Big Cities Health Coalition

Recipient: National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO)
Fund for Public Health in New York

Formed in 2002, the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) has helped the leaders of America’s largest urban health departments exchange ideas and address issues unique to the health of the 51 million people they serve. The Coalition includes 20 of the largest urban areas in the United States and addresses a wide range of health issues, including nutrition and tobacco policy, bioterrorism preparedness, environmental challenges, school health, and infectious disease.By fostering new channels for connectivity, partnership, and alignment among member health departments, the ultimate success of Big Cities is seen in how it facilitates the development of new programs influenced by other cities. For example, BCHC has helped several member departments develop new programs based on exemplary projects such as NYC’s Take Care New York health index and Philadelphia’s high school chlamydia screening program. As a result of this success, the scope of BCHC has broadened into policy and advocacy, attracting interest from new cities and partner organizations, and helping prepare new big city health directors. This growth also led the BCHC to move their workgroups and technology platform from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) in 2011. This transition provided their increasingly sophisticated operation with support from a national umbrella organization.

Through funding from the de Beaumont Foundation, the BCHC is amplifying the voices of big cities on shared policy issues; giving members rapid access to expertise and support from peers across the country; and maximizing resources by sharing information, best practices, and work products. Ultimately, by creating these deep connections within and between health departments across the country, the BCHC is improving the quality and efficiency of national public health work in addition to advancing progress in new and complex areas. To learn more about the BCHC and its issue areas, visit

In January 2015, leaders from the Big Cities Health Coalition contributed to a supplement for the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, funded by the de Beaumont Foundation. Titled Leadership Perspectives, the supplement takes an in-depth look at the opportunities, challenges, and characteristics of big city health departments.  Read the full supplement in open access here.

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