Healthy Behaviors and Lifestyles
America ranks 27th among affluent nations in life expectancy and 30th in infant mortality. At the same time, our nation spent more than $2.7 trillion dollars on health care in 2011, more than any other country. The end result is costly for all of us in terms of poorer quality of life, lost productivity and limited resources for education, social services and other spending priorities.
Consider for a moment the major determinants of health, including physical and mental health. When one takes into account human biology, and the other major factors of health care, environmental influences and lifestyle related behavior, a whopping 80% of the health of our populace falls within variables with which we have some control.
If Americans want to improve health and educational outcomes, and reduce costs dramatically, we need to assist schools, workplaces, and communities to encourage safe and healthy behaviors and life styles. CHL works with communities to identify needs and find solutions for addressing them.
Evidence-based Public Health
Evidence based public health is “the development, implementation and evaluation of effective programs and policies in public health through application of principles of scientific reasoning, including systematic uses of data and information systems and appropriate use of program planning models.”(Brownson RC, Gurney JG, Land G. 1999. Evidence-based decision making in public health, Journal of Public Health Manag Pract .5: 86-97.)
CHL works with local and state agencies, community coalitions and governments to use the best available evidence in selecting programs and actions that can address the Prevention Agenda priorities in their communities. CHL has two staff trained in EBPH and can assist in delivering a national curriculum on this topic.
Strategic Prevention Framework
SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), is a 5-step planning process that guides the selection, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based, culturally appropriate, sustainable prevention activities. The SPF’s effectiveness begins with a clear understanding of community needs and depends on the involvement of community members in all stages of the planning process. Focused on systems development, the SPF reflects a public health, or community-based, approach to delivering effective prevention.
CHL’s staff have provided extensive training in all five steps of the SPF to guide community coalitions in the implementation of the SPF over five years.
Health Impact Assessment
A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process that helps evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project or policy before it is built or implemented. An HIA can provide recommendations to increase positive health outcomes and minimize adverse health outcomes.
CHL’s staff are trained in HIA and ready to work with policy makers to bring together scientific data, health expertise and public input to identify the potential—and often overlooked—health effects of proposed new laws, regulations, projects and programs.