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MBGH Awarded $100,000 Grant to Expand and Support CEO Culture of Health Initiative

Memphis Business Group on Health Awarded $100,000 Community Health Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and United Health Foundation

A program through the National Business Coalition on Health, will continue efforts to engage and support public and private employers in creating a culture of health

WASHINGTON and MEMPHIS, TN – MAY 9, 2013 – Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH) has been awarded a grant of $100,000 in total from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and United Health Foundation (UHF) to continue their work to engage and support public and private employers in Shelby County, TN to create a culture of health through their policies, programs, and benefits. Through a program of the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH), the award will provide MBGH and its partners with resources to expand the CEO Culture of Health initiative, which is in support of Healthy Shelby.  

“We have had enormous success in recruiting Shelby County CEOs to commit to creating a culture of health within their organizations through their policies, programs, and benefits. This grant will provide us with the additional capacity needed to reach even more CEOs and to provide committed organizations with the technical assistance they need to take the important initial steps on their culture of health journey”, said Cristie Upshaw Travis, MBGH CEO.  

Since its launch last November, the CEO Culture of Health initiative has 25 CEOs that have signed the commitment and agreed to implement at least one healthy eating  or physical activity policy and agreed to select a national recognition program to use as a pathway for creating a comprehensive, organization-wide approach to promote and support the health of their employees.

MBGH will continue to work closely with Memphis Tomorrow and the Healthy Memphis Common Table to expand the reach of the Culture of Health initiative and to provide assistance in selecting and implementing policies and requirements for national recognition programs.   

The CEO Culture of Health initiative grew out of the MBGH’s “Believe in a Healthy Memphis: 2011 Let’s CHANGE Summit” , funded primarily by the United Health Foundation, and conducted in collaboration with the Shelby County Health Department and the Healthy Memphis Common Table. At the Summit, over 80 community leaders and those interested in the health of Shelby County identified priority activities to reduce obesity where we work, live, learn, play, health-healthcare, and health-faith. MBGH served as the champion organization for the “where we work” group and developed the CEO Culture of Health initiative to advance the public and private employer’s commitment and activities to improving the health of our community by starting first with their own employees and their family members.   

 “Supporting and nurturing businesses to engage with their communities to identify and address priority local health issues is the first step in solving them,” said Reed Tuckson, MD, senior advisor, United Health Foundation. “We believe that these partnerships, supported by the combined efforts of the United Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations, will produce real, meaningful health enhancements."  

”The road to better health for our towns, counties, states and the nation is paved with collaboration,” said Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, Team Director and Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We can make significant progress on the health problems we face if the business community and leaders in public health, government, education, philanthropy and other sectors work together. These new grants will help inspire the changes we know need to happen to improve health.”  

About Memphis Business Group on Health MBGH is a non-profit organization that brings employers together to find solutions  and provide tools to manage the cost and quality of health benefits in ever changing times. MBGH’s work focuses on creating cultures of health within organizations, aligning benefits and benefit design with the goals for employee health and wellness, and setting strong purchaser expectations for safe, quality, and affordable care with area health plans, hospitals, and physicians. MBGH leverages the influence employers have with their employees and the healthcare provider community to have a positive impact on health and health care for the entire greater-Memphis area. Please visit   

About the National Business Coalition on Health NBCH is a national, non-profit, membership organization of purchaser-led business and health coalitions, representing over 7,000 employers and 25 million employees and their dependents across the United States. NBCH and its members are dedicated to value-based purchasing of health care services through the collective action of public and private purchasers. For additional information visit:

About The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As 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. For 40 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. Follow the Foundation on Twitter ( or Facebook (   

About the United Health Foundation Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being of communities. After its establishment by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $200 million to improve health and health care. For additional information, please   # # #     

MBGH Media Contact: Cristie Upshaw Travis

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 901-487-7299   

NBCH Media Contact: Cary Conway 

Email: [email protected] 

Telephone: 972-731-9242   

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Media Contact: Christine Clayton

Email: [email protected] 

Telephone: 609-627-5937

United Health Foundation Media Contact: Lauren Mihajlov 

Email: [email protected] 

Telephone: 952-936-3068

Posted by Cristie Travis at 12:51 PM

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