Strategies to shape healthier places to live, work, and play
The Population Health Strategies team works with other county departments to build healthy communities in Clackamas County in two main ways:
- Considering the public’s health and safety in policy decisions
- Researching potential health impacts and harms in new county policies, projects and programs
Why This Work is Important
Health starts in our homes, schools and jobs. Shaping the places we live, work, and play to promote health requires planning, assessment and community partnerships– long before illness becomes an issue. The conditions that promote health, also known as the social determinants of health, determine the opportunities people have to lead healthy lives:
Road design influences travel behavior and safety for all road users, whether they are walking, biking, taking the bus or driving. Connected sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit networks provide opportunities for physical activity, reduce time sitting in vehicles and cut the number of vehicles on the road.61676
A safe, stable, and clean place to live promotes health. Not having a roof to sleep under, or being constantly worried about making rent, impacts both physical and mental health, and reduces someone’s ability to get to the doctor or hold a job. Safe, quality housing protects health from things like leaking water, poor ventilation, rodents, air contaminants and other exposures.61676
Development decisions and zoning codes determine where and how we build the places we live, eat, shop, work and play in our communities. This influences the types of housing we are able to live in, where we eat, how we shop, and the way we commute.61676
When we have access to parks and other greenspaces, we can be active and connect with others. Maintaining clean air, water, and soil supports community health.61676
Health and Safety in All Policies
Health and Safety in All Policies is a collaborative approach that emphasizes consideration of the public’s health and safety in policy decisions. The approach is built on the foundation that health comes from a wide range of factors, many of which are outside the capabilities of a health department, and therefore require a shared responsibility and integrated policy response.
The goal is to create opportunities to consider health, safety and equity in the decision-making processes across Clackamas County. Some of our tools are:
- Providing consultations for how projects may affect health and safety.
- Creating a set of recommendations that feed into a planning process or investment strategy.
- Writing policy papers that provides information and options for decision makers on a particular topic area.
- Incorporating health-related data into another department’s reporting or forecasting.
- Convening stakeholders to discuss topics, areas of alignments or opportunities for collaboration.
- Conducting health impact assessments.
Health Impact Assessment (HIA)
A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a research process to understand the ways a policy, program or project might benefit or harm health in our community. The process is flexible, and is designed to provide decision makers with the best possible information about a topic, while engaging the community about their needs.
Each assessment has six steps:
- Screening: Determining if an HIA will be useful in promoting health
- Scoping: Understanding what areas related to health the HIA should review
- Assessment: Collecting data and research on current conditions and potential future health impacts
- Recommendation: Creating recommendations to protect health and avoid harm
- Reporting: Share report with the community and stakeholders
- Evaluation and monitoring: Reviewing the HIA process to improve and ensuring recommendations are used
HIAs that we’ve completed in Clackamas County: