Fourteen Idaho cities are participating in the Community Health Academy, a Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health program for mayors and city officials that helps them learn and understand the city’s important role in building healthy communities.

Community Health Academy is a five-month learning collaborative that brings together leaders from Idaho cities to learn from local and national experts, collaborate with each other, and activate a program or project that improves the health of their community. Each city will earn a $20,000 grant upon completion of the program.

The cities participating in the academy are Ammon, Blackfoot, Buhl, Dayton, Gooding, Hazelton, Lapwai, Mountain Home, Parma, Post Falls, Pocatello, Stanley, St. Anthony and Tetonia. This year’s academy is the largest cohort, and the expansion was made possible by a donation to the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health by national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The academy launched Friday, June 23, and will include monthly sessions through October. The academy uses a hybrid model with sessions done in person and virtually. Topics covered include childcare, civility, early education, communications and branding, designing health communities, food systems, and housing.

“Community Health Academy is one of our most impactful programs because most mayors and elected officials learn how their actions can help build healthy communities,” said Courtney Frost, senior program officer for the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. “The academy includes grant funding, so cities will have the resources to launch a project or program that will improve the health of communities in Idaho.”

Community Health Academy has been offered by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health since 2017. There have been 24 Idaho communities that have attended the previous five cohorts of the academy.