Origins of the Clearinghouse
The original Built Environment and Public Health Curriculum (BEPHC) was developed as a result of an audience member's question at the 2006 American Public Health Association Annual Conference. The questioner asked for a description of a model planning and public health university-level curriculum following a presentation of select classes on this topic. The nontrivial question led its receiver, Professor Nisha Botchwey, to explore and create a multidisciplinary curriculum in planning and public health. In 2009, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Botchwey launched the Built Environment and Public Health Curriculum, which housed much of the resources used to create the model course. "A Model Curriculum for a Course on the Built Environment and Public Health" was published by Botchwey and colleagues a few months later in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. This early stage of the Curriculum website provided resources primarily to the planning academy for development of planning and public health courses. However, anecdotally, academics from architecture, landscape architecture, and transportation began using these resources for educating students in their disparate disciplines.
The growing interest from other disciplines and evidence of the built environment’s impacts on population health led to a broader base of support for curation, expansion, and distribution of these resources. In 2012, with funding through the National Prevention Strategy and in Partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), Georgia Tech led the Building Bridges project focused on enhancing multisectoral community design and public health approaches to promote population health and safety, prevent injuries, and to integrate health into decision-making through maintaining and building “a skilled, cross-trained, and diverse prevention workforce.” Additional information from the Building Bridges project is available in the Final Report.
Current State of the Clearinghouse
Two key recommendations from the Building Bridges Expert Panel were to offer additional joint trainings through established professional organizations and expand the resources available on the Curriculum website beyond a focus on university 'planning' and 'public health' education. These recommendations led to an expanded partnership in 2013 that included the American Public Health Association (APHA), and the American Planning Association (APA). Georgia Tech, APHA, APA and NNPHI with support from the National Prevention Strategy offered trainings, seminars, articles and multisectoral convenings. In 2014, the partners launched the Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse (BEPHC) as a resource for community design and public health academic and professional multidisciplinary training and community building. The Clearinghouse was recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General's Office in 2014 as a go-to resource for training at the university and professional levels, and for relevant news at the critical intersection of health and place. The Clearinghouse continues to provide multi-sector academic and professional training and community building across the US.