Conducting an HIA
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 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 health benefits and minimizing risks or harms.
HIAs are usually voluntary and conducted before a policy, plan or investment is implemented or built, sometimes in combination with environmental impact assessment (EIA), which examines environmental impacts of policies, plans and investments. Usually HIAs are conducted by public health professionals in health departments, universities, or health advocacy and consulting groups. Practitioners include local, state and federal public health officials, private consultants, public health students and faculty, medicine, built environment, and architecture.
Steps of an HIA Process
Determine if an HIA is needed and would add value to the policy, plan or investment
Plan the HIA: determine project partners; identify risks and benefits to consider; decide on methodology; develop a work plan
Assess health impacts: analyze existing conditions; identify affected populations; review the proposed policy, plan or investment; evaluate the potential impacts on existing conditions
Develop recommendations to promote positive health effects and minimize negative health effects
Report findings: develop a report to communicates findings and recommendations; present results to decision-makers, affected communities, and other stakeholders
Monitoring and Evaluation
Determine the HIA’s impact on the decision and health status
Adapted from The Pew Charitable Trust, Do Health Impact Assessments Promote Healthier Decision-Making?
Types of HIAs
HIAs differ in terms of intensity, timeline, team, and budget required. Below are several types of HIAs.
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