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Health Happens Here has Arrived!

Image of Dr. Ross
President and CEO
Oct 15, 2012

We’re pretty excited here at The California Endowment. Our partnership with The California Museum in Sacramento has turned out a state-of-the-art, interactive exhibit that challenges our notions of where health really happens. Complete with seven high-tech games and two interactive stations, the exhibit is sure to get folks talking.

Developed over a two-year period, the “Health Happens Here” exhibit reflects what our 14 Building Healthy Communities sites across the state are working to achieve: that every family, regardless of where they live or their income level, has access to affordable healthy foods and clean water, safe places to play and exercise, and schools that encourage students to be physically active throughout the day, are free of junk foods and junk drinks, and support common-sense discipline policies.

The exhibit brings these concepts to life in a particularly fun and engaging way so as to resonate with California’s children and youth.  But there’s plenty for adults in the exhibit as well.

Life-sized soda machines spout animated facts about the negative health impacts of junk drinks and extol the benefits of water. Go through the virtual school lunch line and see if you can build a healthy meal that meets federal nutrition standards. Save kids from falling through the cracks by helping them access the safety nets they need to grow up strong, healthy and ready to succeed. Go grocery shopping in a food desert and see what a million Californians face every day. There’s even a game that makes you work up a sweat and so much more. It’s a learning bonanza that’s also fun.


There are also numerous videos – a number of which were produced by youth – that provide real-life examples of communities and organizations across the state that are working to make health happen in their neighborhoods.

In fact, the contributions of youth in our Building Healthy Communities sites really helped shape the exhibit. They’re living these issues every day so it had to pass muster with them before we were satisfied with the end result.

And did I mention that the exhibit will generate $100,000 per year for the next 10 years in donations to 10 grassroots organizations in California? Each organization will get $10,000 from The California Endowment to help make health happen in their respective communities. Organizations will rotate over the years so that up to 100 organizations will benefit over the next 10 years.

But there is a serious side to all of this, too.

Too many neighborhoods lack the necessary ingredients for health and we see considerably higher rates of preventable diseases and health conditions that are largely a result of these inequities. The California Endowment and its partners in the 14 Building Healthy Communities sites are working to bring equity in health to all Californians. But we can’t do it alone.

This exhibit not only seeks to educate but also to motivate Californians to join us. There’s so much you can do to make health happen in your community. You just need to take that first step.

Click here to see the award the exhibit won from the American Alliance of Museums

Click here to see what KPIX-TV's Dr. Kim Mulvihill has to say about the exhibit.

Click here to see what Sacramento's CBS affiliate KOVR-TV has to say about the exhibit.

Click here to read the Sacramento Bee article about the exhibit.

Click here to read Sacramento Business Journal article about the exhibit.

Click here for some suggestions on how you can make health happen.

The Health Happens Here exhibit at The California Museum opens on October 16, 2012.

An online version of the exhibit is also launching on October 16th. Visit The California Museum’s official Health Happens Here web site to check it out.

Here’s a list and description of the games and interactive stations:

·     Heads Up: An immersive experience that explores factors that add and subtract from the health of a community.  Players use their bodies to grab and collect items that affect community health.

·     Fight Blight: A hands-on station where players are challenged to think about the ways their surroundings impact health, while making decisions about community design.

·     Stop the Glop:  A this-or-that game that engages players to select items from a school lunch line that will best support their nutritional needs so they can thrive.

·     Check it Out:  A game of comparisons where players select healthy food at a grocery store, and are then challenged to purchase another health-conscious meal at a convenience store.

·     Stop the Drop:  A high-speed, think on your feet game that asks players to match kids with the support they need as they climb the rope to high school graduation and adulthood. 

·     ¡Si, Se Puede!:  A team-building collaborative game in which four players must work together to navigate a ball suspended by three ropes to targets on a game board in order to change their community for the better.

·     Peacekeeper:  An interactive journey that asks players to answer questions over the course of the school day to build peer support and prevent bullying.

·     State of Health: An educational station that allows players to enter their zip code and have their picture taken.  The photo is then utilized in a mosaic of images and life expectancies across a map of California.