Funding from Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland Will Make Health a Routine Part of Decision Making in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Funding from Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland Will Make Health a Routine Part of Decision Making in Cuyahoga County, Ohio


The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, today announced that Saint Luke’s Foundation will support a health impact assessment (HIA) program grant in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

An HIA helps policymakers identify the likely health impacts of a decision in another field, such as building a major roadway, planning a city’s growth or developing agricultural policy. HIAs can assist decision makers in identifying unintended risks, finding practical solutions and leveraging opportunities to improve the wellness of the community.

“Saint Luke’s Foundation is already a leader in health impact assessment in Ohio, through their support of the Northeast Ohio HIA Partnership,” said Aaron Wernham, M.D., director of the Health Impact Project. “Their support will help make health a routine part of decision making in the Cuyahoga County region, long after this grant is ended.”

Saint Luke’s Foundation uses its resources to provide leadership and support for the improvement and transformation of the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities of Greater Cleveland.

The Foundation has been instrumental in the creation of the Northeast Ohio HIA Partnership, and continued funding from the Foundation is enabling the Partnership to build capacity across multiple sectors and execute HIAs in key policy areas. Prior funding from The Foundation supported an HIA on Cleveland’s Urban Agriculture Overlay District proposal, the first HIA undertaken in Cuyahoga County, which was led by the Cleveland Planning Commission.

“HIAs are designed ultimately to improve health. But the process of implementing them fosters critical city-wide and county-wide discussions,” said Denise San Antonio Zeman, president and CEO of Saint Luke’s Foundation of Cleveland. “HIAs engage the community in the selection and prioritization of key issues for consideration, they connect stakeholders and decision makers, and by doing so, they help to empower stakeholders. At every level, HIAs reflect the Foundation’s mission and values.” 

There are currently two HIAs in Cuyahoga County and eight overall in Ohio, according to the Health Impact Project map.

All eligible applicants that came in through the national call for proposals will automatically be considered for this funding opportunity. The HIA program grant of up to $250,000 will allow an organization in Cuyahoga County to conduct at least two new HIAs and to implement a plan that establishes the relationships, systems and funding mechanisms needed to maintain a stable, self-supporting HIA program that endures beyond the conclusion of the grant period.

In addition to Cuyahoga County, the Health Impact Project will award a program grant based in California through support from The California Endowment, one in metro Denver through funding from Kaiser Permanente Colorado, and three others nationally selected from a competitive call for proposals.

For more information about states that are making HIA a routine part of decision making, each according to their needs and capacity, please see HIA program case studies of the models being used in AlaskaOregon and Massachusetts.

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