City of Gonzales wins health prize

Gonzales is one of five winners of the 2019 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Prize honors and elevates communities for working at the forefront of advancing health, opportunity, and equity.

Gonzales is being nationally recognized for pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Chosen from nearly 200 applicant communities across the country, Gonzales’s award-winning efforts include implementing initiatives and programs over the last decade that are resulting in real progress in Gonzales on youth engagement, economic development, health care access, and sustainability.

“The City Council and staff are committed to working collaboratively to provide the resources necessary to bring excellent services that enhance the quality of life of our diverse community.  We are honored to be recognized by RWJF for the years of hard work by many of our residents and community partners who have contributed to the city’s goal of improving the overall health of all residents,” said Gonzales Mayor Maria Orozco.

“The 2019 RWJF Culture of Health Prize winners recognize that health is about more than just healthcare. It’s about what happens where we live, work, learn, and play. They are fundamentally reshaping their communities so that everyone has a fair opportunity for health and well-being,” said Richard Besser, MD, president and CEO of RWJF. “These communities show the nation that solutions are within our grasp when we use local data to identify challenges and work together to implement solutions brought forward by residents.”

Gonzales will receive a $25,000 prize, join a network of Prize-winning communities, and have its inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. The other four winning communities are: Broward County, Fla.; Greenville County, S.C.; Lake County, Colo; and Sitka, Alaska.

Gonzales now joins Santa Cruz County, Santa Monica, and San Pablo as the fourth California community to win the distinguished Prize.

To become an RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner, Gonzales had to demonstrate how it excelled in the following six criteria:

  • Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
  • Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
  • Creating conditions that give everyone a fair and just opportunity to reach their best possible health.
  • Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
  • Securing and making the most of available resources.
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results.

“To the Gonzales community, this is a significant recognition for the ongoing efforts by the many contributors to the city’s health and wellness goals.  We look forward to celebrating this award with our partners and community and continuing to look for ways to engage residents and businesses to advance health, opportunity, and equity for all,” said City Manager Rene Mendez.

A delegation of six community leaders from Gonzales is currently at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation along with representatives from the other 2019 Prize-winning communities. All communities are being honored as part of the Prize Celebration and Learning Event at RWJF headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. Delegates will participate in several activities, two of which will be webcast live at

2019 RWJF Culture of Health Prize Award Ceremony               11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. ET

Prize winners will be presented their certificates and offer acceptance remarks.

Prize Winner Panel Discussion on Courageous Conversations          1:30-2:30 p.m. ET

The 2019 Prize winners are tackling challenging issues such as racism, poverty, and trauma. Representatives from Prize communities will discuss how they are building understanding among residents by creating the space for frank and open conversations that lead to more inclusive action.

Learn about the Prize-winning work underway in Gonzales through a collection of videos, written profiles and photos at

About the City of Gonzales

The city of Gonzales, California is located in Monterey County. The culturally diverse community of approximately 9,000 people is in the heart of the Salinas Valley’s agriculture and wine region. Gonzales is known for its big heart and great opportunities and is an established regional leader in agricultural-technology and innovation, environmental awareness, and sustainable practices. Gonzales is home to companies such as HealthySoil, which manufactures products to improve agricultural crop production; Converted Organics, a natural fertilizer company; Taylor Farms, a fresh vegetable production facility, Growers Express, a fresh vegetable cooling and shipping facility; Ramsay Highlander and Mantis Ag Technology, innovators, designers and manufacturers of technologically-advanced harvesting equipment; Constellation Brands, a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits; and Del Monte Fresh/Mann Packing one of the country’s leading suppliers of fresh vegetables.  For more information about the City of Gonzales visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are 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. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at on Facebook at

About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health. A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those in academia and those in the policy and practice arena. The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. For more information, visit

About Do Good

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