The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), in partnership with Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) formed a multidisciplinary team to work on the Health Impact Assessment (HIA) project funded by Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). The HIA team consisted of eight leaders representing ADHS, MCDPH, Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Chapter of American Planning Association, and Livable Communities Coalition founded by Sonoran Institute. The expansive reach of this multidisciplinary team was critical to building capacity throughout Arizona. The Arizona HIA team exposed undergraduate urban planning students to the HIA process by partnering with Arizona State University (ASU) College of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning to complete the HIA on the proposed modern street car in Tempe, Arizona that will connect the current light rail system 3 miles south to a major arterial road, passing through business corridors, ASU and residential areas. In addition, the Arizona HIA team provided two training opportunities to land use decision makers at the Arizona Transit Association Conference and the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association Annual Conference. Local public health agencies were also introduced to the HIA framework resulting in 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties expressing commitment to work on integration of HIA in public health work.
With the momentum created by the ASHTO project, The Arizona HIA team secured further funding from a local public foundation, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, to continue building capacity and providing technical assistance on HIA framework throughout Arizona.