Pictured left to right at an event to announce the award are:

Evelyn Kelly, Senior Program Manager, Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI); Kevin J. Sexton, President and CEO, Holy Cross Health; Uma Ahluwalia, Director, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services; Michael Rhein, President and CEO, IPHI; Annice Cody, President, Holy Cross Health Network; Sister Ruth M. Nickerson, CSC, Vice Chair, Holy Cross Health Board of Directors; Sister Kathleen Reilly, CSC, Member, Holy Cross Health Board of Directors; Hercules Pinkney, Chair, Holy Cross Health Board of Directors.

(Silver Spring, Maryland) - Trinity Health, one of the country's largest health systems, has awarded a Montgomery County collaborative $500,000 per year for three to five years to implement a range of public health strategies that can reduce obesity, promote tobacco-free living, and address social determinants that impact health outcomes. The collaborative includes Holy Cross Health, a member of Trinity Health, Institute for Public Health Innovation which will serve as the lead agency, and Healthy Montgomery, Montgomery County's local health improvement coalition.

The strategies will focus specifically on policy, systems and environmental changes that offer long-term benefits for community health improvement, with a particular focus on the communities of Gaithersburg, Germantown, Long Branch and Takoma Park.

“Montgomery County has tremendous leadership and collaborative spirit across government, nonprofit and private sectors,” said Michael Rhein, president and CEO of IPHI. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to work together to address the root causes of complex health issues in areas of the county where we’ve identified some critical needs as well as notable assets.”

The announcement was made at an event held Tuesday, March 1 at Holy Cross Hospital on the Kevin J. Sexton Campus of Holy Cross Health.

"Holy Cross Health is proud that its Montgomery County partnership has been selected by Trinity Health for this multi-year, multi-million dollar grant to support and promote healthy lifestyles," said Kevin J. Sexton, president and CEO of Holy Cross Health. "It is a logical extension of the work Holy Cross has done over many years in providing healthcare access to all and creating community partnerships to improve health. We are very appreciative of the high quality partners who have joined together in this effort."

“This grant represents an important milestone in showcasing the strength of our partnership between Holy Cross Health, Institute for Public Health Innovation and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (MCDHHS),” said Uma Ahluwalia, director of MCDHHS. “It advances the agenda of Healthy Montgomery, an effort to improve the health and well-being of our County’s residents. We are humbled and grateful to be chosen and look forward to making important gains in the areas of obesity prevention and smoking cessation.”

The Trinity Health Transforming Communities Initiative requires local matching funds, thus the engagement of funding partners will be critical to the program’s success in Montgomery County. In a later phase of the program, Montgomery County partners will have the opportunity to access low-interest investment loans through a complementary arm of the Trinity Health initiative to support interventions related to key determinants of health, such as access to healthy food, affordable housing and early childhood issues.

“I am delighted that Montgomery County has been selected as one of six communities nationwide to participate in the Transforming Communities Initiative,” said County Councilmember George Leventhal, chairman of the Council’s Health & Human Services Committee and co-chair of the Healthy Montgomery Steering Committee. “This designation confirms that our efforts through Healthy Montgomery to bring together stakeholders to set public health priorities, improve population health and eliminate health disparities are making a real difference.”

For more information contact Kristin Feliciano, chief strategy officer, at


Holy Cross Health, founded in 1963 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, is a comprehensive Catholic health care delivery system that includes two hospitals and a network of community health centers in Montgomery County, Maryland. Holy Cross Hospital, the largest hospital in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, is located on the Kevin J. Sexton Campus of Holy Cross Health in Silver Spring. Holy Cross Germantown Hospital is the first hospital in the nation located on the campus of a community college. Holy Cross Health Network provides primary care at health centers located in Silver Spring, Aspen Hill, Gaithersburg, and Germantown and community education throughout Montgomery County.