities and towns later this week with more information. All grant updates will  be posted on our website at Any remaining questions should be addressed to  Sydney Daigle at

Increasing Access to Healthy Foods Innovation Grants -  This grant opportunity will provide funding to local government agencies, or an affiliated 501c(3) nonprofit organization, to implement selected innovation strategies to increase access to healthy foods within underserved communities. An estimate of five awards for each innovation strategy will be awarded. Grants range from $30-35,000. Applications are due by March 6, 2019. An informational webinar will be held on February 12, 2019, at 2 PM EST. Find more information here
About Us
HEAL is a project of the Institute for Public Health Innovation in  partnership with the Maryland and Virginia Municipal Leagues and funded by Kaiser Permanente, founding partner.

For more information on the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign, p lease visit the website at or contact HEAL Campaign Associate, Julia Groenfeldt at
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