Smart Growth

Healthy Places for Healthy People

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The Women's Health Center in downtown Middlesboro, KentuckyThe Appalachian Regional Healthcare system located satellite services, including a Women’s Health Center, in formerly vacant and underused buildings in downtown Middlesboro, Kentucky. Hospital-affiliated services provide much-needed care and patient education while encouraging other development downtown.  Healthy Places for Healthy People helps communities create walkable, healthy, economically vibrant places by engaging with their health care facility partners such as community health centers (including Federally Qualified Health Centers), nonprofit hospitals, and other health care facilities. The pilot phase of this program is sponsored by EPA and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Health care facilities can promote preventive health care and help create vibrant, thriving communities by:

  • Providing primary care and preventive services to those that do not have access to care.
  • Promoting healthy behaviors and lifestyles through activities such as supporting downtown farmers markets, co-op markets, and community gardens
    that provide access to fresh, healthy, local food.
  • Williamson Health Wellness Center in downtown Williamson, WVThe Williamson Health and Wellness Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center in Williamson, West Virginia, is in a formerly vacant building on the town's main street. It provides health care; coordinates healthy-eating and active-living programs including a farmers market, community garden, and walking programs; and supports entrepreneurs starting food and health care businesses.Creating physical activity programs and supporting sidewalks, bike paths, trails, and parks in the community that promote active living.
  • Contributing to economic development and downtown revitalization by locating health centers, hospital facilities, and associated programs in walkable, compact neighborhoods and central business districts that are accessible via a range of transportation options. 
  • Supporting local entrepreneurs who have business ideas that will contribute to a healthy community and create economic opportunities for residents.
  • Working with partners and stakeholders in various sectors to use health as an economic driver for a local, thriving economy and a healthy community.
  • Fostering collaboration between workforce development and economic development initiatives to renovate and repurpose abandoned downtown buildings into new health center sites, affordable housing, retail, and other community assets.

Health care facilities can be particularly helpful partners in rural communities and small towns, where their economic impact in catalyzing downtown revitalization can be especially important. See our Smart Growth in Small Towns and Rural Communities page to learn more about how smart growth strategies can help rural places strengthen their economies, improve quality of life, and protect the environment and human health.

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2016 Request for Applications

The application period for the 2016 round of Healthy Places for Healthy People closed on November 6, 2016. The information below is for reference only.

Healthy Places for Healthy People will provide selected communities with expert planning assistance that centers around a two-day community workshop. A team of experts will help community members develop an implementable action plan that will focus on health as an economic driver and catalyst for downtown and neighborhood revitalization.

Eligibility and Special Considerations

  • Eligible applicants include local government representatives, health care facilities, local health departments, neighborhood associations, main street districts, nonprofit organizations, tribes and others proposing to work in a neighborhood, town, or city located anywhere in the United States. 
  • Applications that include representatives from both the community (local government or non-governmental organization) and a health care facility will receive special consideration.
  • Applications that demonstrate existing or new partnerships among multi-sector partners and a health care facility to promote community revitalization and economic development will be given special consideration.
  • Special consideration will be given to communities that are economically distressed and/or underserved, including those in rural Appalachia.

How to Apply

Submit an application by completing the fillable PDF form (click here for the form). Please save the form using the file name: City State PointOfContact’sLastName Application. For example: Washington DC Smith Application

Do not include any additional materials (city master plan, event flyers, etc.).

Letters of support are not required in order to be selected for the Healthy Places for Healthy People Program. However, you may submit letters of support from partner organizations or elected officials that affirm the goals of the project and confirm their participation in the process and implementation of the resulting action plan. All letters of support must be emailed along with the original (not scanned) application form by the application due date. Please send all letters of support in a single file (separate from the application form) using the file name: City State PointOfContact’sLastName LOS. For example: Washington DC Smith LOS

Your application should give us a clear sense of how this assistance would help you and your partners revitalize your downtown through health-related initiatives that take advantage of health care facilities in your community. In your application, you should answer these questions:

  • What is the project’s geographic scope (e.g., neighborhood, city-wide)? What is the area’s demographic makeup and economic condition?
  • What challenges does your community face around downtown or neighborhood revitalization?
  • What health-related challenges does your community face?
  • How do you propose to leverage health care facilities as an economic anchor and catalyst for downtown/neighborhood revitalization?
  • How would a community workshop through Healthy Places for Healthy People help you achieve your goals?
  • What other health-oriented partners will be involved (in addition to the health care partner that is applying for assistance, if applicable)?
  • What other partners will be involved in planning and implementing your action plan, such as public agencies and institutions, local development districts/regional development organizations, community colleges/universities, non-governmental organizations, foundations, and businesses? Will elected officials be supportive?
  • What assurances can you make that you will implement the action plan that our technical assistance team will help you develop?

Email the completed application and optional letters of support file to by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 6, 2016

We will contact all selected and non-selected communities upon completion of the review process in early 2017.

If you have questions about the Healthy Places for Healthy People Program or the application process, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Healthy Places for Healthy People. If your question is not answered there, email