Health Impact Assessment

What is HIA?

Health Impact Assessment is a systematic process that combines scientific data, health expertise and public input to identify the potential—and often overlooked—health effects of a proposed policy, plan, program, or project. HIA provides practical recommendations for federal, state and local legislators, public agencies and other decision makers on ways to minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities to improve health and build safe, thriving communities.

What are the steps of HIA?

Screening: Determine whether a proposed project, plan, or policy is likely to have health effects and whether the HIA will provide useful information.

Scoping: Establish the scope of health effects to be included in the HIA, the populations affected, the sources of data and the methods to be used.

Assessment: Describe the baseline health of people and groups affected by implementing the plan, and then assesses the potential health impacts.

Recommendations: Suggest plan design alternatives that can improve health or provide practical, specific actions that promote health and avoid, minimize or reduce adverse health outcomes.

Reporting: Present HIA findings and make recommendations to decision makers and stakeholders.

Monitoring and Evaluation: Monitor the implementation of HIA recommendations and conduct process, impact and outcome evaluations of the HIA.

What are the benefits of conducting HIA?

  • Considers health from a broad perspective that takes into account social, economic and environmental influences;
  • Ensures that health and health disparities are considered in decision-making;
  • Considers how certain impacts may affect vulnerable populations in various ways; and
  • Engages community members and stakeholders to help build unanimity.