Plan4Health Success Story: Taking Action in Ohio

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.

Planners4Health at the APA Ohio Chapter level focused on two initial questions:

  • How can APA Ohio continue the momentum established at the national level?
  • How can APA Ohio disseminate experiences and lessons learned from Cohorts One & Two to membership in an impactful way?

The task force determined three (3) major deliverables for this project:

  • Engage APA Ohio members through a chapter-wide survey
  • Conduct a targeted roundtable with key stakeholders across the state
  • Develop a final summary of project findings and establish action items

Chapter-Wide Survey

The purpose of the survey was to get a snapshot of the current status of health and planning in Ohio. Our aim was to understand the organizations and regions engaging in planning and public health efforts, the public health problems that exist across the state of Ohio, and the technical assistance and tools still needed to bring both planning and public health professionals to the same table in efforts to address public health issues. The survey was built for both an audience of both planning and public health professionals.

We received 145 responses from both APA Ohio members and public health professionals across 34 Ohio counties. Approximately 10 percent of the respondents were public health professionals.

View the survey results

Plan4Health coalition members lead a neighborhood pride ride in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Elizabeth Hartig.


In July 2017, the task force conducted a roundtable with the Ohio Public Health Association (OPHA). Outcomes included their understanding of the Plan4Health initiative and a joint interest in collaborating on a regular basis, with more action items below.

Action Items

1. The APA Ohio board is adopting the results of the assessment survey as an ongoing element of the APA Ohio Legislative Committee and Education Committee. Specifically:

Legislative Committee

  • Advocate for a Health and Equity in All Policies approach to policy and decision making at state and local levels.
  • Identify policy and advocacy champions at the state and local levels that will help facilitate the mission.
  • Prepare chapter position statements on key issues related to planning and public health.
  • Work with established cross-sector partners on policy and advocacy initiatives to build a strong front for the mission.

Education Committee

  • Work with established cross-sector partners on educational events such as conferences and workshops to help integrate planning and public health on a tangible scale.
  • Establish a presentation packet (PowerPoint and handouts) for local planning events and commissions to relay the importance of planning and public health, ways in which to incorporate each other, and tools/resources to help facilitate the process.

2. OPHA Public Policy Institute (March 2018)

  • Yearly one-day OPHA conference in Columbus that sees ~75 attendees from across the State of Ohio.
  • Focus is on learning about public health, social determinants of health and the impact on education, and the importance of incorporating health and equity into all policies.
  • Idea is to make this a joint conference in 2018 by incorporating planning into the discussions throughout the day and ways in which to collaborate between public health and planning.

3. Ohio Public Health Combined Conference (May 2018)

  • Yearly three-day OPHA conference in Columbus that sees about 150 attendees from across the State of Ohio
  • Focus is on updating those interested in public health on current trends and issues within the scope of public health
  • Idea is to table at this event, and coordinate a session(s) on topics related to the outcome of the Public Policy Institute conference

Top image: Riverfront in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Randall L. Schieber.

About the Author
Christine Dersi Davis, AICP, is executive director of APA's Ohio Chapter.

July 12, 2018

By Christine Dersi Davis, AICP