Multi-agency community efforts to focus on health equity and physical activity 

CONCORD, NH (March 24, 2015) — In its first-ever grant under a new outreach program, the national American Planning Association (APA) has chosen to support health equity and active transportation in Nashua with $125,000 of funding.

The grant was awarded to the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) as part of a 15-month program called “Plan4Health,” a new initiative led by APA’s Planning and Community Health Center program to improve capacity of planning and public health professionals in working to advance community based strategies that improve health. The grant will support efforts to improve access to physical activity and nutritious foods.

Guided by the understanding that how a community is designed has a direct effect on the health of its citizens, the funding is allowing APA, for the first time, to offer monetary resources to promote public health by integrating planning and public health efforts in 18 communities across the U.S., including Nashua. 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 a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“This is an exciting new opportunity to improve the health of our communities through diverse partnerships,” said Anna Ricklin, AICP, manager of APA’s Planning and Community Health Center. “Collaboration is key if we want to continue to create communities of lasting value that are equitable and healthy for all residents.”

Leaders at the NNECAPA say the funding will allow the group to work in collaboration with the City of Nashua, Nashua Regional Planning Commission, New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA) and Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH) to advance community-based strategies to provide for equitable access to physical activity for people who live, learn, work or play in the Greater Nashua area.

The Plan4Health program builds on a strong multi-agency foundation in Nashua, which has a successful history of working collaboratively with HEAL NH and other organizations and individuals to improve health in the Greater Nashua Area through its Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).

Recent examples of that collaboration include the Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services leading a 2-year project, supported by HEAL NH and other organizations, to improve access to healthy food and physical activity in the Tree Streets Neighborhood. Several initiatives along the Heritage Rail Trail in Nashua included new lighting, community gardens, colorful building murals, and cleanup of overgrown areas along the trail.

“This is the kind of funding that helps our city build on the existing efforts to provide a safe and healthy community environment in all Nashua neighborhoods,” said Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau. “We have strong working partnerships already, within our city departments as well as in Nashua’s business and non-profit communities, and this funding will strengthen our connection with NNECAPA and the NHPHA and will add to our collaborative opportunities.”

About HEAL NH: The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) NH campaign began in 2008, and is led by the Foundation for Healthy Communities, a non-profit New Hampshire organization focused on improving health and health care through innovative partnerships. HEAL NH leads one of New Hampshire’s largest statewide collaborations of organizations to implement the 2014-2019 Healthy People Healthy Places Plan, a statewide action plan to guide healthy eating and active living activities and policies in the Granite State. Funding is provided by HNH Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Endowment for Health, NH Charitable Foundation and NH Department of Health and Human Services. 

About APA: The American Planning Association (APA) is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning – physical, economic and social – so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

About APHA: The American Public Health Association (APHA) is a Washington, D.C.-based member organization for public health professionals in the United States. Founded in 1872, APHA is the oldest and most diverse organization of approximately 30,000 public health professionals.  APHA champions the health of all people and all communities and has as its goal is to make the United States the healthiest nation in one generation by 2030.

Media Contact       

Michelle Morel. Morel Communications 
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