The Adler School of Professional Psychology, through its Institute on Social Exclusion (ISE) and Center on the Social Determinants of Mental Health, has been awarded a $74,000 grant from The Chicago Community Trust to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of proposed redevelopment plans for the sites of the decommissioned Fisk and Crawford coal power plants in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village communities.
The Fisk and Crawford coal plants were among Illinois’ largest emitters of toxic chemicals prior to their closure in late 2012. Last fall, a Fisk and Crawford Reuse Task Force released a report recommending several options for repurposing the sites to create needed open space in Pilsen and Little Village. Pilsen, for example, has .54 acres of open space per 1,000 residents—well short of the four acres recommended for urban areas in metropolitan Chicago’s “GO TO 2040” comprehensive regional plan.
The Adler School ISE and its Center on the Social Determinants of Mental Health will lead an HIA to examine the recommended land use options, and generate reports on the options’ potential health impacts in Pilsen and Little Village.
“The potential mental and physical health implications of this proposed redevelopment are critically important to Pilsen and Little Village residents,” said Lynn Todman, Ph.D., Adler School Vice President of Leadership in Social Justice and ISE Executive Director. “This Health Impact Assessment will ensure that residents’ voices are reflected in the deliberations and decisions about the repurposing of these sites—which will affect the health of their community for years to come.”
HIA is a tool similar to economic impact or environmental impact assessment that evaluates the implications of proposed plans and public policies; HIA focuses specifically on health impact. The Adler School ISE is recognized for its work promoting HIA as a tool for narrowing health inequities and promoting optimal health outcomes, especially for disadvantaged populations.
The ISE pioneered the country’s first Mental Health Impact Assessment (MHIA), released this spring, as part of HIA practice. Todman led a public-private MHIA research team that examined federal policy guidance on arrest records and hiring, and its impact on mental health of residents of Chicago’s Englewood community.
Over the next year, the ISE’s Center on the Social Determinants of Mental Health and the Adler School Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) will collaborate on the HIA project with members of the Fisk and Crawford Reuse Taskforce including the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Pilsen Alliance, and the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization. Other collaborators will include The Resurrection Project, the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development, the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency on Planning, and the Mid America Center for Public Health Practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.
“Through this Health Impact Assessment, community-informed recommendations for repurposing the Fisk and Crawford sites will be put forth,” Todman said. “We expect that these recommendations will help shape the decisions regarding the development and implementation of plans to create the open space so critically needed by those who live in Pilsen and Little Village.”
“We are grateful for the vision and support of The Chicago Community Trust in pursuing this important, long-term outcome, contributing to quality of life and emphasizing the importance of health and well-being in metropolitan Chicago.”
About the Chicago Community Trust
For 98 years, The Chicago Community Trust, the region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2012, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $150 million to nonprofit organizations: developing new audiences to sustain Chicago's vibrant arts organizations, protecting the human services safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, stemming the devastating effects of foreclosures on communities, elevating teaching to meet world-class standards, and improving conditions for healthy and active lifestyles.
About the Adler School
The Adler School of Professional Psychology has provided quality education through a scholar/practitioner model for 60 years. The School’s mission is to train socially responsible graduates who continue the visionary work of Alfred Adler throughout the world. The Adler School offers graduate-level programs enrolling more than 1,000 students at its campuses in Chicago and Vancouver, British Columbia, and through Adler Online.
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