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Improving Health Through Planning

Planners often make assumptions about the health impacts of various planning approaches: “People will walk more if we provide public transit.” “Housing vacancies negatively impact the safety and well being of residents and the neighborhood.” Sound familiar? Across the country, health professionals and planners are teaming up to more closely examine the health effects of planning-related interventions by using Health Impact Assessments (HIAs). While well tested in the public health field, HIAs are an emerging tool for planners interested in supporting plans and activities that yield positive health impacts.

"Improving Health Through Planning" explores both the evaluative HIA approach and how to incorporate health impacts into early planning decisions. During this roundtable, panelists discuss the role of health outcomes in early planning decisions as well as some of assumptions planners make about these outcomes. They present examples of HIAs already in use around the nation and in Chicago and will examine their potential for future projects.

Clarita Santos, director of community health initiatives for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, moderates the roundtable and introduces the panelists: Dr. Rhajiv Bhatia, director of occupational and environmental health, San Francisco Department of Public Health and assistant clinical professor of medicine, University of California San Francisco; Kim Gilhuly, project director at Human Impact Partners, a nonprofit organization that conducts HIAs and trains other groups to conduct them; and Dr. Lynn Todman, executive director of the Institute on Social Exclusion at the Adler School of Professional Psychology.

This event is presented in partnership with the Institute on Social Exclusion at the Adler School of Professional Psychology and the Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED) @ Chicago.

Recorded Wednesday, November 7, 2011 at the Metropolitan Planning Council.

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