Online Program

Health as a framework for comprehensive planning: Case studies and best practices

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Anna Ricklin, MHS, Research, American Planning Association, Washington, DC
Nick Kushner, MURP, MPIA, Virginia Tech, Washington, DC
Suzanne Schulz, MURP, AICP, Development Center, City of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids, MI
Since 2010, the American Planning Association has worked with CDC to examine the inclusion of public health goals within comprehensive plans and plan implementation. This research identifies best practices for effectively integrating public health goals into plans and successful approaches to cross-sectoral collaboration and community partnerships. Based upon in-depth case studies in seven jurisdictions from across the country, this work examines how Active Living, Environmental Exposures, Food/Nutrition, Health Services and Social/Mental Health are addressed through planning. Using primary sources, including extensive interviews with planners, parks officials, funders, and community organizers, this research is the first of its kind to qualitatively assess how health is discussed and operationalized through local level planning. Conclusions from the study show that leadership building across disciplines—both within government agencies and among government, CBOs, and foundations—leads to the most comprehensive coverage of health-related policies. The use of health data (crash, chronic disease, crime rates) and information on the distribution and accessibility of services and amenities (clinical, transit, retail, recreation) bolsters plans, creates tracking mechanisms, and makes them more relatable to the general public. Such practices also lead to more timely, successful implementation. Highlights from case studies exemplify how local government agencies can build upon partnerships for assistance and resources to translate a comprehensive plan from a policy document into a set of actions to improve community health. As built environment factors increasingly determine public health outcomes, this research offers a clear and targeted avenue for intervention at the highest level of built environment planning.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
List and explain critical public health challenges that can be addressed through comprehensive plans. Name a wide ranging set of potential partners for promoting public health through planning. Identify key elements that lead to successful collaboration among health, planning and community organizations. Demonstrate successful approaches to explaining the links between public health and planning to the general public.

Keyword(s): Policy/Policy Development, Community Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In my role as Manager of APA’s Planning and Community Health Research Center I have overseen the research on planning and public health and worked with CDC project managers and outside academic advisors. I developed an outreach strategy to connect with local officials and community partners, developed research methodology, and identified key data from which to base the final report (forthcoming). My background in health and transportation further qualify me to present on this work.
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.