ADVOCATING FOR PUBLIC POLICIES
THAT BUILD HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES
In Arizona, the AALC has assumed a leadership role for the incorporation of healthy community principles and policies into general plan (city/town), comprehensive plan (county) and active transportation (bicycle/pedestrian) plan updates. For example, the AALC successfully worked with several cities/towns throughout Arizona on their general plans including Avondale, Buckeye, Chandler, Goodyear, Mesa, Tempe and Phoenix. This work was led by three driving forces: relationship building, research and advocacy. Today, we talk about some tools and resources that can help communities engage and advocate (on their own, or with us) on similar processes.
The general plan/comprehensive plan update process is mandated by State Statute for every city, town and county in Arizona. Many communities are now up-to-date on their plan update requirements, bringing them into the implementation process. In response, the AALC is now focusing on working with those communities where healthy community policies were incorporated to support aligning plans, strategic priorities and action steps.
For example, AALC members are currently working with the City of Avondale on the update of its Parks, Recreation, Libraries and Trails Master Plan. The focus of the AALC review is to ensure that the healthy community vision identified in the Avondale General Plan 2030 (seen below) is reflected, and as appropriate, implemented through the aligning plan.
AALC's HEALTHY COMMUNITY DESIGN
A key tool used throughout update processes was the Healthy Community Design Public Policy Toolkit prepared by the AALC in partnership with the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association. The Toolkit was used by various planning agencies to select healthy community policies to include in their updates. Additionally, AALC members actively used the Toolkit to review and provide feedback on draft general/comprehensive plans.
Last year, the Toolkit was converted from a physical, spiral bound report to a digital interactive file that can be used to identify which recommended healthy community policies have and have not been incorporated into a plan. To simplify the review process, the toolkit is not only a comprehensive digital file that includes all of the elements of a general plan, but is structured to allow for use of singular files for specific elements of plans such as: land use, circulation (transportation), recreation, energy, safety and water resources.
This makes it easier for someone who, for example, might be reviewing a bicycle and pedestrian master plan to easily access the circulation element without the need to wade through the entire toolkit. This helps make the toolkit become more accessible and will encourage the use of the toolkit as a resource for incorporation of healthy community goals and policies into a variety of public policy documents.
View the toolkit here. Be sure to review the helpful introduction and instructions!
The AALC Leadership Team wants to get more AALC members and friends involved with healthy community advocacy. This can include reviewing planning policy documents using the Toolkit, writing letters to encourage and support healthy community activities, and speaking at public meetings in support of healthy community policies, regulations, plans and programs. If interested, please contact us at email@example.com
ADDITIONAL ADVOCACY TOOLS AND RESOURCES
CDC's Built Environment Assessment Tool and Manual
In 2015, the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division of Community Health introduced The Built Environment: An Assessment Tool and Manual (BE Tool). The BE Tool is a direct systematic observation data collection instrument for measuring the core features and quality of the built environment (buildings, roads, sidewalks, utilities, homes, transit, fixtures, parks and all other man-made entities that form the physical characteristics of a community) related to behaviors that affect health, especially behaviors such as walking, biking, and other types of physical activity. The built environment can impact human health by affecting rates of physical activity, air pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter that can exacerbate asthma and respiratory disease, and emissions of carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change.
Once the assessment is completed, the results can be analyzed to identify recommendations as to how the physical environment can be modified to help create a healthy physical environment. Those recommendations can serve as the basis for individuals and community groups advocating for incorporation of healthy community public policy being incorporated into the decision making process.
Health in All Policies – A Guide for State and Local Communitie
“Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments” was written by the public health facilitators of the California Health in All Policies Task Force and is geared toward state and local government leaders who want to use multi-sector collaboration to promote healthy environments. The guide includes many ways to support multi-sector collaboration for health, and the guide provides a broad range of perspectives and examples.
Health in All Policies – Experiences From Local Health Departments
Health in All Policies (HiAP) is a framework for considering health in processes and decisions throughout government, and developing mechanisms that institutionalize these conditions. There is wide variation in the process, structure, and scope of local HiAP initiatives across the country. While HiAP in the United States is still in its formative stage, local health officials are already pointing to the importance of developing strong foundation for practice.
American Planning Association Advocate’s Toolbox
Making an impact through advocacy can be daunting. APA members have special access to this suite of tools needed to make a lasting impression on Capitol Hill, and more importantly at the state and local level:
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 2:00pm EST
Learn about the Application Process and Grants for the Community Food Projects Grant Program
Webinar presented by New Entry's CFP tech. assistance team.
Register for the webinar here
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project offers training and technical assistance to applicants and potential applicants of the Community Food Projects grant program through USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The FY 2018 Request for Applications was announced recently, and New Entry is here to connect you with resources to assist you in your application and project development processes. Click here to see the CFP resources and assistance page.
Apply for Technical Assistance to Create Healthy, Economically Vibrant Communities
Federal agency partners invite communities to apply for technical assistance to help communities revitalize their economy, improve health, and protect the environment.
Eligibility: See each program's application for specific eligibility requirements.
- Local Foods, Local Places helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and revitalize downtowns through the development of local food systems. To date, nearly 80 communities have benefited from assistance with support from EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority. Application available here.
- Healthy Places for Healthy People helps community leaders and health care partners focus on health as an economic driver and catalyst for downtown and neighborhood revitalization. Health care partners include community health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers), nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities. To date, 10 communities have benefited from assistance with support from EPA and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Healthy Places for Healthy People provides assistance for communities that are economically challenged, including those in rural Appalachia. Application available here.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on October 25, 2017.
2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize
Deadline: Friday, Nov. 3, 2017
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize (the Prize) recognizes communities that have placed a priority on health and are creating powerful partnerships and deep commitments that will enable everyone, especially those facing the greatest barriers to good health, the opportunity to live well. A Culture of Health recognizes that health and well-being are greatly influenced by where we live, learn, work, and play; the safety of our surroundings; and the relationships we have in our families and communities. The Prize elevates the compelling stories of local leaders and community members who together are transforming neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and more—so that better health flourishes everywhere.
More information: Available Here
FY 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs
EDA solicits applications from applicants in rural and urban areas to provide investments that support construction, non-construction and technical assistance. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities.
More information: Available here
Evidence for Action: Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health
Evidence for Action (E4A), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, funds research that expands the evidence base needed to build a Culture of Health. Our mission is to support rigorously designed quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research that yields convincing findings regarding the population health, well-being, and equity impacts of specific policies, programs and partnerships. We are especially interested in research examining the health impacts of programmatic or policy interventions that address factors outside the domain of health care services or public health practice.
More information: Available here