Analysis

At Year’s End, HIA Project and Program Mark Accomplishments

Health Impact Project grantees complete work

Health impact project

Grantees conducted 28 health impact assessments in 15 states. This work will help ensure that public health and community priorities are included in decision-making in other sectors.

© Christopher Futcher/iStockphoto

The end of 2016 marks the seventh anniversary of the Health Impact Project, which seeks to expand the consideration of health in proposals involving other sectors of the economy, such as transportation, housing, education, and energy. As the year draws to a close, so do a number of projects that our grantees began in 2014. These grantees include 20 state and local government agencies, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations from across the United States. For two years, they have examined the health implications of projects and policies on a wide range issues such as criminal justice and transportation. Collectively, they conducted 28 health impact assessments (HIAs) in 15 states.

This work will help ensure that public health and community priorities are included in decision-making in other sectors. The findings can be used to close gaps in health that persist among populations. For example:

  • The Ditching Dirty Diesel Collaborative completed an HIA on the Alameda County (California) Transportation Commission’s freight transportation plan. As a result, the commission adopted several recommendations from the assessment to promote public health. For example, projects and programs funded and implemented will adopt strategies to safeguard communities affected by the noise, traffic, and pollution associated with freight facilities. This could include increasing investments in order to mitigate potential impacts that could increase health inequities.
  • As a result of an HIA by the Maricopa County (Arizona) Department of Public Health on policies that allow communities to use school properties, the Roosevelt School District has sponsored more community events, field trips, and school gardens. One school offered fitness classes outside of school hours to encourage physical activity to reduce obesity and related diseases. The department will also fund up to four grants for future shared-use projects.

Beyond specific HIA projects, grantees worked to make health considerations in decision-making more routine. They developed HIA-related tools such as checklists, and they established systems, cross-sector partnerships, and funding mechanisms to facilitate the use of HIA or similar approaches. For example the Douglas County (Omaha) Health Department incorporated health considerations into local decision-making and prioritized spending county tax dollars to sustain HIA and Health in All Policies work. It also created a citizens guide to increase transparency and accountability in local decision-making by identifying ways for the public to be more involved in planning.

Congratulations to all of the HIA practitioners on successfully completing their projects and their commitment to advancing health equity in their communities. We look forward to hearing more about how they are working to improve the conditions that shape our health. And we extend a thanks to our funding partners—the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, The California Endowment, and the de Beaumont Foundation—for supporting these projects.

Learn more about these 28 funded HIAs:

  1. Addressing Mental Health and Physical Activity in K-12 Children in Colorado Springs
  2. Alameda County Goods Movement Planning for Health
  3. Boston Living Wage Ordinance
  4. Building Capacity in HIA on the U.S.-Mexico Border Through Practice, Training, and Collaborative Partnerships (New Mexico)
  5. Building Capacity in HIA on the U.S.-Mexico Border Through Practice, Training, and Collaborative Partnerships (Texas)
  6. California Drinking Water Project Funding
  7. Composting in California
  8. Englewood Line Greenway
  9. Full-Day Kindergarten
  10. Funding for New York State’s Correctional Education Programs
  11. Gateway Gold Line Bus Rapid Transit: A Closer Look at Health and Land Use
  12. HIA of the Cargo Atlanta Citywide Freight Study
  13. HIA of the Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Freight Transportation Plan
  14. Industrial Sand Mining in Western Wisconsin
  15. Just Cause for Eviction
  16. Marijuana Policies Related to Child Abuse and Neglect in Colorado
  17. Massachusetts Proposed Expungement Bill
  18. Massachusetts Small Business Technical Assistance Program
  19. Minnesota Drug Sentencing Reform
  20. Mo’omomi Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area
  21. New Mexico Food Tax
  22. Omaha Neighborhood Connections
  23. Omaha Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan
  24. Power Generation Alternatives for the Michoud Natural Gas Plants
  25. Restorative Justice in San Diego
  26. Santo Domingo Pueblo Community Master Plan
  27. Shared-Use Roosevelt—School Properties as Community Space
  28. Statewide Child Mental Health

Rebecca Morley directs and Bethany Rogerson is a manager for the Health Impact Project.