Press Release

Funding Available in Minnesota to Identify Health Opportunities, Risks of Upcoming Decisions

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The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, announced a request for proposals (RFP) today that will fund three grants of up to $100,000 each to identify and address potential health impacts of an upcoming decision in each of their communities or state through the use of health impact assessments (HIA).

The RFP is supported through funding from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Minnesota communities and decision-makers to take a broad and unbiased look at an upcoming decision,” said Dr. Aaron Wernham, director of the Health Impact Project. “States and communities around the United States are turning to HIAs as a way to help avoid unintended consequences, find practical solutions, and leverage opportunities to improve health. Minnesota has been on the forefront of this rapidly growing field.”

“We are pleased to extend the reach of the Health Impact Project in Minnesota,” said Carolyn Link, executive director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. “The opportunity to learn from and learn with others in this growing field is a great opportunity for organizations in our state.”

Eligible organizations include Minnesota-based nonprofits; local, tribal, or state agencies; and educational institutions. Organizations from a broad range of fields and sectors, such as education; economic, social, and agricultural policy; energy, environmental regulation, transportation, and natural resource development are encouraged to apply. Experience conducting HIAs is not required. The Health Impact Project will provide tailored training and technical assistance to all grantees throughout each grant.

Brief proposals are due Wednesday, May 15.

HIA in Minnesota

HIAs are increasingly being used to bring public health concerns into public policy decisions. In 2007, 27 HIAs were completed in the United States. Currently, more than 200 have been completed or are in progress. According to the map of HIA activity in the United States, 12 assessments are under way in Minnesota, including the two supported by the Health Impact Project with funding from the Blue Cross Foundation:

An HIA by the City of Minneapolis will inform revisions to the Above the Falls Master Plan, which is intended to increase public access and use of the waterfront, improve housing and employment opportunities, and reduce environmental contamination.

The Bottineau Transitway HIA, conducted by Hennepin County, will inform planning decisions that have the potential to benefit the health of residents along the corridor by improving air quality; creating opportunities for exercise; improving access to grocery stores, employment, and health services; and spurring reinvestment in housing and retail services.

The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, is a leading national initiative exclusively dedicated to promoting the use of health impact assessments in the United States. More information, including a searchable map of HIA activity in the United States, is available at www.healthimpactproject.org.