Track: Health and Well-Being
Commitment: Partnering with Purpose
North Star: Strategic Partnerships

Format: Project-Based
Level of Learning: Doer

Leaders across the U.S. are addressing underlying causes of health disparities (access to health care, education, income, community safety, housing) by bringing together diverse members in their community to review their County Health Rankings data snapshot, develop a common agenda, and influence decision makers to take action. Using the 2018 County Health Rankings State Reports, participants will learn to successfully build a case or amplify efforts already under way. 

In this facilitated discussion, we will explore how to use the County Health Rankings resources to support community efforts to improve health and equity. 

Learning Objectives 

  • Find, use, and understand the County Health Rankings model and data snapshot to help make the case for their proposed health transformation 
  • Hear from one community who is creating meaningful partnerships and engaging and activating local leaders to address resident stress and community safety concerns
  • Be able to demonstrate how to find evidence and guidance to support their efforts to achieve health improvement solutions to transform their community


  • Janna West Kowalski, community coach, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
  • Sarah Page, senior vice president of Community Building and Engagement, Way Finders

Janna West Kowalski
Community Coach
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

Janna West Kowalski is a Community Coach at County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R), a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). Her role is to provide strategic guidance to communities that want to put the County Health Rankings into action for community health improvement. Kowalski lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she has over 20 years of public health experience. Prior to joining CHR&R, she was responsible for public health workforce development in the Center for Public Health Practice at the Colorado School of Public Health. This role included providing training, technical assistance, and consultation to public health professionals, as well as teaching foundations of public health practice for graduate students. Kowalski also spent nine years working in local public health. She managed a team that coordinated chronic disease and tobacco prevention and control initiatives. She remains passionate about local public health and currently serves on the Larimer County Board of Health. She also previously served as an instructor at Colorado State University in the health and exercise science department.

Kowalski received her master of science from Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and a bachelor of science from Colorado State University.

Sarah Page
Senior Vice President, Community Building and Engagement
Way Finders

Sarah Page, Senior Vice President, Community Building and Engagement has been with Way Finders (formerly HAPHousing) since 2004. Sarah and her team provide resident leadership training and engage residents and many collaborators in revitalizing neighborhoods in Springfield and Holyoke, MA. In 2015, with funding from the BUILD Health Challenge, Sarah led Way Finders’ collaboration with many partners to launch the Healthy Hill Initiative to improve public safety and resident health in Springfield’s Old Hill neighborhood. This initiative has trained a team of Resident Health Advocates who help lead fitness programs for youth and adults as well as advocacy for infrastructure improvements and policy change. 

Prior to joining Way Finders, Sarah was the Executive Director of the Institute for Community Economics (ICE), a national Community Development Financial Institution focused on affordable housing and community land trusts. Previous to her tenure at ICE, Sarah was the founding director of Co-op Initiatives, a community development organization in Hartford, Connecticut where she served for 10 years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Planning and Art from the University of Massachusetts.