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HonorHealth: Scottsdale Blue Zones Project now underway

HonorHealth, Cigna Healthcare and Goodwill join forces to help people live better
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

HonorHealth, Cigna Healthcare and Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona are launching the Blue Zones Project in Scottsdale to help residents live better, longer lives.

Blue Zones Project is a first-of-its-kind population health initiative based on research and principles developed by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified the cultures of the world—or blue zones—with the healthiest, longest-living populations.

Blue Zones Project, HonorHealth officials report, seeks to be a comprehensive initiative that transforms the environments where people live, work, learn, and play to measurably improve community well-being, resilience, and economic vitality.

HonorHealth supported the initial Blue Zones Activate assessment in collaboration with the Scottsdale in late 2022, during which the Blue Zones team did a deep dive into the city to determine if it was feasible to launch a community-wide initiative.

“As the largest employer and healthcare provider in Scottsdale, we are committed to improving the health and well-being of everyone in Scottsdale and throughout the Valley, and that means expanding our efforts outside hospital walls. We are fortunate to live in a beautiful place,” said Todd LaPorte, CEO of HonorHealth, in a prepared statement.

“However, loneliness and isolation have been growing within our community and one out of two Scottsdale residents currently report they are struggling with their health. Now is the time to act to improve the well-being of the communities we serve, and this Blue Zones Project will help us build a sustainable future.”

HonorHealth, Cigna Healthcare and Goodwill join forces to help people live better

Research shows that where people live has a bigger influence on their health than their genetics, so Blue Zones Project focuses on the ‘Life Radius’ — the area close to home where people spend 90% of their lives.

Blue Zones Project works with communities to optimize public policies, social connections, and the places and spaces where people spend the most time (streets, parks, schools, workplaces, grocery stores, faith communities, homes) to help make healthy choices easy and more accessible to all.

Participating communities have seen double-digit drops in obesity and smoking rates, economic investment in downtown corridors, grant funding awards to support policies and programs to improve health equity, and measurable savings in healthcare costs.

“Cigna Healthcare’s mission is to improve the health and vitality of those we serve, and Blue Zones Project can help us achieve this by sustainably improving health, well-being, and vitality at the community level,” said Kim Shepard, commercial market president, Cigna Healthcare of Arizona. “We are proud to partner with leading organizations HonorHealth and Goodwill in this effort; together, we can create a healthier, happier community with higher vitality and quality of life.”

Tim O’Neal, CEO of Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, echoed a similar sentiment.

“Goodwill is a social impact engine that has helped Arizonans build pathways out of poverty for more than 75 years,” he said. “We are passionate about creating opportunities and communities where every person can thrive, and the Blue Zones Project will help us drive sustainable change. We are proud to partner with Blue Zones and other Valley leaders on such an important initiative.”

Ben Leedle, CEO of Blue Zones and co-founder of Blue Zones Project, says the confluence of community leaders coming together in Scottsdale is a recipe for success.

“We are excited to come together with these powerful leading organizations in this partnership for the greater good. We applaud these forward-looking, exemplary leaders for investing in improving well-being for all current and future residents. We believe Scottsdale can become a model for communities around the country in their commitment to the future health, happiness, resilience, and economic vitality of their residents.”

The launch of Blue Zones Project represents the beginning of a multi-year collaborative effort with the city of Scottsdale that involves the entire community working together toward one common goal —- to support and build a culture of community health and well-being.

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