Schaeffer Somers, Associate Director of CDH, is pioneering the application of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) as a tool for community-based, data-driven design research. Schaeffer recently completed a funded, comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to understand the health impacts of housing and community development work of the Santo Domingo Pueblo, a Native American tribe in New Mexico. The Santo Domingo community worked with an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow to co-create projects for new housing, rehabilitation of historic homes, and a pedestrian trail to celebrate the cultural landscape of the Pueblo. The HIA assesses the population health impacts of the housing and landscape projects and makes recommendations to mitigate potential negative impacts as well as enhance the positive impacts of the ongoing work. Even more importantly, the completed HIA will help build the capacity of the Santo Domingo Pueblo community to monitor the respiratory health of the community with a focus on tribal youth and elders, develop indigenous indicators of health unique to the Tribe, and reflect health in future policymaking. The publication of the process and findings of the project will promote awareness of HIA and practical strategies for healthy housing in Native American communities nationwide.
This project was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The community-based project engaged twenty five graduate and undergraduate students at UVA in the work of the HIA. A public report will be released pending tribal approval. The Santo Domingo Housing & Health Workshop, May 23-24, 2016 was co-developed with the JPB Environmental Health Fellows Program, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.