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Arizona Department of Health Services

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

The Healthy Community Design Initiative, also known as the Built Environment and Health Initiative, is no longer a funded program and the information on this website is not being reviewed and updated on a regular basis.


The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) created the AzHealthy Communities program to support and expand HIA work across the state. AzHealthy Communities will provide training and resources for public health, land use, and transportation professionals to conduct HIAs and consider health when making decisions that affect the public.

2014–2016 HIA Accomplishments

Ganado/Burnside Area Traffic Circulation Study

This HIA examined multimodal movement and circulation throughout the Ganado and Burnside communities on the Navajo Nation in Apache County and how transportation improvements along a high-speed corridor could help build a safer and healthier community. Apache County has a population of nearly 72,000 residents, of which 74% are American Indian or Alaska Native and 36% live below the poverty level. Arizona state route 264 (SR264) divides the Ganado and Burnside communities and residents must frequently cross this busy highway to reach schools, shopping centers, and hospitals. This HIA was conducted in conjunction with an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Planning Assistance for Rural Areas (PARA) project. The HIA recommended creating paths along SR264 made of all-weather materials suitable for walking and running, providing pedestrian access for older adults to the Senior Center and other services, and installing ADA-accessible sidewalks and street lighting along major routes. The HIA process and recommendations influenced engineering and design elements along SR264. For example, a proposed multi-use path between Burnside and Ganado was relocated so that it would be more conducive for walking and bicycling to the local hospital. The HIA report was also added as an appendix to the final PARA grant in case funding becomes available to implement additional improvements along SR264.

Hualapai Neighborhood Parks

This HIA assessed the potential individual and community health benefits of enhancing existing and planned parks and trails in Peach Springs, Arizona, capital of the Hualapai Tribe, with a goal to improve community use of parks and identify recreation facilities and trails that could benefit community health. The Hualapai Planning Department and Peach Springs Steering Committee conducted the HIA with funding from ADHS. The HIA process included education and outreach to multiple stakeholder groups, including the Youth Council, on health and physical activity benefits of parks and trails. Over 60 tribal members completed a survey about park use. The HIA recommended several approaches to make existing parks safer and more enjoyable and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities and to connect parks to people by building trails to existing parks and locating future parks within walking distance of neighborhoods. The HIA committee provided these recommendations to the Hualapai Tribal Council for their consideration in the development of the General Plan. The tribal council will continue seeking public input from the Youth Council and community members in future tribal meetings.


Miami Unified School District Land Use

This rapid HIA examined the possible health effects of a proposed walking trail and new school playground on students and other Miami residents. Miami is a small, historic mining town in rural Gila County—an area with a depressed economy. Gila County has a total population of 53,000, of which 22% live below the poverty level and 20% are younger than 18 years. Gila County Health Services and Miami Unified School District (MUSD) collaborated on this HIA project. The MUSD Land Use Steering Committee accepted the HIA recommendations and is implementing the playground project in phases and the superintendent used key data and recommendations from the HIA in grant applications to fund playground and physical activity equipment. MUSD installed new playground equipment in Fall 2016. Next steps are to make the playground accessible to the community outside of school hours and to connect the playground to existing and proposed trails in the community. As a result of the HIA process, the superintendent was motivated to improve existing playground facilities and local groups established a partnership to address increasing youth physical activity options.

Sierra Vista Active Transportation

This HIA examined the physical, mental, social, and economic health effects of several policies, plans, and projects that address nonmotorized (walking and bicycling) transportation in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Sierra Vista, home to 43,000 residents, is an important rural service and employment center that includes Fort Huachuca military base. The Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization conducted the HIA in collaboration with ADHS. The HIA provided health-based recommendations to improve connectivity and safety of pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the Sierra Vista Safe Bicycle and Pedestrian Routes Plan, Sidewalk Implementation Plan, and two corridor studies. The HIA also recommended infrastructure improvements on Fort Huachuca, updates to the Sierra Vista Development code zoning ordinances, creation of a Safe Routes to School plan, and adoption of a Complete Streets policy. The HIA steering committee shared these recommendations with Sierra Vista city council and Fort Huachuca base commanders, as well as the “Be Healthy! Sierra Vista” program, who will continue to advocate for the implementation of the HIA recommendations.


Verde Valley Master Transportation Plan

This HIA examined how the proposed long-term transportation improvements in the 2009 Verde Valley Multimodal Transportation Plan could affect residents’ health, safety, mobility, and access to services. Verde Valley is made up of several rural towns and communities connected by state highways and the population includes high percentages of older adults, people with disabilities, and people without access to vehicles. This HIA was conducted by ADHS and Yavapai County Health Services in conjunction with an Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Planning Assistance for Rural Areas (PARA) project. Stakeholders from all the towns and cities in Verde Valley were engaged in the HIA process. The HIA described the health consequences of various motorized, pedestrian, and public transportation options and recommended new bicycle and pedestrian facilities along state routes and increased transit service. The HIA report served as a guidebook for the Verde Valley Transportation Planning Organization to use while updating the county’s Master Transportation Plan.

Yavapai County Mobility Management Implementation Plan

This HIA, conducted by Yavapai County Health Services with funding from ADHS, assessed the potential health impacts of the Yavapai County Regional Mobility Management Implementation Plan (RMMIP). The RMMIP was prepared by the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO) with assistance from the Northern Arizona Council of Governments. The HIA will study how transit and other proposed transportation alternatives might affect the health of Yavapai County’s most vulnerable populations. Based on feedback from CYMPO, the HIA focused on the proposed public transportation plan within the RMMIP. The HIA incorporated community input from over 400 individuals who completed a transportation assessment survey. The HIA recommended expanding and improving public transportation options within Yavapai County to improve mobility, increase access to services, increase physical activity, and decrease social isolation. Yavapai County Health Services presented the HIA findings to the CYMPO Board, who is ultimately responsible for accepting and implementing any public transportation recommendations from the HIA.

Tools and Resources for HIA Practitioners

The ADHS AzHealthy Communities program

  • Developed a two-day HIA training curriculum to educate local health departments, non-profit organizations, and other private agencies on how to conduct HIAs in rural areas
  • Produced an Arizona HIA Successes Report
  • Partnered with the Arizona Alliance for Livable Communities to develop an HIA activity summary tool


  • Arizona Alliance for Livable Communities
  • Arizona Department of Health Services Office of Environmental Health
  • Arizona Department of Transportation
  • Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities
  • Health in Arizona Policy Initiative
  • Health in Policy and Practice (HIP2)
  • Hualapai Tribe
  • Vitalyst Health Foundation
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  • Page last reviewed: October 6, 2017 (archived document)
  • Content source: Error processing SSI file
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