Online Program

Potable communities: Planning for greater drinking water access in public places

Monday, November 4, 2013

Nick Kushner, MURP, MPIA, Virginia Tech, Washington, DC
The Let's Move! initiative, the Institute of Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control all cite increasing the amount of access to drinking water in public places as a crucial policy tool to reduce the intake of SSBs. This research analyzes the policy approaches taken by New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis to address this issue and highlights the prevailing structures of data collection surrounding drinking water access. After conducting a policy scan of codes and initiatives that addressed drinking water access throughout the country, case studies were selected based on geographic dispersion and diversity of approach. Interviews were conducted with various department officials and community groups involved in the development and implementation of policies regarding drinking water access in public places in each city. An assessment of organizational structure, interdepartmental collaboration, political drivers, and levels of data tracking was then conducted. Results show that securing political will leads to the most robust success and that interdepartmental collaboration and partnerships with outside groups help garner this will. However, there is often not enough communication between different departments tasked with carrying out drinking water policy and the lack of current data collection makes it difficult to quantify the benefits of these policies. This research serves to promote a conversation about how various government departments, including public health, can work together and track data to design a network of free and accessible drinking water in public places that reduces the intake of SSBs.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify the political drivers that lead to a concerted effort to address drinking water access. Evaluate collaboration between departments with purview over drinking water promotion, installation, maintenance, data collection, and code compliance. Assess the current state of data tracking for drinking water installations, maintenance, and use. Formulate criteria for a successful comprehensive approach to increase drinking water access in public places.

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

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the sole researcher on this project
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.