Metrics for Planning Healthy Communities

Now Available from APA Learn

This course is now offered on the APA Learn educational platform.

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Certification Maintenance

CM | 1.25

You'll learn about:

  • Planning metrics to measure community health and the benefits and limitations of these tools

  • How to acquire, organize, use, and track data to measure community health 

  • Communities that have used metrics successfully to advance healthy changes 

  • How to design metrics systems in your community, or strengthen the use of metrics with a health lens 


Planning professionals have the power to improve community health by shaping land use, development, housing, transportation, and environments where people live, work, and play. When planners partner with other sectors, the potential to improve public health multiplies; therefore, it is critical that planners document, measure, and track built environment elements known to be key determinants of health, such as sidewalk distribution, access to healthy foods, and new development pressures.

This session examines how to use APA’s Healthy Planning Metrics to both integrate health objectives into planning practice and build bridges among various community stakeholders. The experts who developed this new tool will explain how to use metrics to assess, measure, monitor, and report progress toward shared multi-sector goals. Case studies will illustrate how to use proxy metrics where local data may be tough to acquire. 

About the Speakers

Arthi Rao
Arthi Rao is a Program Manager in the Statistics & Evaluation Center and part of the GIS team at the American Cancer Society. Arthi brings to ACS experience with the social determinants of health, healthy places, healthy communities, and methods for spatially analyzing these issues. She is currently researching urban/rural classification schema, developing an access-to-care index, and analyzing the relationship between service areas of community health centers and cancer screening rates. Prior to joining the Society, Arthi worked on Health Impact Assessments (HIA)at the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD) at Georgia Tech. She was the primary resource for projects on healthy communities and led the grant writing process for several HIA proposals.

Adele Houghton
Adele Houghton, a licensed Architect in the State of Texas and LEED Accredited Professional with specialties in Building Design & Construction, Operations & Maintenance, and Neighborhood Development, is President of Biositu, LLC, a strategic consulting company dedicated to leveraging environmental sustainability to enhance community health. She received a Master of Public Health and a Certificate in Public Health Informatics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Milena Bernardinello
Milena Bernardinello, MS, MSUP, Healthy Community Planner, Madison Planning Division Milena Bernardinello, joined the City of Madison in 2013 as a Healthy Community Planner. She earned her Epidemiology MS in 2012 and her Urban and Regional Planning MSUP at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. Milena has training in Sociology and Global Culture and she is currently an PhD dissertator. Her research focus on built and food environment effects on health using spatial epidemiology techniques.

Anna Ricklin
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