Making Healthy Places a Priority
FY2017 was another key year of investment in healthy community design. In our view, the challenge of scaling this work is two-pronged. While the paradigm-shifting efforts of the Year of Healthy Communities are designed to change hearts and minds, our strategic investments in healthy community design are focused on providing the impact and proof that intentional place-based investment can yield better well-being and health over time.
In FY2017, Vitalyst collaborated with dozens of partners in multiple sectors. We:
- Implemented Reinvent PHX action plans for all five districts along the original Phoenix segment of the light rail line. As fuel for implementation, Vitalyst funded several mini-grants.
- Supported the Arizona Healthfields Initiative, promoting brownfield rehabilitation and reuse of properties as health-promoting neighborhood assets.
- Partnered with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to fund and evaluate six shared-use agreements – that’s six instances of school playgrounds and facilities being opened to neighborhood residents for health and well-being activities beyond school hours.
- Participated as part of the City of Phoenix’s CHOICE Neighborhoods Steering Committee, and led the development of a related Health Impact Assessment (HIA).
- Produced Lessons Learned from Arizona: Promising Practices for Health Impact Assessments – a review of Arizona’s 20 HIA’s to-date, culminating with insights, learnings and recommendations for future implementation.
- Continued our successful coordination of and participation in the Maricopa County Food Systems Coalition, including providing technical assistance to partners and assisting with the Coalition’s statewide food systems assessment.
- Continued to champion food-related policy changes such as: (1) municipal policy guidelines reducing barriers to farmers’ markets; (2) advising the Arizona Department of Agriculture on food access; and (3) drafting a fact sheet regarding water usage, the Arizona Groundwater Act and community gardens.
- Invested staff and leadership resources in Phoenix’s Complete Streets policy and implementation, while simultaneously telling the Phoenix story on a national platform through conferences and affiliations.
With so many places to work in and so many ways to impact those places, “the work” is never done. However, at Vitalyst we believe firmly in fostering opportunities as they arise – in being a catalyst for community health through place-based approaches.