Health and Wellness

Culture of Health
Culture of Health

Mayors and city leaders play a pivotal role in the overall health and well-being of the cities and towns they serve. NLC is leading an effort to educate, train and build the capacity of city leaders to address the social determinants of health and improve health outcomes where individuals live, learn, work and play. 

From seeding promising practices and innovative approaches to leading cross-sector initiatives, NLC will engage mayors and city leaders in problem-solving sessions, trainings and peer-learning networks to ensure health is a key factor in their decisions across a range of issues, including education, early childhood, housing, land use, transportation and community development.

Featured Opportunity: Healthy People, Thriving Communities

Cities of Opportunity are places where all residents can reach their full potential and live healthy, productive and fulfilling lives as part of a thriving community. City leaders are uniquely positioned to advance cross-cutting approaches that address underlying factors affecting the health of all of their residents and the vibrancy of their city.  NLC invites city leaders to join Cities of Opportunity, a new initiative to make transformative policies and systems change for Healthy People and Thriving Communities. With the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this new 12-month technical assistance initiative will help city teams take a comprehensive approach to address factors that affect how long we live and how well we live.


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Featured Resource: Mental Illness, Substance Use, and Homelessness

Mental Illness, Substance Use, and Homelessness: Advancing Coordinated Solutions Through Local Leadership

Mental illness, substance use disorder, and homelessness affect millions of people across the nation and pose significant, interconnected challenges for cities.  Local leaders play a key role in ensuring individuals receive appropriate and timely treatment and services. 

With support from Arnold Ventures, NLC is exploring city-level approaches and practices surrounding emergency response and crisis stabilization for individuals suffering from mental illness, substance use disorder, and/or homelessness. This is the first in a series of issue briefs examining city-level approaches to emergency response and crisis stabilization.

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New Reports

Aligning City, County, and State Resources to Address the Opioid Epidemic: Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities:

As part of NLC’s multi-year initiative to engage mayors and city leaders in creating a Culture of Health, the YEF Institute led a Mayors’ Institute on Opioids on May 9-11, 2018 in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. This report is a summary of findings from the meeting and is made possible by the insights shared by participating mayors and team members, including county and state officials from six Cities across the country.

The report shares insights, strategies and best practices for addressing the opioid epidemic at the local level, with a look at how a city, state, and county can work together to address this public health issue that is devastating local communities.

Read the full report here:

+ Aligning City, County, and State Resources to Address the Opioid Epidemic: Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities

Advancing City-Level Healthy Housing: Policies, Programs, and Practices in Asthma and Lead:

Together with a team of researchers from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management (the GWU team), NLC sought to identify evidence-based city-level policies, programs, and practices that lend themselves to replication and scaling by other cities interested in promoting healthy housing in their jurisdictions. The focus of this project was on city-led efforts to decrease lead exposure and/or remediate asthma triggers in private rental properties.

The JPB Foundation provided the National League of Cities (NLC) with a one-year grant to conduct a landscape analysis of the strategies that municipal governments are utilizing to promote policies, programs and practices across the United States related to lead and asthma triggers in affordable housing.

Read the full report here:

Mayors' Institute on Opioids: Aligning Local and State Leaders to Address the Epidemic

NLC brought the mayors of Huntington, West Virginia; Knoxville, Tennessee; Madison, Wisconsin; Manchester, New Hampshire; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Tacoma, Washington together in Boston on May 9-11, 2018 to engage in practical, solutions-oriented discussions and peer-to-peer learning opportunities to help them deal with the opioid epidemic in their communities.

Included below are the background document city officials used to prepare for the Mayors' Institute and remarks from NLC Executive Director and CEO Clarence E. Anthony:


Cities Advancing a Culture of Health
Advancing Education & Health through the Community Schools Strategy

To read our Education and Health Backgrounder, click here.

To read our Mayors' Institute Executive Summary, click here

Health Disparities

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we established the Learning Collaborative on Health Disparities. The purpose of this collaborative is to develop and frame emerging local models to reduce childhood obesity-related health disparities. 

Let's Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties

Let’s Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties (LMCTC) is a key part of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let’s Move! initiative. Through LMCTC, we help local elected officials develop long-term and sustainable strategies to promote healthy eating and increased physical activity in their communities. 

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