Fourteen Idaho cities recently graduated from 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. 

Each city received a $20,000 grant for completing the academy, a 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. 

The academy took place from June through October using a hybrid model with sessions done in person and virtually. Topics covered included childcare, civility, early education, communications and branding, designing health communities, food systems, and housing. This year’s graduating class is the largest in the history of the academy, which launched in 2017. 

“Cities that attend the Community Health Academy leave with knowledge, actionable items, and funding to help make transformational change within their communities,” said Courtney Frost, Senior Program Officer, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. “We’re in Idaho for Idaho, and this learning collaborative is one way we help cities address the root causes that impact health in our state.” 

The cities that completed Community Health Academy and how grant funds will be used are listed below. 

  • Ammon: Creating new bicycle lanes and repainting of existing bicycle lanes. 
  • Blackfoot: Supporting the Community Care program that addresses social determinants of health in partnership with emergency responders 
  • Buhl: Updating a city park after community engagement and insight is conducted 
  • Dayton: Creation of a new walking path 
  • Gooding: Developing a new bicycle park 
  • Hazelton: Supporting the construction of a new pickleball court 
  • Lapwai: Adding streetlights along existing walking path that leads to the city park 
  • Mountain Home: Supporting the city’s food systems work 
  • Parma: Supporting the city splash pad project 
  • Post Falls: Creating a community art crosswalks 
  • Pocatello: Improving parks, trails and sidewalks 
  • Stanley: Updating Pioneer Park and trail improvements 
  • St. Anthony: Developing a park and walking path 
  • Tetonia: Upgrade Main Street and other projects supporting the cycling community in partnership with students