Health Impact Assessment

What is HIA?

As described by the authoring committee of the National Research Council of the National Academies Improving Health in the United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment:

“HIA is a systematic process that uses an array of data sources and analytic methods and considers input from stakeholders to determine the potential effects of a proposed policy, plan, program, or project on the health of a population and the distribution of those effects within the population. HIA provides recommendations on monitoring and managing those effects.”

Health Impact Assessment:

  • Looks at health from a broad perspective that considers social, economic and environmental influences;
  • Brings community members, business interests and other stakeholders together, which can help build consensus;
  • Acknowledges the trade-offs of choices under consideration and offers decision makers comprehensive information and practical recommendations to maximize health gains and minimize adverse effects;
  • Puts health concerns in the context of other important factors when making a decision; and
  • Considers whether certain impacts may affect vulnerable groups of people in different ways.

HIA Fact Sheet – The who, what, when, where and why of HIA from Human Impact Partners.

Resources on HIA:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthy Places The CDC site offers an overview of the HIA process and provides links to additional resources.

Health Impact Assessment Blog This blog offers commentary on worldwide HIA and health policy developments, and provides links to HIA practitioners around the world

Health Impact Assessment Clearinghouse Learning and Information Center This site, administered by the University of California, Los Angeles, collects and disseminates information on HIAs in the United States.  There are links to dozens of HIAs conducted in the United States, as well as HIA guides, news, and academic research.

HIA Connect This site is maintained by the University of New South Wales Research Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, and provides resources and information about HIA.  The website is intended to support efforts by Australians to undertake HIAs, though much of its information relates generally to the HIA process

HIA Gateway The British Association of Public Health Observatories operates this information clearinghouse. This website includes HIA news, guides, reports and case study examples from around the globe.

Health Impact Project The Health Impact Project, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, is a national initiative designed to promote the use of Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) as a decision-making tool for policymakers.  Their website provides an overview of HIA and describes five case studies.

IMPACT – International Health Impact Assessment Consortium IMPACT is based at the United Kingdom’s University of Liverpool, which conducts HIA research, consulting and training. This website provides links to HIAs that IMPACT has completed.

 North American HIA Practice Standards Working Group HIA practice standards developed by a group of North American HIA practitioners, including Human Impact Partners staff, are available on this website.

San Francisco Bay Area HIA Collaborative – This collaborative is composed of Human Impact Partners, San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the University of California, Berkeley Health Impact Group.  The website provides information about and links to HIA case studies, tools, and training opportunities. There is also a discussion board with several HIA-related forums.

San Francisco Department of Environmental Health Program on Health, Equity and Sustainability This site outlines HIA methodologies used in San Francisco. Several tools developed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health Program on Health, Equity and Sustainability, such as the Healthy Development Measurement Tool and the Pedestrian Environmental Quality Index, are available for public use.

Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment (SOPHIA) SOPHIA is an association of individuals and organizations providing leadership and promoting excellence in the practice of health impact assessment. HIP is helping to organize and fiscally sponsoring SOPHIA. We hope that it will be a leading network of health impact assessment practitioners. By promoting and practicing a thorough and systematic consideration of health in decision making, SOPHIA members will work towards achieving better health for all.  More information about the new association and information about joining are available at www.hiasociety.org.

University of California, Berkeley Health Impact Group The University of California, Berkeley Health Impact Group emerged from a graduate seminar on HIA at the School of Public Health. This site summarizes the group’s work and offers links to other HIA resources. University of California, Los Angeles Health Impact Assessment – Information and Insight for Policy Decisions HIA information offered on this website is intended for researchers and students interested in learning more about Health Impact Assessment, and policy-makers and stakeholders interested in finding out more about the health impacts of policies.

The Wisconsin HIA Online Toolkit The toolkit is a one stop shop for finding HIA related information and Wisconsin specific data.

World Health Organization Health Impact Assessment This WHO website provides definitions and guides for HIA, and its examples span a variety of issues and countries.