On July 27th, 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, non-profits, consulting firms, community activists, and public health departments. The conversations ranged from transportation to health impact assessments. One goal of the workshop was to identify road blocks to this work and ways APA-IL can reduce them. There was some consensus on these road blocks including lack of political will, funding, difficulty with attaining or using data, or a lack of institutional knowledge, that has so far prevented them from creating health conscious plans and programs. This event aimed to bring practitioners to the table to share ideas and insights on how they may have tackled these issues. 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 create new partnerships.
The event was a part of the American Planning Association’s Planners4Health initiative which works to combat lack of physical activity and lack of access to nutritious foods by more strongly integrating public health into planning practices.