Brittney Drakeford Selected for New National Leadership Program to Build Health Equity

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(Cottage City, Maryland) Leaders from Honolulu, to Providence, R.I.—working across a range of fields, including social policy, community development, public health, and government—have been selected to participate in the Culture of Health Leaders program. These leaders will explore a diversity of pressing issues in health and equity, such as addressing the legacy of structural violence and denial of access to basic needs for marginalized communities; using physical design and other traffic calming measures to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists; and spearheading a new community garden that teaches kids about culture, race, and poverty.

As one of 40 selected applicants, Brittney Drakeford, Administrative Specialist with the Prince George’s County Planning Department, joins Culture of Health Leaders, a program co-led by the National Collaborative for Health Equity and CommonHealth ACTION with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Drakeford will join leaders from across the country to collaborate and innovate to solve persistent challenges and advance a Culture of Health—one that places well-being at the center of every aspect of life.

As part of the program Drakeford will focus on land-use and the built environment and its relationship to civic engagement and healthy communities. Specifically, she will look at how to rebuild equity in communities that were intentionally designed to be inequitable.

Along the way, she will develop high-level leadership skills through professional coaching, mentoring, networking, and an advanced leadership curriculum. While participating in the program, she will continue working full-time, applying new knowledge and leadership in her workplace and community.

“We’re excited to welcome the second cohort of Culture of Health Leaders, who are authentically engaging with communities to elevate their voices and create an equitable, healthy nation,” said Brian Smedley, Culture of Health Leaders co-director and executive director and co-founder of the National Collaborative for Health Equity. Natalie Burke, Culture of Health Leaders co-director and executive director of CommonHealth Action notes, “These leaders demonstrate a willingness to engage in the deep, transformative work necessary to strengthen their leadership and their communities while creating opportunities for all people to achieve their best possible health.”

The 40 selected leaders join the efforts of the first cohort of Culture of Health Leaders and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to build a Culture of Health.

Program partners providing training and coaching to leaders include: American Planning Association, Build Healthy Places Network, Center for Creative Leadership, Institute for Alternative Futures, and Leadership Learning Community.

Culture of Health Leaders is one of a number of leadership development programs supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). These programs continue RWJF’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Initially focused on health and health care, the programs have been expanded, because the Foundation knows that building a Culture of Health requires all of us in every sector, profession, and discipline to work together. The next application period for many of these programs will open in early 2018. Additional information is available at cultureofhealth-leaders.org.

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