Policy decisions at the federal, state, local, and organizational level impact population health; however, the health implications of policy decisions are not always well understood or taken into consideration as part of the policymaking process. However, informing the policy process is a core public health function, and public health agencies seek innovative and practical tools to make sure policy decisions are well informed.
The Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) supports building capacity in a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach. HiAP takes a proactive and collaborative approach to policy development through which organizations consider the social determinants of health and health implications when making decisions across a multitude of public policy issues.
One strategy for achieving HiAP is through the use of Health Impact Assessment (HIA). HIA is a systematic process that compiles information from multiple data sources and incorporates input from a variety of stakeholders to outline the potential risks and benefits, related to the health of a population, of a proposed policy, plan, program, or project. Through the use of this tool, organizations bring together a variety of community stakeholders, highlight potential health benefits for the community, and consider mitigating strategies to address negative consequences.
CHC offers training and coaching that builds HIA knowledge and capacity through learning-by-doing. More specifically, CHC offers a one day HIA workshop that guides stakeholders through the process of kicking off a HIA. Following the workshop, CHC coaches stakeholders to the point of disseminating a final report to decision makers that supports making well informed decisions.
CHC’s workshop and follow-up support guides participants through the six steps of either a rapid or comprehensive HIA process. These steps include screening, scoping, assessment, recommendations, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation. CHC’s approach is simple, straight forward, and “just-in time.” Additionally, CHC can play a large or small role in the process, depending on what makes most sense for a community.
For more information and examples of publicly available Health Impact Assessments, please check out the resources below:
- Society of practitioners of Health Impact Assessment: https://hiasociety.org/
- The PEW Charitable Trusts and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Impact Project: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/health-impact-project/health-impact-assessment
- Human Impact Partners: https://humanimpact.org/products-resources/issue-area/?filter=iss1-145