In an effort to heighten the existing collaboration between planning and public health professionals in Iowa, the Plan4Health initiative in Linn County, Iowa — Planning Healthy Iowa Communities — convened a joint board meeting with the Iowa Public Health Association and the American Planning Association Iowa Chapter board members in November.
The groups met separately before joining together in Des Moines with a facilitator. Through discussions during the meeting, the boards were able to see the extent of connection between the IPHA and APA’s Iowa Chapter. Both groups expressed the value-add of taking time to meet and identify opportunities for collectively impacting health in Iowa.
“It was great to see how quickly people began to connect the dots as to how planners and public health professionals could collaborate.” said IPHA Executive Director Jeneane Moody. “By the end of the meeting the group had developed a lengthy list of potential next steps from cross-pollination of conferences to resource sharing to ‘take your planner to work’ day.
“Within a few days of the meeting, one of the APA-IA board members reached out to me to identify a local public health person to be interviewed by consultants working on a master plan for her community. Success!”
Planning Healthy Iowa Communities is developing next steps following the joint board meeting and is working to increase the presence of planners in other coalitions. This seemingly small step of convening the two boards amplified the importance of cross-collaboration for the pursuit of planning and public health efforts.