Our neighborhoods and the physical landscapes that encompass them shape our health and well-being. EHF has always focused on improving community health, rather than just health care. Our strategic goals and strategies prioritize community-based health interventions that build skills that reduce the risks to health and create a supportive environment for the maintenance of healthy behaviors by addressing the underlying, non-medical causes of poor health.
In 2016, EHF launched the Texas Community Centered Health Home (CCHH) Initiative which invited community clinics and their neighborhood partners to embark upon work which would address the community conditions that affected the health of their patients and neighbors. CCHH clinics and partners focused on intentional action to promote change that was expressed in different ways depending on the needs of the community. For example, many prioritized walkability, recreation, community gardens and other health-promoting resources like playgrounds and grocery stores.
As a result of this important work, EHF worked with the firm of Asakura Robinson, a planning, urban design, and landscape architecture firm, to develop the Healthy Places Toolkit to help communities understand and navigate the regulations and policies pertaining to the built environment, and to identify resources which are available to develop and facilitate these types of projects. Designed as a ‘know-before-you-go’ resource, the intent of the toolkit is to provide relevant information on what communities should know and consider before undertaking built environment projects. It also offers adaptable resources for front-line staff that enable them to learn about an issue and identify approaches for addressing it.
We want to thank all of those who contributed to Healthy Places Toolkit, from the team at Asakura Robinson to the community clinics and their partners whose work was the inspiration for creating it. It’s another example of how we can improve #HealthNotJustHealthCare in Texas and beyond.