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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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Planners4Health Co-sponsors Healthy/Resilient Homes Leadership Program

By Beth Altshuler and Will Dominie.

APA California Northern Section is thrilled to co-sponsor a “Health and Resilient Homes Leadership Program” with the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII), the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and the Great Communities Collaborative.

This program’s goals are to:

  • Build a cohort of leaders on healthy, resilient, stable housing across Bay Area Health Departments. Increase the knowledge, skills and relationships needed to implement health equity solutions.
  • Foster connections between health departments and sister agencies working on housing quality, stability, and resilience.
  • Support multidisciplinary teams to implement departmental priority solutions to improve housing quality, stability and resilience.
  • Draw down new revenue sources for healthy resilient housing.

BARHII is the coalition of the 11 Bay Area public health departments founded to address the preventable decade-long differences in life expectancy that exist by race, income, and neighborhood. BARHII convenes public health staff across the region to identify emerging public health trends and to advance best practices for health equity. BARHII staff and members have been involved with MTC’s CASA process (They do amazing work and have great resources on their website.)

This partnership is partly an outgrowth of national and state APA initiatives. In 2015, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), national APA teamed up with the American Public Health Association (APHA) to implement a three-year, $9 million program to help communities combat determinants of chronic disease — lack of physical activity and lack of access to nutritious foods. The first two years were called “Plan4Health,” and the third year was called “Planners4Health.” During the third year, in 2017, California APA was awarded a Planners4Health grant to build the capacity of planners to incorporate a public health lens into their work. An outcome of this initiative was to create Planners4Health coordinator positions at each local section who would be responsible for organizing professional development activities to strengthen our ability as planners to address public health issues in our communities.

Healthy and Resilient Homes Leadership Program overview

Over the course of 2019, BARHII’s Built Environment Committee will train and support a cohort of local public health department staff and Bay Area planners to implement their jurisdiction’s priority solutions to improve housing quality, stability, and resilience.

BARHII will conduct trainings with local health department staff to bring them up to speed on all the new housing legislation and planning and funding opportunities. The first of these trainings occurred on March 15, 2019, with representatives from all the local health departments.

This program will also invite staff from county and city housing authorities and planning departments to trainings on health equity; health, housing, and resilience; and public health solutions to these issues. Planners and public health staff will attend implementation trainings to advance solutions.

BARHII will work to pair up planners with their health department staff so they can collaborate on an actual housing and health equity project (see sidebar for some of the implementation topics). BARHII staff and co-sponsors will provide technical assistance and support a community of practice to share lessons across counties. BARHII and project sponsors will also host at least one session exploring and developing solutions to common challenges that emerge from interdepartmental projects.

If you are interested in learning more about this initiative, please fill out the SurveyMonkey form. If you have ideas or requests for other Planners4Health programs, please email Beth Altshuler.

Beth Altshuler, MCP, MPH, is senior associate at Raimi + Associates and is Northern Section’s Planners4Health Coordinator. You can reach her at 



Will Dominie, MURP, is policy manager of Housing and Equitable Development at Bay Area Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII).You can reach him at 

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