The American Planning Association recently released a report, Healthy Planning, evaluating 22 comprehensive and sustainability plans in terms of health issues. Funded by the CDC this report looks at 22 plan documents. As the APA’s web site web site states: “The evaluation assessed the extent to which these plans addressed public health through six broad health-related planning topics:
- Active Living
- Emergency Preparedness
- Environmental Exposures
- Food and Nutrition
- Health and Human Services
- Social Cohesion and Mental Health”
Its an interesting report downloadable at http://www.planning.org/research/publichealth/pdf/evaluationreport.pdf. Anna Ricklin, the current manager of APA’s Planning and Community Health Research Center led the team creating the report. The plans were selected from a 2012 survey that had identified 890 plans using mentioning public health and 45 additional plans identified by the CDC. Plans were selected because they covered a wide range of health topics and also geographical diversity (urban, rural, county, city, etc). The report doesn’t present evaluations of individual plans but examines how many of the plans covered particular topics and issues. It does, however, identify lists of top plan e.g. for active living top jurisdictions included Baltimore County, Washington, DC, and Fort Worth and for food and nutrition the top places where Alachua County (FL), the Oneida Nation, and Baltimore County. A next phase of the project will look in greater depth at some specific case studies.
A number of my Cornell students worked on the report with APA (acknowledged on page 4).
|Oakland, California (Photo by Ann Forsyth)|
- One such tool is the Food Security Assessment. In 2002, the USDA Economic Research Service published a well-known Community Food Security Toolkit: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EFAN02013/ with the entire toolkit at http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/efan02013/efan02013.pdf. There are other toolkits around, with many good tools developed for use internationally in areas likely to suffer substantial food shortages, but this one by aU.S. government agency may be a good place for others to start.
- The USDA web site provides helpful information about food security in the U.S.: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/FoodSecurity/. A 2007 USDA Food Security Assessment provides an example at the international level: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/GFA19/. However, using the methods in the toolkit, local communities can do this as well.
For those not at universities, finding research on the connections between health and places can be a bit tricky. However, a growing number of online resources are meeting these needs. The entry below lists just a few of these:
- Active Living Research, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has sponsored quite a few special issues with free downloadable articles. Many of them are are listed at: http://www.activelivingresearch.org/resourcesearch/journalspecialissues.
- Healthy Eating Research, another RWJF-funded group, also has free special issues: http://www.healthyeatingresearch.org/publications-mainmenu-111/special-journal-issues-mainmenu-118. In addition they have sponsored a number of proceedings and presentations: http://www.healthyeatingresearch.org/publications-mainmenu-111/proceedings-and-presentations-mainmenu-145.
- Pub Med.gov is produced my ythe U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed. With over 20 million citations, some linke to free downloads. I find their advanced search engine to be most helpful: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/advanced.
- The U.S. Transportation Research Board’s Transportation Research Information Service (TRIS) is a terrific database of transportation resources, some related to health and some of these available for free: http://tris.trb.org/.
- The U. S. HUD USER research portal is similar, with a bias toward housing: http://www.huduser.org/portal/bibliodb/pdrbibdb.html.
- A terrific resource for free journals is Highwire, a division of the Stanford University Libraries that aims to make research more accessible: http://highwire.stanford.edu/lists/freeart.dtl. For example back issues of Environment and Urbanization are free after 3 years: http://eau.sagepub.com/ and the American Journal of Public Health after 2 years: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/.
- Examples of journals with where authors pay fees, include the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph) and the International Journal of Health Geographics (http://www.ij-healthgeographics.com/). I have reviewed for the latter (for free) but have mixed feelings about this approach of charging to publish, although it is common in the sciences.
- In planning the online journals with free submission and publication are in related areas such as transport and include the Journal of Transport and Land Use (https://www.jtlu.org/index.php/jtlu).