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ICMA Carl Vinson Institute of Government Collaborate to Assess Local Governments Public Health Impac

Monday, October 24, 2016  
Posted by: Lindsay Hoyt
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The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) commissioned the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia to prepare a white paper that illustrates the importance of local government services in supporting public health.

The report, “Improving Quality of Life: The Effect of Aligning Local Service Delivery and Public Health Goals,” can be downloaded from the ICMA website at

In the report, Institute faculty member Paula Sanford and co-author Joshua Franzel, ICMA’s director of policy research, explore the many ways that local governments contribute to effective public health. The report examines how local government infrastructure and services like water and sanitation, land use and planning, and transportation systems support a healthy environment and encourage healthy lifestyles.

Besides providing basic services like clean water and effective sanitation, local governments exert a strong influence on public health by supporting communities that are safe and attractive places for people to live, work, and enjoy leisure time. The report also discusses how the services that local governments provide can improve residents’ quality of life, save resources, and enhance economic and labor force development. For example, local government investments in sidewalks and bicycle lanes encourage healthful behavior, discourage obesity and related chronic diseases, and bolster property values by creating a desirable place to live.

ICMA proposed the paper as a way to remind government managers how many ways their work affects public health, according to Sanford.