The National League of Cities (NLC) has chosen 22 cities to participate in a three-year initiative focused on increasing low to moderate-income families and children’s enrollment in healthcare programs.

The NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Family received a $3.25 million grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies’ national KidsWell Initiative. Through the grant, the Children’s Healthcare Initiative will provide the selected cities the necessary information and training to bolster enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to the NLC website. The training will be provided at two leadership academies hosted by the NLC.

The selected cities are:

  • Aurora, Colo.
  • Baltimore, Md.
  • Chula Vista, Calif.  
  • Columbia, Pa.
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Gainesville, Fla.
  • Garden City, Mich.
  • Groesbeck, Texas
  • Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Houston, Texas
  • Jackson, Mich.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Miami Beach, Fla.
  • New Bedford, Mass.
  • Newark, N.J.
  • Omaha, Neb.
  • Portland, Maine
  • Providence, R.I.
  • Savannah, Ga.
  • Tucson, Ariz.
  • Wilson, N.C.

The selection criteria for each city included municipal leadership and dedication to expanding the enrollment of children in health insurance programs as well as a partnership between the city and the community. Further, each city provided a cohesive outline of the positive effects that the leadership academy would provide in the city’s efforts to improve health care participation, according to the NLC website.

Marie Lopez Rogers, NLC president and mayor of Avondale, Ariz., spoke about the importance of increasing healthcare amongst the low-income families and children of each respective city. "Improving children's health is essential to creating healthy, prosperous communities, and I am confident that these trainings will allow city leaders to significantly reduce health disparities in their hometowns. Children and families cannot succeed without a healthy start every day," she said in an NLC press release.

Of the participating cities, eight to 10 will be selected in November to take part in creating a plan to increase enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP based upon the data garnered in the first stage. In June 2014, up to six of these cities will be chosen to begin the implementation phase of the project, according to Dawn Schluckebier, an associate of the NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families.

For more information, visit the program's website.