199824 Building a Movement for Health Impact Assessments in Oregon: Opportunities, Challenges and Lessons from the Field

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:15 PM

Christopher M. Kabel, MPH , Northwest Health Foundation, Portland, OR
The intersection of the built environment and public health has garnered growing attention in recent years. A substantial body of research clearly demonstrates the impact that community design, transportation infrastructure and land use policies exert over opportunities for healthy behaviors. As the planning and public health professions rediscover opportunities for collaboration, it is important to identify practices and strategies that have led to changes in policy and practice. Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) have emerged as one tool for ensuring health considerations are incorporated into projects and policies. A diverse group of public health professionals in Oregon has been working together to build a healthy places movement using a variety of tools, including HIAs, that weave health objectives into local, regional and statewide planning and transportation frameworks.

Oregon presents an illustrative case study, as three major policy frameworks are being revised concurrently: the statewide land use plan, the regional (Metro) transportation plan, and the City of Portland comprehensive plan. Oregon has grown an active land use advocacy community, which has been most strongly identified with the traditional environmental movement, with little connection to public health. In addition, organizations focused on the promotion of social equity have historically not participated in these policy processes, despite the opportunities to address health disparities through land use and transportation strategies. This presentation describes how a combination of philanthropic investment, cross-sectoral convening and training opportunities has built a cohesive healthy places movement focused on ensuring that major policy decisions include health promotion as an explicit goal.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the opportunities that public health professionals and community advocates have to weave health considerations into state and local land use and transportation policies. 2. Explain the role that health philanthropy can play in building the field, convening partners and advancing policy objectives. 3. Demonstrate how cross-sectoral partnerships have achieved some success in incorporating health considerations into planning frameworks.

Keywords: Community Planning, Public/Private Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have direct experience in building partnerships to advance health-promoting land use and transportation policies (the subject of this presentation), and have experience presenting on the topic locally (for example, at the Healthy, Active Oregon conference and the Oregon Public Health Association).
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.