Health Impact Assessment (HIA)A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) involves a combination of procedures, methods and tools used to evaluate a policy, program or project as to its potential effects on the health of a population, and how these effects will affect different members of a population. HIA can help identify and consider the potential -- or actual -- health and equity impacts of a proposal on a given population.
HIA can inform and enhance equitable, health-aware decision-making at all levels. The purpose of the HIA is to inform, influence, and support decision-making. Many factors will influence decision-making, and it is important to acknowledge that HIA is just one of these.
A HIA's primary output is a set of recommendations based on the best evidence available. The recommendations should highlight practical ways to enhance the positive impacts of a proposal, and to remove or minimize any negative impacts on health.
Benefits of using HIA
- Addressing multiple factors affecting health and inequality
- Demonstrating health gain as added value
- Using a multidisciplinary and participatory approach
- Contributing to sustainable development
- Responding to public concerns about health
One recently completed HIA at Public Health - Seattle & King County is the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement HIA Project HIA (see section below.)
SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project
In May 2007, Senate Bill 6099 passed the Washington State Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Gregoire. SB 6099 establishes a mediation process to develop a project impact plan for the SR 520 Replacement Bridge and HOV project. The Keystone Center was hired to conduct the mediation process. The legislation includes language directing the mediation team to incorporate recommendations from a health impact assessment (HIA), to be conducted by Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) and Public Health - Seattle & King County (Public Health). The goal is to calculate the project's impact on "air quality, carbon emissions and other public health issues."
- Assess the SR 520 Replacement Bridge and HOV Project's impact on "air quality, carbon emissions and other public health issues" per SB 6099.
- Protect the health of the public by raising awareness among decision makers of the relationship between health and the physical, social and economic environment, thereby ensuring that they include a consideration of health consequences in their deliberations.
- Make recommendations to enhance the positive impacts and to remove or minimize any negative impacts on health.
The HIA was conducted between September 2007 and September 2008. The lead staff plan to continue working with the mediation team into early fall 2008 as needed.