Cities of Opportunity
Healthy People, Thriving Communities

Even before the pandemic, in cities across America, the life expectancies of residents who live a few miles apart, and sometimes even blocks apart, vary by as much as five, ten or even 20 years. COVID exposes this country’s gaps and inequities in urgent and glaring terms. Economic, environmental and social conditions influence how long we live and how well we live. City leaders are uniquely positioned to improve these local conditions, advancing cross-cutting approaches that address underlying factors of health and well-being. And Cities of Opportunity offers the framework to deliver a strong recovery.

To harness the power of city leadership to address social determinants of health, the National League of Cities (NLC) launched, Cities of Opportunity, which offers an agenda for action for recovery from the pandemic and seeks to improve the health and well-being of city residents. Twelve pilot cities led the way in developing and implementing robust, integrated action plans for their communities that are informed by peer learning and engagement with national experts. A current cohort of six cities is working across agencies and partners to craft policy change and comprehensive strategies to improve health outcomes for their residents. A Community of Practice pilot on Data is in process; rolling out later this year is the next one to augment cities’ capacity to work with health systems. As well, NLC is introducing a Learning Lab that are of, by and for local leaders.

The Team

Cities of Opportunity is a cross-NLC initiative, led by the Health & Wellness Team of the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (IYEF). Key staff are:

  • Sue Polis, Director, Health & Wellness, IYEF
  • Kitty Dana, Senior Health Policy Advisor, Health & Wellness
  • Olga Kozlova, Senior Specialist, Health & Wellness
  • Anne Li, Senior Specialist, Health & Wellness

Our Funder

Cities of Opportunity is generously supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health.

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