San Antonio Receives Major Award for 'Innovations in Community Health'

The City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has won the 2018 Culture of Health Prize from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners to rally around a 'shared vision of health,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

San Antonio is one of four communities nationwide to win the honor, which comes with a $25,000 prize.

"They really liked the equity focus that our Pre-K for SA Program has," Metro Health Director Dr. Colleen Bridger told News Radio 1200 WOAI's Megan Bishop.  "Really making sure that kids who need that Pre-K experience the most are the ones who are prioritized for entry into the program."

She says innovative ideas including a municipal court that helped decriminalize truancy statewide, the Haven for Hope campus for the homeless, and the 'equity lens' city budget that places additional funding into historically underserved parts of the city were also recognized by the foundation.

"We have lots and lots of different collaborative groups that are working together," Dr. Bridger said.  "The teen pregnancy prevention collaborative, the P-16 Plus Council, the Ready-Kids SA through the United Way, even the Mayor's Commission to End Veteran Homelessness."

She says as mental health becomes a more and more critical part of overall health care, San Antonio is taking a leadership role there, too.

"From the work that the Police Department is doing to divert folks who are mentally ill from the jail to the work that Haven for Hope is doing."

The other three communities to be honored for innovations in community public health this year are Cicero Illinois, Eatonville Florida, and Klamath Couknty Oregon.

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