The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement on Wednesday released its first Harkin on Wellness (HOW) report, recognizing 11 wellness programs from across the country that exemplify best practices for how communities and organizations can invest in health.

The designees were selected from more than 60 submissions, based not only on their individual success but also their ability to be replicated by other communities. The full report is available here.

“We know that our communities and society as a whole are struggling with ongoing health problems, access to healthy food, adequate physical activity, and the struggles and stress of daily living,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (retired), a 40-year member of Congress and founder of The Harkin Institute. “Our goal with the Harkin on Wellness report is to provide the information and tools necessary for community members to build their own initiatives that can help address these challenges.”

Wellness and nutrition is one of four areas where The Harkin Institute focuses its research and education efforts. HOW designees were recognized at the institute’s inaugural Harkin on Wellness Symposium Wednesday. The event drew more than 300 participants for a discussion on preventive care and policy at Drake University, where the institute is located.

“For too long our country’s health care system has been focused on treatment as opposed to preventive care. Unfortunately, this focus has led to increasing strain on our communities, health care systems, and economy. The goal of our first symposium was to create a dialogue on how to re-focus and promote preventive health efforts in our communities, clinics, and politics”

Full list of designees:

  • Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project, Oakland, CA
  • Health Navigation Program- Dallas County Public Health Nursing Services, Dallas County, IA
  • Hunger Task Force: The Fresh Picks Mobile Market, Milwaukee, WI
  • Edible Schoolyard New York, New York, NY
  • Berryhill Center- UnityPoint Health, northern IA
  • Common Threads, Chicago, IL
  • Cooperative Extension System – RWJF Culture of Health Partnership, multi-state initiative
  • DC Central Kitchen, Washington, D.C.
  • Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership, Alameda County, CA
  • Thrive- Baylor Scott & White Health, Baylor, TX
  • Crossroads Community Food Network, Tacoma Park, MD


The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at Drake University is dedicated to the study of issues that define our public life and to engaging students and citizens in constructive dialogue regarding these issues. The Institute seeks to create opportunities for thoughtful policy discourse in a nonpartisan environment. For more information, visit


Address: 2429 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 Phone: 515-271-3623 Fax Number: 515-271-3631 Email: Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.