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Arizona Department of Health Services

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 how transportation improvements along a high-speed corridor in Apache County on the Navajo Nation can help build a healthier community. The county has a population of nearly 72,000, of which 74% are American Indian or Alaska Native and 36% live below the poverty level. Arizona state route 264 (SR264) divides the Ganado/Burnside community in Apache County and is the main route for vehicle and pedestrian traffic and public transit in the area. Residents must frequently cross this busy highway to reach homes, schools, shopping centers, and hospitals. 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 Arizona Department of Transportation’s Planning Assistance for Rural Areas (PARA) agreed with the HIA report’s recommendations and added them as an appendix to the final PARA study [PDF - 30 MB], in case funding is available to implement improvements along SR264 in Ganado/Burnside.

Hualapai Park Land Use

This HIA will assess the potential individual and community health benefits of planned improvements to Hualapai Park, located in Peach Springs, Arizona, within the Hualapai Nation. Hualapai Park is the result of the tribal police department’s request to construct a playground on the site of a former basketball court to provide local youth with a location for unstructured play. The HIA will request input from multiple stakeholders, including the park planning committee, senior citizen center, school district, residents, and students. In addition, the HIA will help raise awareness about the health benefits of physical activity and opportunities to improve community health through park use for people of all ages.

Miami Unified School District Land Use

This HIA examined the possible health effects of a proposed walking trail and school playground/park 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. The Miami Unified School District Land Use Steering Committee accepted the HIA recommendations, but acknowledged that some of the recommenda¬tions would add to the construction cost of the playground. The School District Superintendent will present the HIA findings to the Miami Town Council to help develop financial support for the additional playground costs. The HIA process also established a partnership to address increasing youth physical activity options. Partners include the Town of Miami; the Miami Copper open-pit copper mine, smelter and rod mill; and the Miami Unified School District.

Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization

This HIA will examine the health impacts of several Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization (SVMPO) policies and projects that support walking and bicycling. Sierra Vista is an important rural service and employment center in Cochise County. Cochise Health and Social Services has identified diabetes and obesity as two of the county’s top five health concerns. To address these health issues, this HIA focuses on physical activity and connections between the built environment and individual and community health. The HIA findings will provide health-based guidance for updating the Sierra Vista Development code, implementing SVMPO’s Safe Bicycle and Pedestrian Routes Plan and Sidewalk Implementation Plan, designing two roadway projects, and drafting federal funding proposals for constructing bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Verde Valley Master Transportation Plan

This HIA examined how the proposed transportation improvements recommended in the Verde Valley Master Transportation Plan could affect health and safety and residents’ mobility and access to services. The Verde Valley is made up of several rural towns and communities connected by state highways. The population includes high percentages of older adults, people with disabilities, and people without access to vehicles. The HIA described healthy transportation options and recommended: new bicycle and pedestrian facilities along state routes and increased transit service. The HIA report provided the Verde Valley Transportation Planning Organization a guide for updating the county’s transportation master plan.

Yavapai County Mobility Management Implementation Plan

Yavapai County Community Health Services will conduct an HIA on the County’s Mobility Management Implementation Plan. The plan covers both of Yavapai County’s rural transportation planning regions—Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Verde Valley sub-region of 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.

Tools and Resources for HIA Practitioners

The ADHS AzHealthy Communities program developed a 2-day HIA training curriculum to educate local health departments, non-profit organizations, and other private agencies on how to conduct HIAs in rural areas.


  • Arizona Department of Transportation
  • Health in Arizona Policy Initiative
  • Health in Policy and Practice (HIP2)