Online Program

Community Health Planning and Design: A Health Impact Assessment of Two Community Design Proposals in Harris County, Texas

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Patricia L. Cummings, MPH, PhD, Environmental Public Health Division, Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES), Pasadena, TX
Kevin McNally, MCP, Environmental Public Health Division, Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services, Pasadena, TX
Ellen Schwaller, MUEP, Environmental Public Health Division, Built Environment & Health Impact Assessment Unit, Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, Pasadena, TX
Michael Schaffer, MBA, CPO, Environmental Public Health Division, Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services, Pasadena, TX
Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services, Houston, TX
Introduction: Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (HCPHES) is partnering with two communities in Harris County, Texas – the City of Pasadena and East Aldine Management District, to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of their proposed community design plans including a comprehensive comparison between a city and management district. The proposals included capital improvements, such as retail/commercial, community linkages (e.g., sidewalks, walking/bicycle trails), a community center and health clinic, and a college campus.

Approach: HCPHES applied the six major steps in conducting an HIA – screening, scoping, assessment, recommendations, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation. Key informant interviews, environmental scans, GIS mapping, land use and community plans, and health indicators were used in combination to systematically identify the effects of each proposal on individuals who live, work, and frequent the region.

Results: Results are currently being analyzed. The analysis will describe the HIA process in both communities, including City-Management District differences in infrastructure and decision-making processes; feasibility to institutionalize HIA into the decision-making process; the types of data sources that were utilized to assess health risks and benefits; and present preliminary findings and recommendations for the two community design plans.  

Conclusion: Utilization of the HIA process in community health planning may increase awareness to the benefit of HIA in improving the built environment through a “health in all policies” approach. Based on preliminary results, the HIA should lead to improvements to each of the community design plans by factoring in the health implications posed on their residents and visitors.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Program planning
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the 6 steps of a Health Impact Assessment used to assess the 2 community design proposals in Harris County, Texas. Identify 2 findings from the Health Impact Assessment that are relevant to decision-makers beyond Harris County, Texas.

Keyword(s): Built Environment, Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Patricia L. Cummings, MPH, PhD is the Program Manager of the Built Environment & Health Impact Assessment Unit in Environmental Public Health at Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services. Dr. Cummings’ academic interests and work for the past 8 years have included federally funded research and evaluation studies, health impact assessments, epidemiologic methods, peer-reviewed publications, and other related-efforts in the built environment, such as food safety, nutrition, behavioral economics, and community health planning.
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.