Health Impact Project


Policy Briefs

Health Impact Assessment: Bringing Public Health Data to Decision Making

Preventable health problems, including many cases of heart disease,  diabetes, asthma and injuries, are taking a huge toll on American families. For the first time in U.S. history, data suggest that today's children may live shorter lives than their parents. These problems also threaten our nation's economic vitality. By factoring  health consequences into the process when drafting new laws and regulations, building a major roadway, planning for a city's growth or developing a school curriculum, policy makers can capitalize on hidden opportunities to improve health, save on health-related costs and use limited resources more wisely. Health Impact Assessment s (HIA) are a practical, evidence-driven tool to accomplish these goals.

Promoting Equity through the Practice of Health Impact Assessment (PDF)

Health Impact Assessments (HIA) can be conducted in ways that advance equity--one of the four core values of HIA as identified by the World Health Organization--but many practitioners and those interested in HIAs need guidance on how to best ensure equity within the practice.

Leaders in health, HIA, and equity came together to develop just this type of guidance in the newly released report, Promoting Equity through the Practice of Health Impact Assessment, authored by PolicyLinkthe Adler School of Professional PsychologyHuman Impact Partners, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Program on Health, Equity, and Sustainability.

The report identifies eight principles for promoting equity, along with specific strategies for implementing each principle, as well as examples that exemplify those principles in practice taken from communities ranging from Chicago and Los Angeles to Alaska and Oregon and  provides a roadmap to support HIA practitioners in ensuring equity through their practice.

Ohio Housing Inspections Policy Brief (PDF)

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), in collaboration with The Ohio State University College of Public Health, conducted a health impact assessment (HIA) to inform decisions on a proposal to improve interagency coordination and streamline the current system for housing inspections on affordable housing units. At present, different inspections are conducted or required by local housing authorities, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Housing inspections help identify and remedy substandard physical conditions, like water leaks and mold, pests, peeling paint, and structural hazards which can contribute to a wide range of health problems including asthma, injury and burns, and mental illness. The proposed policy would indirectly impact nearly 35,000 units and directly impact 5,000 units of affordable multi-family housing in Ohio.

Leveraging Multi-Sector Investments: New Opportunities to Improve the Health and Vitality of Communities (PDF)

A report from Health Resources in Action (HRiA) that explores the overlaps between the economic and community development sectors with the public health and medical care sectors. The paper describes needs within each sector and identifies opportunities to work more effectively together to build healthier communities.

Read more about HRiA's HIA work on the Massachusetts Community Investment Tax Credit Grant Program, the Massachusetts Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights, and the Oasis on Ballou development in Codman Square

Legal Review Concerning the Use of Health Impact Assessments in Non-Health Sectors (PDF)

The Health Impact Project contracted with Arizona State University’s (ASU) Public Health Law and Policy Program to conduct a comprehensive review and analysis of statutes, regulations, and other laws that may support the promotion and use of HIAs.

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