March 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – On behalf of the Delaware Coalition for Healthy Eating and Active Living (DE HEAL) the Delaware Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Delaware Academy of Medicine/Delaware Public Health Association have received a $135,000 grant from the American Planning Association through its Plan4Health program to combat two determinants of chronic disease—lack of physical activity and lack of access to nutritious foods. The funding for this national program is implemented in partnership between the American Planning Association and the American Public Health Association (APHA). This represents a major new collaboration between planners and public health professionals. Funding for Plan4Health was provided through an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The funding provides fuel to address existing health concerns to create communities of lasting value that are equitable and healthy for all,” said Anna Ricklin, AICP, manager of APA’s Planning and Community Health Center, which manages the Plan4Health program. “We are very pleased to be working at both national and local levels with our colleagues in the American Planning Association.  The intersection of planning and public health is an ideal place to focus our attention on effective change,” said Timothy Gibbs, MPH, executive director of the Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association.

The Delaware Coalition for Healthy Eating and Active Living seeks to change the approach in which comprehensive plans are updated to include considerations for health and equity. Using feedback from the community, the Coalition will create land use, design and policy guidelines for planners and public health professionals seeking to improve the physical environment of where residents live, work and play in order to increase access to healthy food and build spaces that encourage active living.

Since comprehensive plan updates for the City of Dover and Kent County are scheduled for 2018/2019, the process in updating these plans will be underway by early 2017, coinciding with the Plan4Health grant period. “Kent County is very excited about the opportunity to engage with the citizens of the County on how the built environment affects public health and identify potential policy changes that will improve the quality of life for our citizens,” said Mary Ellen Gray, AICP Assistant Director for Kent County Planning Service.

For more information about the Plan4Health program, visit or follow the hashtag #Plan4Health on Twitter.  For the Delaware initiative, visit or follow @deplan4health on Twitter.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not- for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning — physical, economic and social — so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people’s lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. For more information, visit