Planners4Health Monthly Update

The Planners4Health Washington Chapter provides monthly updates to Paula Reeves. Below, please find their latest update.

Successful Moment

Over the last two weeks of March, both the State Senate and the State House released their draft Biennium budgets with $600,000 allocated to the Roadmap to Washington’s Future. We have also received support from Governor Inslee’s policy office. Although the budget will not be adopted until this summer, we have sufficient seed funds (including this Planners4Health grant), to keep the project outreach and design moving forward.

Challenge or Lesson Learned  

It was important to explain the important public policy objectives of the project as seeking ways to improve the state’s planning framework of laws, institutions and policies to better improve environmental, economic and human health in Washington State. What resonated with many legislators most interested in economic health was pointing out the linkages between environmental health, human health, and economic vitality.

Administrative or Project Management

The project task force is holding regular calls to provide guidance and support as needed. APA WA Chapter officers are working with the consortium of universities to finalize contracts.

Communications or Outreach 

Have scheduled meetings in the coming months with the Washington Transportation Department Regional Managers, Planning Association of Washington, APA Washington’s Inland Empire Section, the annual conference of the Association of Washington Cities, and the quarterly Joint meeting of the four Northeast Washington County Commissioners to solicit support for and engagement in the project. Will seek to speak at the Washington Public Health Associations annual conference in the fall.

Additional Comments or TA/Training Requests           

The monthly group calls with other Planners4Heatlh recipients are very helpful. It is great to share ideas and experiences and learn from others work.

Next Steps       

Discussing with state university faculty and stakeholder groups the design of 12 statewide visioning events this fall public health implications of the state planning framework. 

National Planning Conference (NPC)

Please complete the chart below. Plan4Health staff will compile information submitted by all coalitions to share in preparation for our Planners4Health session at NPC.

Chapter/Task Force



Task Force Members Attending NPC


Paula Reeves

Project Description

(100 words or less)


Please identify your key project partners and summarize your project activities to date.



The “Roadmap to Washington’s Future” is a group effort to review and modernize Washington State’s framework for state, regional and local decision making, including the Growth Management Act. This Planners4Health funding and the Task Force will inject the important Public Health perspective and priorities into this discussion.

Potential Partners

(100 words or less)


How has your task force engaged new or unexpected partners in the first few months of the project?


Connecting with rural legislators who are typically skeptical of planning because they see it primarily as a regulatory exercise. They were interested in hearing about recent and somewhat alarming public health data that illustrates that severe public health issues exist not only in urban counties with booming growth, also in rural ones that struggle to grow.

Active Initiatives

(100 words or less)


Have you leveraged active initiatives? If so, select one to share. If not, how has that impacted your approach to the assessment?



The project will engage the people of the state in a series of “vision workshops” to identify issues, values, aspirations and priorities that will help guide reforms to Washington’s growth planning framework. We are discussing how to leverage regional initiatives to highlight the public health implications of planning decisions, starting with the Puget Sound Regional Council update of the regional plan.

Local Assets

(100 words or less)


What has been an unexpected strength that you have discovered? Please select one asset related to specific representatives, organizations, or communities.



Although Washington has no state-wide plan or strategy per se, we have discovered that several key state agencies with broad state-wide impact have statewide policy documents that constitute in broad strokes a statewide vision/strategy. This fall, the Department of Natural Resources will begin updating its statewide strategy of managing public lands. We have met with the agency’s policy director who sees great opportunity for synergy and coordination between their effort and ours. That includes ways that the DNR plan/strategy can serve multiple objectives, including improving economic and human health in the communities within and close by the public lands that the agency manages.


Return to the March/April issue of The Washington Planner