Public Health

PVPC’s Public Health work includes working with public health professionals and advocates on emergency preparedness and response as well as making the connection between land use planning and public health focusing on the built environment and assuring access to healthy food and physical activity.

Public Health and the Built Environment:

PVPC has a long history of understanding the connections between public health and planning and works both at the municipal and regional scale on multiple projects related to improving public health including:

  • developing resources such as the toolkit: Healthy Community Design: Leveraging Positive Change;
  • facilitating Health Impact Assessments (HIAs);
  • analyzing municipalities zoning regulations to assure residents can be physically active in their daily lives and have access to healthy food,
  • and developing model regulations to be used to improve access to healthy behavior and healthy food.

PVPC has also been instrumental in bringing national attention and federal funding to our member municipalities including the expansion of the LiveWell Springfield initiative ( and facilitation of the regions’ first Food Security Plan. PVPC collaborates with state, local and national public health professionals, volunteers and advocates and our member communities to promote public health.  


Catherine Ratte is the contact on Public Health and the Built Environment including Food Access and Food Security.

Erica Johnson is the contact on Public Health and Emergency Preparedness

Current Projects

A Complete Street is a street designed to accomodate all users in a safe, convenient, and comfortable manner.

Streets direct people; they movegoods; they accommodate cars,buses, and bicycles; they provide social connections, and ultimately they establish the
platform for the rest of the city to build upon.

Live Well Springfield is a community based coalition that includes over 20 organizations working in Springfield. The coalition supports a grassroots movement towards health equity through improving access to healthy eating and active living opportunities.

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is the Mass in Motion Coordinator for Palmer and West Springfield, working with inter-disciplinary Wellness Leadership teams in both communities to promote healthy behavior,  increase access to healthy food, and move the communities toward a health-in-all-po