198980 Integrating health considerations into built environment planning processes

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 10:30 AM

SaraT Lehman Mayer, MPP , Health Policy & Planning, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Crispin Delgado, MPP , Health Policy and Planning, San Mateo County Health Department, San Mateo, CA
The San Mateo County Health System, in collaboration with leadership in the Department of Housing, Parks Department, Public Works Department, Planning and Building Department and regional planning agencies, developed an initiative to integrate health considerations into built environment planning processes. Although many organizations address the impacts of neighborhood design on quality of life, few have implemented long-term initiatives to improve the health of residents by addressing physical infrastructure, neighborhood assets and planning policies at the local level.

The Health and the Built Environment initiative sought to bring a health perspective to regional planning decision making and local city planning agencies. Key strategies included the development of a cross-sectoral working group to share information; the development of fact sheets on the relationship between health and the built environment; the allocation of shared staff between the partner agencies; the development of local data collection for a Retail Food Environments Index (RFEI), the development of park equity maps identifying gaps in access to natural physical activity, the mapping of walking routes and sidewalk obstructions by high-school age youth and the convening of key policy makers.

This effort resulted in the application of health principles to six local planning process to date; the obtainment of a competitive funding award to a joint steering committee representing health, planning and housing perspectives; the development of regular data collection and reporting on the RFEI.

Learning Objectives:
1. List data analysis methods used to measure improvements in the built environment 2. Describe approaches for cross-sectoral collaboration and the role of health professionals in planning processes 3. Discuss key prevention strategies for improving the health of communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee the built environment work for the San mateo County Health System.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.