Over 350 people representing 40 states and territories attended the second National Health Impact Assessment, or HIA, Meeting took place Sept. 24 and 25 in Washington. The conference focused on ways to bring health into decisions in other sectors through the use of assessments. Meeting organizers, including the Health Impact Project, intended it as a rich opportunity for interaction: an environment in which participants are not passive listeners but rather have a chance to offer insights, meet peers wrestling with similar issues, learn how other sectors do their work, and form and strengthen networks that will contribute to a robust, thriving field.
For a second year in a row, the demand for this meeting outpaced expectations, and the meeting filled nearly two months early. Attendees included policymakers from all levels, including federal, state, local, and tribal governments; as well as academics, HIA practitioners, and people new to the field of HIA. The audience was unique for a public health meeting: About 40 percent of the organizations and agencies represented came from a range of fields outside health-related professions, such as transportation, housing, land-use planning, energy, education, and others.
The co-conveners were The California Endowment, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota, the National Network of Public Health Institutes, and the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The meeting was organized with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Community Design Initiative.
“Thank you to all the attendees, and especially our co-conveners, for making this conference such a success,” said Aaron Wernham, director of the Health Impact Project. “I think we all left energized and with new ideas for ways to address the pressing challenges in our communities by bringing health into the decisions that shape the places where we live and work.”
The next meeting is to be held in spring 2015. Please sign up for the Health Impact Project e-newsletter to receive announcements about the next meeting and other information about the field of HIA.