Healthy Places Leading to Healthy People:
Community Engagement Improves Health for All


home construction, volunteers"The places where people live, work, learn, and play will protect and promote their health and safety, especially those people at greater risk of health disparities." - Overarching CDC Healthy Places Goal

CDC’s Healthy Places goals examine a broad spectrum of health issues associated with communities, homes, schools, workplaces, healthcare facilities, institutions, and transportation and recreational facilities. This approach seeks to address the potential human health impacts of physical space and environmental exposure.

This Public Health Grand Rounds program will focus on Healthy Communities, the broadest CDC Healthy Places goal area. Healthy communities are places where public health systems, social infrastructure and policies support health and essential public health services that are readily available to all.

Highlighted will be the rural community of Wabasso located in Indian River County, Florida. Wabasso successfully used a community engagement approach, stimulated by a tool called the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE-EH), to address critical health, social and environmental issues such as safe streets, secure housing, water quality, crime prevention and physical activity promotion. 

Today, CDC and NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials) provide technical assistance to local and state health departments and their constituents in using PACE-EH. Through a series of tasks and discussion, PACE-EH clarifies the holistic nature of place-related health activities and addresses core problems rather than just symptoms.

Pilot-site coordinators throughout the country have praised PACE-EH for its impressive results and the coalition-building that brings previously competing, overlapping, and sometimes combative local agencies together to foster improved relationships between public health agencies and the community.


This program will illustrate how the PACE-EH community engagement tool has helped communities clearly identify health, social and environmental problems driven by place-related elements within the community environment.  It will highlight how this process has helped to focus community efforts and build coalitions for change across agencies and community groups for the overall public health and well-being of all citizens in a community.


  • Describe how the PACE-EH tool was utilized in Indian River County, Florida and how it continues to benefit Wabasso residents and the local health department.
  • Examine how the PACE-EH tool helps communities clearly identify their health, social and environmental problems.
  • Illustrate various ways the PACE-EH tool helps to build coalitions for change across agencies and community groups.
  • Compare and contrast available community engagement tools such as PACE-EH, MAPP, HIA, REACH and others.

Target Audience

Public health leaders, managers, professionals from local and state health departments, environmental health professionals, injury prevention professionals, chronic disease professionals, local and state planning and community design professionals, community organizers, academic institutions, community-based health organizations, boards of health, planning and zoning boards, state and local governmental officials and their staffs, federal agencies, and others who are interested in community health in all of its facets.