Advancing Healthy Communities: How to Sustain the Momentum

Sustaining momentum after the close of a project can often feel like a daunting task, particularly when facing limited resources and competing demands. But sustainability is more than finding that next grant.

On July 12, planners and public health professionals came together to discuss the importance of sustainability in the final session of the Planners4Health curriculum series.

Watch the full webinar here:

Panelists from Prevention Institute, ChangeLab Solutions, and the Joint Call to Action for Healthy Communities shared their experiences and expertise.

Rachel Bennett and Sandra Viera from Prevention Institute led the discussion, articulating key elements for communities to consider when approaching sustainability:

  • Engage and support leadership building in the community
  • Increase the capacity to engage in policy, systems, and environmental change
  • Build multisector/multi-field partnerships
  • Make the case to decision makers and funders about the ongoing value of the work

Shauneequa Owusu of ChangeLab Solutions continued the conversation, sharing her work supporting the East Harlem Community Alliance's initiative to advance age-friendly places. The coalition in East Harlem prioritized a participatory approach to the planning process, leveraging a health in all policies strategy to ensure the work launched during the project would continue.

The final portion of the webinar highlighted partnerships as an essential vehicle for sustainability. Launched in April 2017, the Joint Call to Action to Promote Healthy Communities brings together eight national organizations, calling upon members to collaborate with one another to create healthier, more equitable communities.

Participating organizations include:

Rachel Banner from the National Recreation and Park Association, Shawn Balon from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Katherine Robb from the American Public Health Association, and Matthew Welker from the American Institute of Architects, shared their respective approaches to advancing healthy communities through professional associations.

Top image: Members of Bike Ajo, the Plan4Health project in Ajo, Arizona, prepare for a bike trip. Photo courtesy Bike Ajo.

About the Author
Elizabeth Hartig is project associate for APA's Planning and Community Health Center.

August 4, 2017

By Elizabeth Hartig