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Healthy Communities Assessment Tool

October 07, 2015 Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

The Dallas Fed, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Healthy Housing Solutions will host a webinar on HUD’s new Healthy Communities Assessment Tool (HCAT).


Elizabeth Sobel Blum, Senior Advisor, Community Development, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas


  • Noreen Beatley, Senior Project Manager, Healthy Housing Solutions
  • Chris Trent, Health Scientist, HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes
  • HUD HCAT Pilot City Representatives

About the Healthy Communities Assessment Tool

  • Is publicly available
  • Uses neighborhood-level resolution and a health lens
  • Exclusively uses evidence-based health indicators
  • Is user-friendly to neighborhood residents, not just organizations
  • Can be used to facilitate multisector collaborations
  • Can be used to screen and compare communities at a neighborhood-level resolution

Date and Time

  • October 7, 2015
    2–3:30 p.m. CDT


An estimated 80 percent of our health is affected by what happens outside of the doctor’s office—from the quality of food we consume to the safety and quality of our housing, schools, neighborhoods, pedestrian and bike paths, public transportation and social networks. In addition, our ZIP code tends to be a more accurate predictor of how long we live than our genetic code.

Therefore, individual and community health are not just under the purview of the public health and health care sectors but also the community development and economic development sectors. Emerging from these sectors is an expanding set of tools to help communities protect and promote their health, well-being, quality of life and resilience. HUD’s Healthy Communities Assessment Tool is one of these tools.

Recommended Reading

Websites and Resources

*Note: URLs for Pilot City HCATs will change after Nov. 30, 2015.

Speaker Bios

Noreen Beatley
Senior Project Manager
Healthy Housing Solutions

Beatley is Solutions’ project manager for HUD’s Healthy Communities Transformation Initiative (HCTI). She has worked on sustainable community issues such as green building, affordable housing, transportation and community economic development for nearly 20 years. As the HCTI project manager, she is working with HUD on the development of the Healthy Communities Index (HCI) and Healthy Communities Assessment Tool (HCAT) to help communities evaluate and compare the health of their neighborhoods. Noreen has worked with the National Center for Healthy Housing, the U.S. Green Building Council, Enterprise Community Partners and numerous other nonprofits and government agencies, researching innovative policies and practices to promote sustainable communities. She has written green building policy primers, case studies on the benefits of green healthy housing and policy briefs on greening workforce development and has contributed to numerous publications on smart growth and affordable housing.

Beatley served on the steering committee of Reality Check Plus Maryland and the National Vacant Properties Campaign and participated in numerous state and national green building, smart growth and community development working groups. She holds a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and received Bachelor of Arts degrees in urban development and political science from the University of Rhode Island.

Elizabeth Sobel Blum
Senior Community Development Advisor
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Sobel Blum leads the Dallas Fed’s work in “healthy communities”—those in which individuals and their communities are vibrant, thrive and show resilience.

Through research, publications, events and coalition-building, Sobel Blum helps advance discussion about creating and supporting healthy opportunities for all so that healthy becomes the norm. Her areas of focus include health, housing, workforce development, small business and entrepreneurship and community development finance.

Sobel Blum serves on the board of directors of ChangeLab Solutions and the Community Advisory Board of the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s (UNTHSC) Center for Community Health. In May 2014 she completed the STAR Fellowship Program; the Steps Toward Academic Research (STAR) Fellowship Program is run by the UNTHSC’s Texas Center for Health Disparities, a National Institutes of Health-designated Center for Excellence. She earned a BA from Northwestern University, an MA from American University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Chris Trent
Health Scientist
Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Home
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Trent is a health scientist in the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) headquarters offices in Washington, D.C. She is responsible for developing and implementing cross-cutting technical and policy-focused healthy homes programs at the national level that involve substantial collaboration and coordination with other federal partners and stakeholders. Her focus areas include evidence-based research on healthy homes topics, strategic planning, policy analysis and programmatic implementation.

In addition to the development of the Healthy Communities Assessment Tool, other recent examples of initiatives of interest include development and implementation efforts for the interagency-developed Advancing Healthy Housing: A Strategy for Action, coordinating radon policy initiatives under the scope of the Federal Radon Action Plan Work Group and working on community resilience issues.

Trent has worked in the private and public sectors, including at the U.S. EPA in the Office of Research and Development and also in the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. She has considerable background in public health, particularly occupational and environmental health. She earned an MS in industrial hygiene from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also received advanced academic training in comparative risk assessment and epidemiology. Trent also has a BS in biology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.