Manistique wins $25,000 for health efforts

MANISTIQUE – The city of Manistique has won a $25,000 cash prize for its efforts on improving the health of its residents.

Manistique is one of six inaugural winners of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Roadmaps to Health Prize, which honors outstanding community partnerships across the United States that help their residents live healthier lives. The city was selected from more than 160 applicants, with the other five winning communities including: Santa Cruz County, Calif., New Orleans, La., Cambridge, Mass., Fall River, Mass., and Minneapolis, Minn.

The city of Manistique was honored during an event Wednesday at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J. In addition, a local celebration is planned for May 15, in conjunction with the opening day of the Manistique Farmers’ Market.

Communities were assessed on the following criteria:

identifying and empowering people to lead change

demonstrating the value of working together and multi-sector partnerships

recognizing the multiple factors that influence health

addressing problems that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations

planning and implementing policy and environmental changes that target populations rather than individuals

working in innovative ways to gather and maximize available resources

engaging in ongoing evaluation.

The city was recognized for its “innovative strategies to improve health” such as partnering with the Sault Tribe Strategic Alliance for Health (SAH) Project, developing the Manistique Farmers’ Market, working to create easier access for non-motorized modes of transportation, and partnering with Manistique Area Schools to create access to healthy choices throughout the school day. The city has also been instrumental in implementing the Safe Routes to School Sidewalk program.

Manistique City Manager Sheila Aldrich expressed the city’s appreciation to the SAH Coalition headed by Kerry Ott for their continued efforts, and the RWJF for recognizing the city’s accomplishments.

“We so appreciate that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recognizes the importance of what we are accomplishing, and that they are honoring us with this award,” said Aldrich. “We especially appreciate the support shown by our residents and invite tourists and retirees to visit us and become a part of Manistique’s progressive future.”

Ott also expressed her gratitude, noting the city’s greatest asset is its people.

“What has brought us to this recognition is the desire of individuals and agencies and businesses in our community to not settle for what we have, but to work together toward a healthier community and a strong, vibrant economy,” she said. “We have more work to do, and the Roadmaps to Health Prize will help us build upon the successes we have already had.”

The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize is part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. The RWJF partnered with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute in 2009 to create the County Health Rankings, an easy-to-use health snapshot of many factors that influence health and help community leaders identify the areas where they need to improve.

“These prize winners represent leadership at its finest – trailblazers creating a culture of health,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO, in a press release statement. “Today we honor leaders from government, business, public health, health care, and education who stand shoulder-to-shoulder working toward better health. The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize shines a light on their accomplishments; we hope it will inspire others to take bold steps to improve health in their communities.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care; the foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable, and timely change.

To learn more about the RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize, or to view a video profile of Manistique or other prize winners, visit