Gorge receives national honor this weekend


Dr. Kirsten DIllon


Paul Lindberg


VEGGIE Rx program helps people, including June Husted of Klickitat, cook healthier meals in their own homes. The Culture of Health award will be given to Gorge Grown Food Network to support the local nutrition outreach program.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) will honor the Columbia Gorge Region, Oregon and Washington at its RWJF Culture of Health Prize National Celebration and Learning Event this weekend at its headquarters in Princeton, N.J.

The Columbia Gorge will be sending a delegation of six representatives to the event, two of whom will participate in a luncheon ceremony discussion about their efforts to ensure the region’s residents thrive. They are Paul Lindberg, Providence Hood River Hospital/United Way Columbia Gorge Partnership, Collective Impact Health Specialist, and Kristen Dillon, MD Pacific Source Columbia Gorge Coordinated Care Organization Director

The prize acknowledges the Columbia Gorge region for bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health, drawing especially on the wisdom, voice, and experience of residents themselves.

The prize honors communities for their efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Chosen from nearly 200 communities across the country, the Columbia Gorge’s selection stems from its success in bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health, drawing especially on the wisdom, voice, and experience of residents. The Columbia Gorge region is one of seven communities awarded the Prize in 2016. There are nearly 30 trailblazing communities throughout the nation.

To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, the Columbia Gorge had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six criteria: Defining health in the broadest possible terms; committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions; cultivating a shared and deeply-held belief in the importance of equal opportunity for health; harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members; securing and making the most of available resources; and measuring and sharing progress and results.

Learn more about Columbia Gorge’s work, as well as this year’s other prize winners through a collection videos, photos, and more at www.rwjf.org/Prize.

The RWJF award comes with a $25,000 prize, to be given to the Gorge Grown Food Network to address hunger issues.

“The Culture of Health Prize is a great recognition that we’re heading in the right direction,” said Sarah Sullivan, executive director of Gorge Grown. “We look at this award as encouragement rather than accomplishment.”

“This award is about the region’s ability to collaborate and work together across boundaries, sectors and issues, all to serve community members who have needs,” said Lindberg.


The Culture of Health conversation will be livecast on rwjf.org/Prize on Oct. 19.

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