Concurrent Breakout Sessions III

HIA 101: Scoping: The Building Blocks for HIA


This presentation is designed for new and potential HIA practitioners. The most important step for any study is the planning step, and in HIA, the planning occurs in scoping. Even for well-practiced researchers, the scoping step can appear daunting and time-consuming. It sets the stage for the assessment, and many different processes are occurring simultaneously. This presentation will cover the different levels of rigor in HIA, tools and processes used for designing assessment plans (i.e., data mining, pathway diagrams, research question development, scoping worksheets), and lessons learned from a practice-based perspective. In addition, the presentation will touch on a common hurdle experienced in scoping: the underestimation of the time and resources needed to complete this critical step. Participants will gain valuable knowledge and develop skills to help identify countermeasures to problems that may develop in the scoping step of the HIA process.


Lauren Adkins, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Steve White, Oregon Public Health Institute

Expanding the Role of HIA and Health Considerations across Federal Agencies


This session will engage the audience to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of HIA practice in the United States. The discussion will then focus on the limited number of federal-level HIAs and the even smaller number completed by federal agencies. The leader of the EPA HIA in Atlanta will provide an overview of its work and discuss lessons learned. The audience will then be presented with general guidelines and requirements faced by federal agencies and propose ways to better integrate HIAs into federal decision making.


Nisha Botchwey, Georgia Institute of Technology

Catherine Ross, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development

Tami Thomas-Burton, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IV

Incorporating Health Considerations into Community Development Projects—LEED


Although improving resident health outcomes has become a priority of the green building movement over the past several years, until now there has been no clear pathway for expertise on health issues to directly influence building design, construction, and maintenance strategies. In this session, attendees will experience the new Enterprise/LEED health-focused integrative design process in action. After a brief introduction, attendees will bring their expertise to bear on a sample local affordable housing development by following the new Enterprise/LEED HIA-based integrative design process. Participants will get a firsthand look at how designers and developers evaluate health considerations along with other critical concerns and turn desired resident health outcomes into actionable design, construction, and maintenance strategies.


Ray Demers, Enterprise Community Partners

Krista Egger, Enterprise Community Partners

Kelly Worden, U.S. Green Building Council

The Participatory Planning Process in HIAs: Strategies and Tools


Community members are often frustrated because officials make many decisions behind closed doors that will affect their neighborhoods and livelihood. The common complaint: their participation in the decision-making process is limited or nonexistent. There are no baseline policies that outline specific strategies and tools to gather community input in a systematic, organized, and inclusive approach. The lack of a defined process leaves the door open for some developers, organizations, and local governments to implement community participation in a wide variety of ways, many of which are not inclusive, comprehensive, or meaningful. This full session is designed to train the trainer and showcase participatory planning process strategies, activities, and tools.


Ernesto Fonseca, The Elemental Group LLC

Pam Goslar, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center

Kim Steele, The Elemental Group LLC

Framing and Messaging About Equity in HIA


The aim of this working group is to discuss the development of the equity communication resource and to obtain feedback on what the Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment working group has produced thus far, as it is still a work in progress. The session also is intended to share insights into how participants are addressing the challenges of communicating about equity in their HIA work. Through this participatory process, individuals engaged in the working group will be able to contribute directly to the development of this resource. 


Maryann Sorenson Allacci, Rutgers Center for Green Building, Edward J. Bloustein School for Planning and Public Policy

Jonathan Heller, Human Impact Partners

Connecting Community Development and Health through HIA: An Evaluation of Three HIAs


Community development includes a wide range of activities that influence multiple determinants of health and quality of life. HIA can play a key role in improving health in these communities by providing a context for cross-sector collaboration between two fields that are often working on similar issues but from separate perspectives. In 2013, the Health Impact Project funded three community development-focused HIAs and an overarching evaluation of lessons learned from the projects. This session examines those lessons and potential implications for future HIAs. The three HIAs focused on different but related aspects of community development: neighborhood-level sustainability planning, state-level affordable housing policy, and a state-level funding program for community development corporations.


Bethany Rogerson, Health Impact Project

Michelle Marcus Rushing, Georgia Health Policy Center

HIA in the Policy Cycle Maze: Finding the Way through Vague Language and Unclear Directives


HIAs are increasingly occurring at earlier stages in the policy cycle, when details may be lacking or when needed information may not be available to the HIA practitioner. In these situations, practitioners must manage the challenge of determining the health impacts of a decision while dealing with gaps in what they can assess. This working group will present various scenarios in which HIA practitioners have creatively developed solutions to assess for health impacts based on limited available information. Facilitators will work with participants to explore similar challenges and discuss useful solutions from the following groups: the New Jersey Health Impact Collaborative, the Tri-County Health Department, and the Center for Health Equity.


Jimmy Dills, Georgia Health Policy Center

Katie Hirono, University of New South Wales, Australia

Sheila Lynch, Tri-County Health Department (Colorado)

Media Contact

Tami Holzman

Officer, Communications