Jun 8, 2016, 11:00 AM, Posted by
Pamela Russo, Rebecca Morley
Collaboration between public health and housing sectors can vastly improve the quality of life within communities across the nation.
Editor’s Note: In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act this month, we are republishing a post from 2016 highlighting the impact of housing on health equity.
The house that Robert and Celeste Bridgeford bought in Curry County, Oregon over a decade ago wasn’t just old. It was dangerous. Water damage and thin walls wracked by decades of severe storms unleashed wide swaths of mold. The damaged floors put the whole family at risk of falling, especially Robert, disabled years ago by a work injury. “We had always planned to replace the house, but... then...life happened,” says Celeste.
The Bridgeford family—like a third of Curry County’s residents—lives in a prefab house that is manufactured in a factory and then transported to the site. About 40 percent of the prefab housing in Curry County is substandard. With little industry in the area, many families struggled to find work and couldn’t afford to fix or replace their homes.
This all started changing in 2013 when community groups, non-profits and public agencies joined to propose a pilot project for the state of Oregon. This project would, for the first time, provide low cost loans or other funds to help prefab home-owners repair or replace their homes.
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Jun 22, 2015, 3:01 PM, Posted by
Health impact assessments are a powerful way to help communities think broadly about the health implications and equity aspects of policies and projects, so that a comprehensive approach to health becomes routine.
Last week, almost 500 attendees arrived in the nation’s capital for the 2015 National Health Impact Meeting. The impressive turnout is a testament to the growing importance of health impact assessments (HIA) as a tool to improve community health outcomes.
As this year’s meeting attendees know, an HIA is a process that helps evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project or policy outside of the traditional health arena. The findings from a completed HIA can provide valuable recommendations to help communities more effectively foster better and more equitable health among their citizens.
The use of HIAs has grown rapidly from just a few dozen in 2000 to more than 350 completed HIAs today. Dozens more are in the works. The earliest HIAs were mostly applied to the built environment, such as zoning, land use and transportation decisions. However, today the field has expanded to include such areas as energy policies, criminal justice and living wages.
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Apr 10, 2015, 12:55 PM, Posted by
The U.S. Army is gearing up for public health accreditation for the first time, a development that opens the door for collaboration between military and civilian public health departments—leading to better health for all.
A decade ago, there was a common maxim heard about governmental public health departments that declared “if you’ve seen one health department; you’ve seen one health department.”
This tongue-in-cheek expression arose in part from the federalist administration of public health, which has resulted in public health codes that vary by state, and department-specific financing and structure. Additionally, this maxim reflected a fragmented and dysfunctional national system that lacked consistency across public health settings.
Today, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is working to realize a new era of public health defined by the application of strong and universal public health standards. That’s why the Foundation is a proud supporter of the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) and their efforts to establish national performance standards for public health agencies across the United States.
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