About Health Impact Assessments

What are HIAs?

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a method to assess the potential health effects or consequences—positive and negative—of a proposed policy, program, or project. HIA provides decision-makers with information to inform community decisions and actions that impact health.

HIAs assess health impacts

HIA is a structured, yet flexible process by which to consider the health implications of a policy, plan, or investment, as well as how those impacts might disproportionately affect different racial, income, geographic, and other population groups. HIAs may employ a variety of methods, bringing together qualitative and quantitative data, public health expertise, and stakeholder input to judge potential health effects and provide recommendations for enhancing the health benefits and minimizing risks or harms of the decision at hand.

HIAs inform decision-making

HIA occurs within a decision-making process and is used to assess the potential health impacts of many types of policies, plans, and investments, spanning sectors and applications. HIAs promote better-informed decisions and ultimately, better health and well-being outcomes for communities.

HIAs advance Health in All Policies

HIA is an effective tool to advance “Health in All Policies” (HiAP), an approach that promotes integrating health considerations into all policies, practices, plans, sectors and investments. In this sense, HiAP is an overarching goal of HIA.

Benefits of HIAs

HIAs have many benefits across a wide range of sectors. HIAs…
  • Can be applied to a broad range of policies, plans and investments
  • Provide a structured process to evaluate health impacts
  • Advance cross-sector collaboration
  • Promote community engagement, and build trust and strengthen relationships with community
  • Expand access to health-promoting resources (e.g., healthy foods, transit, health care)
  • Protect priority populations from disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards
  • Precipitate immediate and long-term benefits to health, well-being and equity
  • Ensure dollars are leveraged for greatest benefit

Vital Conditions


Priority Populations

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