Incorporating Health and Equity into Plans and Policies: A Step Toward Health in All Policies


  • Gretchen A. Armijo Denver Department of Public Health & Environment
  • Kelly Haworth, MPH Larimer County Department of Health and Environment
  • Elizabeth Young Winne, MPH, MURP Larimer County Department of Health and Environment


In 2017, the Built Environment Program at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment collaborated with the City of Fort Collins Engineering Department to create a health and equity index to be a component of a revitalized sidewalk prioritization model. The health and equity index use indicators that are linked to the determinants of health in an attempt to spatially understand factors that contribute to an individual or household’s likelihood of being more vulnerable. The data to create the Health Equity Index is publicly sourced at block group level from the United States Census American Community Survey 5-year estimates and at census tract level from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 500 Cities dataset. The creation of the Health Equity Index was a valuable partnership that led to multiple outcomes outside of the sidewalk prioritization process. First, its creation has established a foundation for partnership between two sectors at different government agencies. Second, the Health and Equity Index has also been used as an assessment for the adopted City Plan, the guiding comprehensive plan for the City of Fort Collins. Last, elements of HIA can be a powerful tool for understanding the health impacts of a policy or process on community, but also for building and developing trusted cross-sector relationships.


Author Biography

Gretchen A. Armijo, Denver Department of Public Health & Environment

Gretchen Armijo, AICP, LEED AP is the first Built Environment Administrator for the City and County of Denver, improving community health through the use of evidence-based strategies across City plans, policies and projects.  She is an urban planner with public health expertise, including the use of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to inform land use and transportation planning.  Gretchen is a faculty member in the Leadership for Healthy Community Design program at the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership (RIHEL) and a board member of Streetsmart, a new platform for evidence-based transportation planning.







Perspectives from the Field