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Aug. 30, 2021

MultiCare, Pierce County and Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Join Forces with Blue Zones Activate to Strengthen the County’s Health

Pierce County is getting a chance to see how its community health and well-being can be transformed through a special event with MultiCare Health System’s Center for Health Equity & Wellness, Pierce County, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and Blue Zones, whose work is based on their 20 years of research and scientifically proven lessons of longevity, health, and happiness from the longest-living cultures in the world.

A virtual community summit will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Sept. 27 where participants will discuss community engagement and improved health and standard of living outcomes.

“Working with like-minded organizations to address health disparities in the communities we serve is at the core of our mission of partnering for healing and a healthy future,” said MultiCare President and CEO Bill Robertson. “It is a privilege to partner with Pierce County and Virginia Mason Franciscan Health to bring Blue Zones to this region.”

Research shows that the location where people live have a bigger influence on their health and well-being than genetics. Blue Zones tackles this “zip code effect” with their proven model of making healthier choices easier in all the spaces and places people spend the most time. By focusing on making permanent and semi-permanent changes to the Life Radius–the area close to home where people spend 90% of their lives–Blue Zones has helped communities around the country spark transformations that reduced obesity, smoking, and stress community-wide; improved employee and student productivity; and boosted economic vitality and development.

“We are committed to improving the health and well-being of the residents of Pierce County,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier. “Currently, our county ranks near the bottom of the state in terms of health outcomes so we know we have some work to do. I’m excited to welcome Blue Zones to our community as a partner in this effort.”

With MultiCare’s Center for Health Equity & Wellness coordinating the work, Blue Zones will work with local leaders to conduct a feasibility analysis, assessing the county’s current state of wellbeing and identifying areas of opportunity for improvement.

The pandemic has only reinforced our commitment to find collective solutions that lead to more equitable health care outcomes for our communities,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

“Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is proud to partner in this important work. Together, we can drive toward a healthier and more prosperous future for Pierce County,” said Gary S. Kaplan, MD, CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

“We are excited to work with such forward-thinking leaders and partners and to learn more about the community. Together, we will create a well-being plan to help determine how to make Pierce County a healthier and happier place to live, work, grow up, and grow old with vitality,” said Ben Leedle, the chief executive officer of Blue Zones, and co-founder of Blue Zones Project.

After the assessment, the Blue Zones team will produce a report on the findings, along with a detailed proposal that discusses top opportunities and recommendations.

“I am excited to see the internationally recognized Blue Zones coming to Pierce County to help guide us in change to improve community health and life expectancy for Pierce County residents,” said Pierce County Councilmember Marty Campbell.

Those interested in attending virtually via Zoom can RSVP here and learn more here.

About MultiCare

MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 20,000 team members, including employees, providers and volunteers. MultiCare has been caring for our community for well over a century, since the founding of Tacoma’s first hospital, and today is the largest community-based, locally governed health system in the state of Washington.

MultiCare’s comprehensive system of health includes numerous primary care, urgent care and specialty services — including MultiCare Indigo Urgent CarePulse Heart Institute and MultiCare Rockwood Clinic, the largest multispecialty clinic in the Inland Northwest region.

MultiCare’s network of care includes 11 hospitals:

About Pierce County

The second largest county in Washington state, Pierce County features 23 distinct communities for nearly 1 million residents.  Whether climbing iconic Mt. Rainier, playing 18 holes at U.S. Open host Chambers Bay Golf Course, or enjoying miles of waterfront access, Pierce County residents have an amazing place to live, work and raise a family.

About Virginia Mason Franciscan Health

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is an integrated health system serving the Puget Sound region of Washington state, offering access to some of the country’s most prestigious experts and hospitals that are internationally known for superior quality. With a team of 18,000 team members, including nearly 5,000 employed physicians and affiliated providers, we unite the brightest health care minds in the region to provide world-class clinical excellence at 11 hospitals and nearly 300 sites of care throughout the Puget Sound area. We are committed to caring for the most vulnerable in our communities, including the poor and underserved, providing more than $300 million in community benefit – free, subsidized, and reduced cost health care and programs.

About Blue Zones®

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The company’s work is rooted in explorations and research done by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner in Blue Zones regions around the world, where people live extraordinarily long and happy lives. The original research and findings were released in Buettner’s bestselling books The Blue Zones Solution, The Blue Zones of Happiness, The Blue Zones, Thrive, and Blue Zones Kitchen. Using original Blue Zones research, Blue Zones works with cities and counties to make healthy choices easier through permanent and semi-permanent changes to our human-made surroundings. Participating communities have experienced double-digit drops in obesity and tobacco use and have saved millions of dollars in healthcare costs. For more information, visit

Contacts: Holly Harvey
[email protected]

Libby Catalinich
[email protected]