County Gets Funding for Public Health Initiative

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The Umatilla County Plan4Health Initiative has received a $130,000 grant from the American Planning Association through its Plan4Health program to combat two determinants of chronic disease — lack of physical activity and lack of access to nutritious foods.

Plan4Health is a multi-year effort that strengthens the connection between planning and public health. Seventy-five percent of the program’s funding supports local and state coalitions working to advance public health through better planning and partnerships, specifically through leveraging skills and evidence-based strategies. The program is implemented in partnership with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and represents a major new collaboration between planners and public health professionals.

Funding for Plan4Health was provided through an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We are pleased to offer a second year of funding to local coalitions working to improve each of their community’s health,” said Anna Ricklin, AICP, manager of APA’s Planning and Community Health Center, which manages the Plan4Health program. “The funding provides fuel to address existing health concerns to create communities of lasting value that are equitable and healthy for all.”

Seventeen coalitions were selected for the Plan4Health program after a competitive review process. The program is being administered through APA’s Planning and Community Health Center that is dedicated to integrating community health issues into local and regional planning practices by advancing research, outreach, education and policy.

“Over the next nine months we will be bringing together key stakeholders from throughout Umatilla County who have a desire to build a healthy community,” Says Meghan DeBolt, director of Public Health for Umatilla County. “In addition to partnership building, we will conduct a Community Needs and Readiness Assessment to identify opportunities and draft a Community Action Plan based upon the assessments findings and community interest – all with a focus on ensuring a healthy future for Umatilla County.”

“This is a rare opportunity for Umatilla County to be on the cutting edge of a new program and to receive federal funds to underwrite ongoing county work,” said Tamra Mabbott, director of Land Use Planning. “The grant will allow the directors of public health and land use planning to identify opportunities to maximize public investment.”

For more information about the Umatilla County Plan4Health Initiative or the developing coalition, contact DeBolt at 541-215-3620.