November 18, 2019

Chicago Again Earns Gold Medal from CityHealth for Passing Policies that Improve Residents’ Health and Quality of Life

Andy Buchanan

CHICAGO – Chicago has again received a gold medal as one of the nation’s highest performing cities when it comes to passing policies that improve the health and well-being of its residents, according to updated city ratings released by CityHealth. The Washington-based organization that works to advance and evaluate policy solutions that will help people live healthier lives released its newest national report on urban policymaking, and for the third straight year Chicago received gold.

“We are tremendously proud Chicago has received a gold medal from CityHealth for the third year in row,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This medal reflects the hard work of countless Chicagoans who are dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of every resident through smart and effective public health policies. Going forward, we will continue to build on our success to ensure every Chicagoan in every community and neighborhood has equitable access to resources they need to stay healthy and improve their quality of life.”

The CityHealth report takes a close look at whether the nation’s 40 largest cities have nine key policies in place that experts say help residents lead healthier lives and communities thrive. For each of these nine policies, CityHealth awarded cities a gold, silver, bronze or no medal, according to the quality of that policy. The group also awarded an overall medal to each city based on how many policy medals were earned.

“We work closely with the mayor’s office, as well as other city departments and our many community partners, to develop policies to ensure that all Chicago communities can thrive, and that health and racial equity are always emphasized,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Allison Arwady, MD, MPH. “We’re proud to again be recognized for this work and gratified to know that it is having an impact.”

Chicago received a gold in six of the nine categories and an overall gold medal, demonstrating, according to CityHealth, that “city leaders understand the role of policy as a valuable prescription for public health, and a tool to make cities vibrant, prosperous places to live.” Eight cities total received an overall gold this year, and Chicago was the only Midwest city to receive gold. Mayor Lightfoot’s administration continues to make investments in equity-based policies, such as affordable housing, mental health and public safety, that increase wraparound services for Chicagoans to promote health and quality of life for every community.

“Everyone should have the right to live in an environment where they have the best opportunity for a healthy, thriving life,” said Shelley Hearne, DrPH, CityHealth’s president. “By earning a gold medal for smart policymaking, it shows that Chicago leaders have rolled up their sleeves and worked with the community to adopt a set of proven policies that will improve the health and wellbeing of residents. We hope even more cities follow Chicago’s lead.”


Chicago’s 2019 CityHealth Medal Results:


Policy Recommendation




Affordable Housing


Complete Streets


Earned Sick Leave


Food Safety/Restaurant Grading

No Medal

Healthy Food Procurement


High-Quality, Accessible Pre-Kindergarten


Safer Alcohol Sales


Smoke-Free Indoor Air


Tobacco 21



CityHealth is an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. For more details on this year’s results, go to





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