General Interest

Deadline Extended – Nominations Due for RWJF Award for Health Equity

UPDATE 5/30/19: The deadline for submission has been extended to June 14, 2019.

Nominate an individual or team of 2 individuals who have helped your organization develop an initiative designed to enhance health equity for older adults.

Has your organization developed an initiative designed to enhance health equity for older adults in your community? LeadingAge and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) would like to recognize the people responsible for that initiative by presenting them with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity.

Health equity means everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier. It requires a concerted effort to increase opportunities to be healthier for everyone, especially those whose obstacles are greatest.

The Award for Health Equity recognizes an individual or a team of 2 individuals who have successfully implemented a systems-change approach to improving health equity. The award comes with:

  • A $3,000 prize (shared equally if winner is a 2-person team).
  • Complimentary registration and travel for the 2019 LeadingAge Annual Meeting & EXPO in San Diego.
  • Participation in a recognition event hosted at RWJF headquarters in Princeton, NJ.

Consider nominating an individual or a team of 2 individuals whose work shows alignment with RWJF’s vision for building a Culture of Health and achieving health equity. May 31 is the deadline to complete an online nominationfor the award.


Most American communities are home to a distinct group of elders who face significant barriers to living healthy lives. Those vulnerable groups include, but are not limited to:

  • Older people living in poverty.
  • Older people of color.
  • Older people who don’t speak English as their first language.
  • Older people with low health literacy.
  • Older people who are socially isolated.

Nominees should demonstrate that they have sought a way to increase access to services, supports, and opportunities that enable these or other vulnerable elders to lead healthy lives.


LeadingAge members implement many programs and initiatives that promote health equity for older adults. Here are just a few examples of efforts that might promote opportunities for older adults to be healthier:

  • Help older adults navigate the health care or insurance system, understand a doctor’s orders, or take steps to manage a chronic disease.
  • Offer nutrition programs that provide access to healthy foods or teach older adults how to prepare nutritious meals that could help them prevent or manage chronic disease.
  • Reduce isolation that often leads to physical and mental health issues.
  • Address cultural barriers to using needed physical or mental health services.
  • Improve access to physical fitness activities that can help older adults maintain or improve function and mobility.
  • Enhance the quality, safety, and accessibility of housing.
  • Ensure that the needs of vulnerable older adults are included in local conversations about community planning or public health.

Programs or efforts developed by nominees will often:

  • Involve community partners or cross-sector collaboration.
  • Seek sustainable change.
  • Have the potential to be adopted and scaled.


This is the third year that LeadingAge has presented the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Award for Health Equity.

In 2017, the RWJF award went to Sarah Schoeder and Kate West of Easton Senior Communities in Lakewood, CO. Schoeder and West won the award for a wellness-coaching initiative they launched among older residents at Eaton and are now working to spread to other affordable senior housing communities.

In 2018, the health equity award was presented to Terry Allton Spitznagel of National Church Residences for her role in developing the organization’s Home for Life program, which provides non-clinical care coordination to older adults, many of whom are homeowners living in the state’s poorest and most isolated areas.


For more information about the Award for Health Equity, contact Alisha Sanders, director of housing and services policy at LeadingAge, or call 202-508-1211.

LeadingAge member organizations can use the online application form to nominate individuals for the RWJF Award for Health Equity. Deadline for nominations is May 31.

Source: LeadingAge