Online Program

Infusing Health into Regional Planning

Monday, November 4, 2013: 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Where you live can have a great impact on your health. If you live in a neighborhood with safe access to parks, grocery stores, good jobs, good schools, public transit, and other services, you are more likely to be in good health. If your neighborhood lacks these amenities, you are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. Neighborhoods without these essentials are also more likely to be low-income and have a large percentage of people of color. While many health practitioners have been working to engage on local land use and built environment planning processes in order to support health and health equity, many important planning decisions are made at the regional level. Regional transportation, housing, and more recently, sustainability, planning enables the allocation of resources across the region, identifies development patterns and makes critical decisions that dictate how our communities grow and change for years to come. In the last several years a handful of health advocates and practitioners have been working with their Metropolitan Planning Organizations (the regional planning entities) to infuse health into regional planning processes. These multi-field partnerships are at various levels of development but have all experienced different aspects of success and many lessons learned. This session will bring health professionals from across the nation to describe projects focused on infusing health within regional sustainability planning processes. Projects in Sacramento, California that have identified regional health indicators to support MPO identification of areas of need and opportunity; Knoxville, Tennessee, that have provided capacity and support to their MPO as they maximize the role of health within the region; King County, Washington where the health department has been integrated into planning processes, and; Manchester, New Hampshire, where the health department was directly written into a regional sustainability planning grant from the start. With an understanding of the social determinants of health, practitioners are continuing to innovate and expand into new policy and planning arenas typically not in the realm of public health. The regional geography is an important scale to engage with given how regional the economy has become. It’s important for health practitioners to work at this scale in order to ensure healthy, communities of opportunities. Panelists will present examples of health engagement in regional planning within their regions and solicit the audience for strategies that have been successful at ensuring health consideration and engagement at the regional level. A discussion on workforce development needs to support further regional engagement will be included.
Session Objectives: Describe at least four strategies for infusing health into regional planning efforts. Identify indicators for the inclusion of health into regional planning process Assess the value of engaging in regional planning. Explain two to three challenges with the inclusion of health into regional planning processes as well as opportunities for overcoming them.

Infusing health into regional planning   

Ngozi T. Oleru, PhD and Julie West
Breaking new ground: Supporting the inclusion of health and equity into regional planning processes   

Victor Rubin, PhD, Stephanie Welch, MS-MPH, RD, LDN, Ngozi T. Oleru, PhD and Alex Karner, PhD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Community Health Planning and Policy Development

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)