Guest writer, Southern Nevada Strong
As administrators of the Southern Nevada Strong (SNS) Regional Plan, the regional planning team collaborates with organizations throughout the valley to support partners that advance the plan’s goals to create a healthy and sustainable community.
Partners like the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) and the UNLV School of Public Health have been integral for progressing our community health goals.
Most recently, the regional planning team contributed to the update and evolution of SNHD’s Community Health Assessment (CHA). The 2020-2021 CHA is designed to inform the public, stakeholders and other organizations about the current health status of Clark County residents and provide guidance to make shared decisions that can improve the public health status of our community.
The CHA provides an overview of health information and helps to identify populations who may be at increased risk of poor health outcomes. Through the course of the assessment process, common themes emerged including:
- Access to care (cost, availability, and knowledge of services)
- Chronic disease
- Mental health
- Community safety
Findings from the 2020-2021 CHA, now available on the Healthy Southern Nevada website, are used to identify strategic priorities and the development of a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), which will guide SNHD and partner activities over the next three to five years.
The SNS Regional Plan recognizes the inextricable link between transportation systems, urban design, and community health outcomes. Currently, the region’s transportation system and development patterns are predominantly auto-oriented, which has resulted in an environment commonly associated with negative health outcomes, including poor air quality, low rates of physical activity, and a prevalence of chronic disease. Too often, these negative outcomes are disproportionately experienced by vulnerable communities and many Regional Plan goals seek to improve these outcomes throughout the region.
In the coming months, the regional planning team, as well as others from the RTC, are working with a diverse set of stakeholders to update the CHIP and prioritize actions to improve the outcomes associated with CHA priority areas and Regional Plan goals. This will help guide policies, programs and funding for the entire public health system in the next three years. By participating in the process, RTC staff are working to align this plan with transportation and regional planning goals like increasing options for multi-modal travel and including health outcomes in transportation design.
Partnerships and collaborative work like this recognize that achieving the vision of the SNS Regional Plan is a shared responsibility and is only possible through the work of many agencies and partners.
The “Investing in Complete Communities Theme” of the regional plan states that:
Complete communities are communities in which jobs, housing, transportation and community amenities combine to create places that support economic opportunity and healthy options for all people, regardless of income level. In complete communities, people feel safe, healthy and have natural resources to support their everyday living.
Working with SNHD and the UNLV School of Public Health on the development of the CHIP moves us further ahead in reaching this goal.