Cities of Opportunity
Healthy People, Thriving Communities

About Cities of Opportunity

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. 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.

To harness the power of city leadership to address social determinants of health, the National League of Cities (NLC) recently launched, Cities of Opportunity, which offers an agenda for action that seeks to improve the health and well-being of city residents. Our initial focus is working with a group of pilot cities, who are developing and implementing robust, integrated action plans for their communities that are informed by peer learning and engagement with national experts. Participating cities will help to co-create a national initiative (that we plan to begin to scale in 2019) that advances the ability of cities to work across programs and agencies and craft more comprehensive strategies that improve health outcomes for their residents.

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:

  • Kitty Hsu Dana, Senior Health Policy Advisor, IYEF – Staff Lead
  • Sue Polis, Director, Health & Wellness, IYEF


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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