Fueling Health Equity in Chicago Communities

A $60,000 grant from Chicago Community Trust

August 23, 2017

A $60,000 grant from Chicago Community Trust supports the integration of health equity measures in policy planning. Joining with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) “ON TO 2050” planning process, Adler University will provide guidance to ensure CMAP integrates health equity considerations into all phases of its campaign.

The project supports the general public health sector’s increased efforts to ensure that all people have full and equal access to opportunities that enable them to lead healthy lives. The American Planning Association recommends using comprehensive regional planning processes as a means of incorporating health into long-term growth and development strategies.

“Much of this involves training public health department staff to understand the social determinants of health and to develop strategies for addressing some of them,” said Daniel Cooper, Ph.D., who is overseeing the project. “However, the larger challenge is building the capacity of cross-sectoral partners to monitor the impacts of non-health policies, plans, and decisions on the health outcomes of communities–especially those that are most vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalized.”

Creating better linkages between public health departments and other sectors in areas such as urban planning, is the heart of the Adler and CMAP collaboration. To that end, they will:

  • Convene an interdisciplinary Health Impacts Work Group to support ON TO 2050 plan development.
  • Provide training on Health in All Policies and Health Impact Assessment to CMAP staff and Health Impacts Work Group members.
  • Determine relevant health and wellbeing concerns for region.
  • Engage health and health equity professionals in a listening meeting to inform ON TO 2050.
  • Facilitate ON TO 2050 planning workshops and engagement activities to uncover community perspectives on the health issues embedded within each of the priority topical areas.
  • Create an inventory of regional health to understand baseline data.
  • Create a “scorecard” tool to assess the degree to which health equity policies, principles, and practices are currently in place across the region.
  • Design strategies for achieving equity: Providing community-informed solutions, models for public policy, and approaches to improve social determinants and dismantle social exclusion.