The American Hospital Association announced July 15 that Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden’s Healthy BR Initiative is one of five programs nationwide that will receive the prestigious NOVA Award for improving community health, a news release said.

The Mayor’s Healthy City initiative coordinates community-wide collaborative efforts to improve health parishwide.

The Healthy BR coalition includes more than 70 partner organizations from local government, community organizations, faith-based groups, schools, businesses and health care providers, including the area’s five acute care hospitals — Baton Rouge General Medical Center, Lane Regional Medical Center, Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and Woman’s Hospital.

“This award is really honoring a collaborative effort and shows what can be accomplished when health care providers put aside their differences and join forces to work together for the common good of the community,” Holden said.

Healthy BR’s partner organizations worked together to conduct a joint community health needs assessment of the Baton Rouge area which highlights the need to focus on obesity, HIV and AIDS, mental and behavioral health and emergency department overuse.

Baton Rouge is the first community in the nation to follow up its health assessment with a common implementation plan that includes all the area hospitals.

Other 2015 NOVA award winners include Bithlo Transformation Effort in Orlando, Florida; Activate Whittier in Downey, California; Community Health: Healthy Eating in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Blood Pressure Advocate Program in Rochester, New York.