Leadership for Healthy Communities Project

  • ASTHO, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Leadership for Healthy Communities (LHC) program, is working to address childhood obesity. Through this project, we awarded grants to South Carolina, Arizona and Kentucky to strengthen their health agencies’ capacity to undertake a health impact assessment (HIA) of a policy or project that impacted access to healthy eating and active living. Each state documented their process for building capacity for HIAs and their reports can be found below:

  • Arizona

    The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), in partnership with Maricopa County Department of Public Health formed a multidisciplinary team to work on the HIA project. The expansive reach of this multidisciplinary team was critical to building capacity throughout Arizona. The Arizona HIA team exposed undergraduate urban planning students to the HIA pro-cess by partnering with Arizona State University (ASU) College of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning to complete the HIA on the proposed modern street car in Tempe, Arizona that will connect the current light rail system 3 miles south to a major arterial road, passing through business corridors, ASU and residential areas. In addition, the Arizona HIA team provid-ed training opportunities to land use decision makers at several conferences and also exposed 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties on integration of HIA in public health work.


    The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) used this first exposure to HIA to train KDPH staff and a multi-disciplinary HIA team through webinars and an in depth training. KDPH is now training others throughout the state, presenting the HIA tool at a state-wide conference targeting the business community and also training 35 percent of local health departments in the state. In addition, KDPH staff, the HIA team, and Western Kentucky University, conducted an HIA of a proposed Kentucky Worksite Wellness Tax Credit bill. KDPH has used HIA project findings to provide input to the Kentucky State Chamber 2012 legislative health policy agenda which led to the introduction of a worksite wellness bill for the 2012 legislative session. KDPH staff now serves as the only state level HIA technical assistance experts for Kentucky. Download the HIA and Executive Summary.

    South Carolina

    The South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, in partnership with The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health developed a network of interested stakeholders in a variety of sectors across the state to engage in conversation about how to best promote and utilize HIAs. Key findings include the need for education and training for policy makers and their staff to increase their knowledge about HIAs. Other conclusions include the need for establishing a mechanism for obtaining and generating possible policies and/or projects that are under consideration for which an HIA would be feasible and relevant, supporting local HIAs in communities throughout the state, identifying sustainable funding sources, building increased and enhanced capacity for measuring and monitoring the data that would likely be used in HIAs, defining data standards and developing a central data repository for HIAs. SC's HIA Steering Committee examined the potential health impacts of a proposed re-striping and “road diet” of a downtown Spartanburg arterial road. Download the HIA.