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Improving Health in the United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment

Description:

This report offers guidance to officials in the public and private sectors on conducting Health Impact Assessment (HIAs) to evaluate public health consequences of proposed decisions -- such as those to build a major roadway, plan a city's growth, or develop national agricultural policies -- and suggests actions that could minimize adverse health impacts and optimize beneficial ones.

Several approaches could be used to incorporate aspects of health into decision making, but HIA holds particular promise because of its applicability to a broad array of programs, consideration of both adverse and beneficial health effects, ability to consider and incorporate various types of evidence, and engagement of communities and stakeholders in a deliberative process. The report notes that HIA should not be assumed to be the best approach to every health policy question but rather should be seen as part of a spectrum of public health and policy-oriented approaches.

The report presents a six-step framework for conducting HIA of proposed policies, programs, plans, and projects at federal, state, tribal, and local levels, including within the private sector. In addition, the report identifies several challenges to the successful use of HIA, such as balancing the need to provide timely information with the realities of varying data quality, producing quantitative estimates of health effects, and engaging stakeholders.

Toolkit:

Environmental Health in All Policies (HiAP)

Keyword Area:

Health Equity, Health Impact Assessment (HIA), Planning, Policies

Jurisdiction:

Institutional Author:

The National Research Council

Submitted:

09/13/2013

Modified:

The NACCHO Toolbox is a repository of available resources to help local public health practitioners. Tools are produced by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as academic institutions and other stakeholders. The contents of this Toolbox are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official recommendations of NACCHO. NACCHO makes no express or implied warranty with respect to the contents and disclaims liability for any damages arising from or connected to the use of the material in this Toolbox.