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The Sitka Health Summit Finds Inspiration and Renewal in Loss of Community Health Prize

Press Release

The Sitka Health Summit learned Wednesday that Sitka was not chosen as one of 6 communities to win the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) second annual RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize. Last year, the Sitka Health Summit went through the rigorous application process. In September of 2013, the organization learned that Sitka was chosen as one of twelve national finalists from a pool of 250 competing communities.

“Selected from more than 250 applicants, the twelve RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize finalist communities distinguished themselves with creative strategies to help people lead healthier lives,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “These communities are shining examples of a growing movement to create a culture of health across our nation.”

The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize honors communities whose efforts illustrate an enduring commitment toward creating a culture of health for all residents. Sitka was selected along with eleven other communities from across the nation for their health improvement efforts. Although Sitka was ultimately not awarded the prize, the Sitka Health Summit feels honored to have made it so far in the process, and believes that Sitka’s selection as a finalist validates the great deal of work citizens have invested in supporting and enhancing community health and wellness.

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The Sitka Health Summit would like to thank the many organizations and individuals that, through their ongoing work and participation in the application process, helped the organization make it to the final round. Sitka is the only Alaskan community and one of only a few small towns to make it to the final round. Sitka Health Summit Coalition Steering Committee Member, Doug Osborne says, “It’s stiff, stiff competition, and we are hopeful that next time we’re going to have a different result. Gunalchéesh and thanks to EVERYONE involved!”

The Sitka Health Summit is also taking this opportunity to reinvest in its mission of empowering citizens through the process of collaborative decision-making. To this end, the Sitka Health Summit is growing its capacity. The organization has hired a Development Director, Melissa Marconi Wentzel, and enhanced its community outreach with a new website ( and a month-long community campaign aimed at generating broader community involvement. The organization is also working toward providing expanded support to the community initiatives chosen during the annual Planning Day event.

Doug Osborne says the organization’s growth has been “explosive.” Osborne says, “I think we have stumbled upon a successful model, have refined it, and made it a little bit better each year. I think we can keep this trend going and continue this momentum, if we can get some more people involved, get some more ideas, and get some more enthusiasm.”

The Sitka Health Summit invites citizens to become involved by:

  • Visiting our Website (

  • Liking the Sitka Health Summit on Facebook

  • Becoming a Summit Partner

  • Becoming an Event Sponsor

  • Becoming a Donor Member

  • Becoming a Community Liaison

  • Registering for and Attending Planning Day 2014 (October 3, 2014)

  • Sharing your Health Story


Melissa Marconi Wentzel

(907) 738-0462

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