Sixteen Idaho cities are participating in the 2024 Community Health Academy, a program of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health that helps mayors and city staff learn and understand the city’s important role in building healthy communities.

The five-month learning collaborative launches in June and continues into October. Topics of the academy include community health, civility, childcare and early education, food systems and policy, communications and branding, designing healthy communities, and youth behavioral health.

The academy comes with a $20,000 grant for each participating city, which had to apply to attend. The 16-city cohort will be the largest in the history of the academy, which debuted in 2017.

“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.”

The participating cities are American Falls, Ashton, Bellevue, Bovill, Carey, Driggs, Eagle, East Hope, Firth, Lava Hot Springs, Ketchum, Marsing, Meridian, Newdale, Ponderay and Sandpoint.

The expanded Community Health Academy is supported in part from the $6 million granted to the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in 2022.