Spreading the Word Is Key in Healthy Community Design

Articulating the benefits of healthy design is an essential component of community-based work, ensuring a range of perspectives support the creation of vibrant, sustainable places. Sharing the value of healthy communities also makes the case for continued investments in our cities, towns, and villages.

On June 14, planners and public health professionals came together to discuss the importance of communicating about healthy communities as part of the Planners4Health curriculum series.

The panelists, from Prevention Institute, Berkeley Media Studios Group, and Healthy Communities (Columbus, Indiana), shared their experiences and expertise.

Sandra Viera, MPA, and Rachel Bennett, MPH, MURP, from Prevention Institute, led the discussion, introducing key messages about the benefits of chronic disease prevention. Healthy communities save lives and money; make economic sense; emphasize local solutions; emphasize value of collaboration and partnership; and addresses multiple community priorities.

Fernando Quintero, from Berkeley Media Studios Group, discussed our role in shaping health debates. Recognizing that we bring our own ways of understanding the world to every conversation, Quintero defined frames: our mental structures for interpreting our experiences. In order to move from messages about individual behavior change to policy, systems, and environmental improvements, we need to reframe the conversation about health.

Laura Garrett presented the experiences of the Healthy Communities coalition, building on Fernando's strategic recommendations and demonstrating how communications strategies have been implemented in Columbus, Indiana. A Plan4Health grantee from Cohort One, Garrett shared her experiences by telling the story of Westenedge Drive and the lessons the coalitions learned. In addition to reframing their message, coalition members developed a series of targeted outreach materials and launched the Go Healthy Columbus website.

Watch the full webinar here:

Top image: Thinkstock image.

About the Author
Elizabeth Hartig is project associate for APA's Planning and Community Health Center.

June 29, 2017

By Elizabeth Hartig