Plan4Health connects communities across the country, funding work at the intersection of planning and public health. Anchored by American Planning Association (APA) chapters and American Public Health Association (APHA) affiliates, Plan4Health supports creative partnerships to build sustainable, cross-sector coalitions.
The Illinois Planners4Health task force convened in an effort to carry on the work of the three Plan4Health coalitions in the preceding years. The task force consisted of a representative from each of the Plan4Health coalitions and emphasized diversity in terms of geography and discipline.
The task force embarked on an assessment to inventory existing efforts and a survey to gauge interest in the topic of integrating health and planning. The survey received 259 complete responses, 38 percent of which were from American Planning Association (APA) members — one indication of the broad reach of the survey.
The survey was designed to assess current efforts as well as gauge interest in the topic of integrating health and planning.
The survey also asked specific questions about the individual’s interest in the topic versus their organization in order to assess capacity. The survey results provided a good snapshot of the ways that American Planning Association – Illinois Chapter (APA-IL) may support early adopters of health and planning initiatives to get more organizations comfortable tackling such programs.
In July 2017, the APA-IL hosted approximately 70 professionals interested in integrating the fields of health and planning through the Advancing a Healthy Community Workshop. Attendees participated in small table conversations based on topics lead by subject matter experts. Attendees represented various levels of government, nonprofits, consulting firms, community activists, and public health departments.
In addition to small table discussions, there was a resource library available to participants. The resources provided examples and case studies in public health and planning programs. Participants left with new ideas to implement health based planning strategies as well as new connections to foster partnerships.
Based on the assessment and the workshop, the task force decided that the most helpful deliverable to come out of Planners4Health initiative would be some sort of “infrastructure” to facilitate idea-sharing and to connect practitioners.
The result is the website you are currently visiting, the Healthy Communities Illinois microsite. The microsite features a forum that is password-protected and moderated to ensure a high quality of information. The site will be designed to be easy to use and impactful as a “one stop shop” for the integration of health and planning in Illinois.
Learn more about the APA-IL’s efforts to advance healthy planning:
About the Author: Courtney Kashima, AICP is an urban planner and small business owner of Muse Community + Design in Chicago.
Feature image at top: Planners4Health roundtable in Illinois. Photo courtesy Planners4Health Illinois Task Force.
Reproduced with permission of the author. Originally posted at https://www.planning.org/blog/blogpost/9135471/