Resolving to View City Planning as ‘Preventative Medicine'

Jason Corburn issues an indictment of the "community malpractice" by policy-makers that's led to America's glaring health inequalities, and argues that 2013 must be the year that planning works towards improving the living conditions of the poor.
January 2, 2013, 1pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In light of urban America's enduring inequities in "life expectancy, disease and disability by racial and ethnic groups and neighborhood location," Corburn, an associate professor at Cal Berkeley's School of Public Health & Department of City & Regional Planning, argues that "2013 must be the year we all view community development and city planning as ‘preventative medicine.'"

In order to, "shift our health care system from a focus largely on cures to preventing illness and death by improving our living, working and playing environments," he outlines seven elements required to re-focus on "improving the lives and living conditions of the poor and people of color." These include trainging an army of Community Health Workers (CHWs) focused on health promotion and primary prevention, re-invigorating America's urban community health centers and school-based health clinics, and requiring that "all federal, state and local legislation undergo a ‘health equity impact assessment,’ similar to the National Environmental Policy Act’s environmental impact assessment."'

"Thankfully," says Corburn, "many of the items on my ‘wish list’ are already happening, but they remain uncoordinated....2013 must be the year we commit our health system to making urban health inequities history. Let’s all get started."

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Published on Thursday, December 27, 2012 in RWJF Human Capital Blog
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