This Plan for Health is an unusual undertaking in two respects. It is part of the Go To 2040 regional master plan along with other human services components that have, historically, been outside the purview of planners, who are usually more concerned with issues such as land use, transportation, and solid waste disposal. And the planning horizon covers three decades, providing a rare opportunity for health planners to engage in truly long range planning.
Health is more than medical care: a variety of factors determine the health of individuals and a community. These "underlying determinants" include demographic composition, income and poverty, employment, social status, cultural beliefs and practices, level of educational attainment, environmental conditions, genetics, individual behaviors, and public health measures, in addition to the quality and utilization of health care services.
Most planning efforts, which attempt to affect community health, deal only with public health and medical services delivery, even though the other factors are known to have a greater influence on community and individual health.
This plan approaches the challenge differently; it focuses on the underlying determinants of health and moves beyond the narrower focus that health planners and public health officials traditionally take. This report identifies the connections that education, land use, transportation, food and hunger, civic engagement, workforce, and the economy have with health, and it focuses on strategies and interventions that can be pursued in these sectors to improve health throughout this region.