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Plan4Health: Fighting Deadly Chronic Diseases Through Better Planning



How community design impacts lives


In This Episode:

[01:31] Elizabeth Hartig is introduced.

[01:40] Elizabeth shares how she became involved in planning for health issues.

[02:23] Elizabeth tells about the American Planning Association (APA).

[03:02] Are there specific objectives for the Plan4Health initiative?

[04:08] Elizabeth discusses the degree to which community design impacts health versus access to healthcare.

[05:05] How can we move to more healthy community design?

[07:18] Elizabeth shares her thoughts on what needs to be done to get the healthy-community movement moving at a faster rate.

[08:36] Elizabeth provides the degree to which her work focuses on communities that have a lower quality of health outcomes and what needs to be done for those communities to be healthier.

[10:54] What needs to be done to get the people who are building communities to be more responsive to the urban, walkable community market demand.

[12:37] Where can people learn more about Plan4Health?

[13:53] Elizabeth provides the first steps to making healthier communities.

[15:38] Mike and Elizabeth talk about the biggest mistakes planners make.

[16:59] Elizabeth mentions if there is an expected end to the Plan4Health program or if it’s ongoing.


Elizabeth Hartig joined the American Planning Association (APA) as a project coordinator for the Planning and Community Health Center in January 2015. Immediately prior, Elizabeth was a program officer with the Chicago Foundation for Women, leading the foundation’s volunteer grantmaking committee, managing the final evaluation plan for each proposal and supporting the foundation’s grantee community. Elizabeth received her master of arts in social administration from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and has worked in a variety of direct service and administrative positions.




Plan4Health is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center is an awardee of the CDC’s National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention funding opportunity. Plan4Health is one community within the larger project — sharing lessons learned and expertise with the American Heart Association; the National Women, Infants, and Children; Society for Public Health Education; and Directors of Health Promotion and Education.

Take Away Quotes:

“My background is actually in social work, so I worked with a community foundation in Chicago, really thinking about how we can reach vulnerable populations, how we can support families and women and girls, and a lot of our work focused around places, so where people were and how that impacted their lives and their health and their choices. So when the opportunity to work with a Plan4Health project came up, I was really excited to take this to a deeper level and really think about how the design of our communities can impact our lives.”

“APA is a membership organization. We have about 38,000 members across the country. Our members are working at all different levels, with local communities, in regions, really thinking about how we can create healthy, vibrant communities.”

“APA was awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September of 2014, so we are in our second-and-a-half year of the project, and, really, the goal of the award and the goal of our overall project is to prevent chronic disease. So, how do we do that? We can make it easier to walk and bike and increase opportunities for physical activity, and we can also make it easier to get healthy food.”

“I think a lot of times we think about health equalling healthcare, but, really, most of your health is not happening at the doctor’s office, it’s happening in your daily life.”


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2017 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Local Government Commission

Planners4Health Project

American Planning Association (APA)

APA’s Planning and Community Health Center


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