Building a Culture of Health on Campus and in Communities

Posted by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on September 17, 2018

Higher Education as Catalysts: Building a Culture of Health on Campus and in Communities

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. With their mission of teaching, research and service—as well as having substantial human and economic assets—higher education institutions have been, and can continue to play an important role in helping to achieve this vision both on and off campus.

The U.S. higher education sector comprises more than 4,700 colleges and universities, enrolls more than 21 million students, and employs over 4 million people. It collectively spends over $350 billion a year, with a total endowment of over $300 billion. The labor value of student volunteerism and service learning is estimated to exceed $9 billion. By taking a comprehensive, strategic campus- or systemwide approach that supports students, employees and the surrounding community—colleges and universities can foster academic achievement and contribute to the health and well-being of students, staff, and residents in their surrounding communities. Colleges and universities can play a vital role in providing opportunities for all. Because the college and university student population has evolved to include people with diverse backgrounds, income levels, and goals—people who in the past did not go to college—including first-generation college students, older students, and foster youth—the higher education sector is uniquely positioned to support populations that often start behind and stay behind by addressing and improving health equity.

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[Ed note: Look for the PHENND shout out on page 14.]

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