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Journal of Public Health Management & Practice:
Original Article

Turning Point: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Effort to Revitalize Public Health at the State Level

Hassmiller, Susan RN, PhD, FAAN

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Abstract

The Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation initiated Turning Point in collaboration with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Kellogg) in 1997. The purpose of this major national initiative was to strengthen the public health infrastructure in the United States so that states, local communities, and their public health agencies might respond to the challenge to protect and improve the public's health in the 21st century. RWJ funded 21 states and Kellogg funded 43 communities to work together to create a new way of thinking about how health could be improved and who should be involved. Although the ultimate outcome was to improve health, both foundations expected diverse partnerships to work together to create strategic health improvement plans at both the community and state levels. The foundations funded a variety of strategies within those health improvement plans during an implementation phase. The premise in funding partnerships, as opposed to a single entity, was that effective public health systems would be developed best through a shared responsibility (including the private sector) for the health of a community.

Without health there is no happiness. An attention to health, then, should take the place of every other object. - —Thomas Jefferson, 1787

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