CityHealth Names Chicago A Gold Medal City for Advancing Public Health through Progressive Policies for the Fourth Year In A Row

January 8, 2021

Alicia McGhee

CHICAGO – Chicago has 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 for the fourth year in a row, according to the 2020 CityHealth Annual Report.

“We are honored to see that our hard work is paying off and we are committed to continuing to work toward a thriving, prosperous community for our residents through our public health policies,” said Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., MPH. “Through our work with the mayor’s office, as well as other city departments and our many community partners, we are constantly seeking ways to develop and strengthen policies to ensure all Chicago communities can thrive, and that health and racial equity is at the center of everything we do.”

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. Each year, cities are awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals according to the strength and number of the policies they have in place. The data used in the assessment are produced by the Center for Public Health Law Research at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

“Across the country, city leaders have stood on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating strong leadership and working hard to help residents navigate extremely difficult times,” said CityHealth Co-Executive Director Katrina Forrest. “The milestone of 90% of cities earning an overall medal shows that local leaders are finding creative approaches to community health while addressing racial inequities and working to close persistent health disparities.”

Ten cities total received an overall gold this year, including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Louisville, New York, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago - the only Midwest city to receive gold.

Chicago received a gold in six of the nine categories and an overall gold medal. 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.

“America’s cities have shown incredible resilience in the face of the myriad of challenges that 2020 has delivered,” said CityHealth Co-Executive Director Catherine Patterson. “Resilient cities are responding to the moment by adopting policies like Complete Streets and high-quality, accessible pre-K. These policies are proven to strengthen communities for years to come and will help all residents live their healthiest possible lives.”

Chicago’s 2020 CityHealth Medal Results:
Policy Recommendation: Medal
Overall: Gold
Affordable Housing: Gold
Complete Streets: Gold
Earned Sick Leave: Silver
Food Safety/Restaurant Grading: No Medal
Healthy Food Procurement: Silver
High-Quality, Accessible Pre-Kindergarten: Gold
Safer Alcohol Sales: Gold
Smoke-Free Indoor Air: Gold
Tobacco 21: Gold

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

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