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2022 RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)-NRPA Award for Health Equity recognizes an individual, or team of no more than two individuals, who has successfully implemented a systems change approach[1] to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity in their community within the past two years. Health disparities is defined as the presence of large differences in health between population groups. These differences are closely linked with social, economic, or environmental conditions that adversely affect groups of people[2].

This award is part of a series of awards, supported by RWJF, but presented, offered and administered separately by independent organizations. It celebrates leaders who improve the conditions that lead to disparities through changing policies and environments. The award supports RWJF’s Culture of Health initiative that seeks to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to live in healthy environments, make choices that lead to the healthiest lives possible, and receive quality health care.

The awardee will receive a $3,000 prize and an opportunity to be recognized nationally both at the annual NRPA Conference and at an annual RWJF ceremony. Refer to “Official Rules” for a full description of rules governing this award.


[1] Systems change, or system-wide policies, refer to policies and strategies that reach and impact large population groups (e.g., an entire district, city, or state; across a park system)
[2] RWJF; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The nomination deadline is March 25, 2022.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Nominee must be affiliated with a local park and recreation agency (e.g., employee, advocate, board member, volunteer, etc.)·
  • Nominee or agency affiliation must be an NRPA member
  • Nominee must be a citizen or legal resident of the United States, and must be thirteen (13) years of age or older
  • Nominee must not be a trustee, director, officer, shareholder, employee, contractor, agent, representative, or affiliate of RWJF, NRPA and selection committee or the spouse/domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, or grandchild of any of the foregoing

Selection Criteria:
The criteria for selecting a recipient for the RWJF-NRPA Award for Health Equity Award include the following:

  • Nominee’s work aligns with RWJF’s vision for building a Culture of Health and achieving health equity.
  • Nominee’s work demonstrates success in changing systems that impact health outcomes in the community environment. Examples include:
    • Promoting access to parks, shared-use paths and trails, or open spaces within a ½ mile walking distance of homes;
    • Instituting strategies (e.g., lighting, traffic calming) to enhance personal safety in areas surrounding parks, playgrounds, or trails;
    • Instituting a 24/7 smoke-free policy for all city public parks; and
    • Instituting healthy food and beverage options in vending machines across a park system.
  • Nominee’s work provides a solution to improve outcomes for groups most affected by health disparities.
  • Nominee’s work has been implemented over the last two years from the nomination deadline.
  • Nominee’s work demonstrates actual impacts and successes that can serve as examples for other park and recreation agencies.
  • Nominee’s work demonstrates the development or enhancement of cross-sector, strategic partnerships with other community leaders working together toward shared goals.
  • Nominee’s work demonstrates a policy or approach that is institutionalized or sustainable over time. (A program, such as an 8-week fitness program, will not be considered.)

Required Materials:

  • Completed application form.
  • Individual's resume which includes the educational history and career summary including a complete description of the nominee's current position, responsibilities, and volunteer activities.
  • Two letters of recommendation only. One letter must be from a strategic partner that was involved in the implementation of the system change approach.

Optional Materials:

  • One additional supplemental item which highlights the nominee's efforts and achievements.

Nomination Instructions:

  • All submissions must be received by NRPA no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on March 25, 2022. NRPA will not return any materials submitted with the application.
  • Nominator may only nominate using this official nomination form. Self-nominations are accepted.
  • Applicants must have or create an NRPA login account to complete an application.
  • Supplemental materials must be submitted electronically using this survey format in either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.
  • Submit no more than one supplemental item
  • Nomination is automatically disqualified if it does not meet criteria, submission instructions or if the responses are over the word limit.
  • This format has a save and continue feature located at the bottom of the question pages.
  • For more information, contact Allison Colman, Director of Health, at acolman@nrpa.org.

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