A collaborative effort between Lift Orlando, the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, and the Winter Park Health Foundation began in 2016 to discuss the LIFT Orlando Strategic Plan and its focus on health in the built environment. The update of the strategic plan provided an opportunity to conduct an Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for the West Lakes Community. The West Lakes Community is one rich in African-American history, yet burdened with a high concentration of chronic poverty, unemployment, homelessness and crime.
The main goal of a HIA is to assess potential health impacts of a proposed policy, program or project, in specific social and community contexts. This is done in order to develop evidence-based recommendations that serve to inform decision-makers, protect and improve community health and, in some cases, address health inequalities. The study also analyzes data and research on health factors, employment, economics, and the built environment. The West Lakes Community HIA aided in identifying gaps and strengthening the Health & Wellness component of the Lift Orlando Strategic Plan. The report aims to be an example for similar communities to follow.