«Return to NewslistHealthyCommunity50 Challenge

Sandoval Health Collaborative recognized as HealthyCommunity50 member in Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge

Sandoval County, NM | Sep 15, 2016 – 

Sandoval Health Collaborative has been selected as one of 50 members of the HealthyCommunity50 in the Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge to receive a $10,000 community seed award. By participating in the Challenge, Sandoval County is in the running to receive an initial prize that will support their local program.

The Challenge, a partnership between the Aetna Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the National Association of Counties, launched in April during National Public Health Week. The Challenge will award $1.5 million in prizes to small and mid-sized cities, counties and federally-recognized tribes that are able to show measurable change over the course of several years working with cross-sector partnerships to implement health innovations and data-driven solutions. Hundreds of city governments, local municipalities, health departments, educational institutions and other public/private entities applied to be a part of the Challenge.

The HealthyCommunity50 were chosen based on plans to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five domains: Healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures.

Through the Challenge, the SANDOVAL HEALTH COLLABORATIVE will help children and families adopt healthy behaviors. The project comes at a critical time for SANDOVAL COUNTY AND NEW MEXICO as they confront rising rates of obesity, diabetes and complications from poor nutrition and physical inactivity.

“Through the Sandoval Health Collaborative, we have demonstrated that by working together, we can explore new ideas, from a variety of stakeholders, for improving the health of our community”, said Jamie Silva-Steele, co chair, Sandoval Health Collaborative and CEO & President, UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center.  “Community collaboration is the only way we will develop and achieve sustained and improved health outcomes.” 

“We are honored to be one of 50 organizations selected for the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge,” said Angela Ward, co-chair, Sandoval Health Collaborative and Administrator, Presbyterian Rust Medical Center. “Healthcare today is increasingly complex—one of our goals at the Sandoval Health Collaborative is to help local residents navigate this difficult landscape. This award will help fund our efforts to improve health literacy and increase healthy outcomes for Sandoval County families.

“At the Aetna Foundation, we’re seeking to reward innovation for communities implementing new ways to improve health outcomes,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation. “We want the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge to serve as a catalyst for collaboration in local communities around the country working to move the needle in combating health disparities.”

All selected HealthyCommunity50 members will be visited by an expert judge panel to answer questions, understand the community’s approach to the project first-hand and speak with the members of the cross-sector team and key stakeholders. At the conclusion of the Challenge, the programs most able to show measurable change will be eligible for prize awards from $25,000 – $500,000. Participants will be judged on their own progress and will not be competing against each other. For more information, visit