Health impact assessment (HIA) is defined as "a combination of procedures, methods, and tools by which a policy, program, or project may be judged as to its potential effects on the health of a population, and the distribution of those effects within the population." ( ECHP 1999 , p. 4)
HIA is intended to produce a set of evidence-based recommendations to inform decision-making ( Taylor & Quigley 2002 , p. 2). HIA seeks to maximise the positive health impacts and minimise the negative health impacts of proposed policies, programs or projects.
The procedures of HIA are similar to those used in other forms of impact assessment, such as environmental impact assessment or social impact assessment. HIA is usually described as following the steps listed, though many practitioners break these into sub-steps or label them differently:
The main objective of HIA is to apply existing knowledge and evidence about health impacts, to specific social and community contexts, to develop evidence-based recommendations that inform decision-making in order to protect and improve community health and wellbeing. Because of financial and time constraints, HIAs do not generally involve new research or the generation of original scientific knowledge. However, the findings of HIAs, especially where these have been monitored and evaluated over time, can be used to inform other HIAs in contexts that are similar. An HIA's recommendations may focus on both design and operational aspects of a proposal.
HIA has also been identified as a mechanism by which potential health inequalities can be identified and redressed prior to the implementation of proposed policy, program or project ( Acheson 1998 ).
A number of manuals and guidelines for HIA's use have been developed (see further reading).
The proposition that policies, programs and projects have the potential to change the determinants of health underpins HIA's use. Changes to health determinants then leads to changes in health outcomes or the health status of individuals and communities. The determinants of health are largely environmental and social, so that there are many overlaps with environmental impact assessment and social impact assessment.
Three forms of HIA exist:
It has been suggested that HIAs can be prospective (done before a proposal is implemented), concurrent (done while the proposal is being implemented) or retrospective (done after a proposal has been implemented) ( Taylor, Gorman & Quigley 2003 , p. 1). This remains controversial, however, with a number of HIA practitioners suggesting that concurrent HIA is better regarded as a monitoring activity and that retrospective HIA is more akin to evaluation with a health focus, rather than being assessment per se ( Kemm 2003 , p. 387). Prospective HIA is preferred as it allows the maximum practical opportunity to influence decision-making and subsequent health impacts.
HIA practitioners can be found in the private and public sectors, but are relatively few in number. There are no universally accepted competency frameworks or certification processes. It is suggested that a lead practitioner should have extensive education and training in a health related field, experience of participating in HIAs, and have attended an HIA training course. It has been suggested and widely accepted that merely having a medical or health degree should not be regarded as an indication of competency.
The International Association for Impact Assessment has an active health section.
A HIA People Directory can be found on the HIA GATEWAY.
HIA is currently being used or developed around the world, most notably in Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Thailand.
The new safeguard policies and standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank, were established in 2006. These contain a requirement for health impact assessment in large projects. The standards have been accepted by most of the leading lending banks who are parties to the Equator Principles. Health impact assessments are becoming routine in many large development projects in both public and private sectors of developing countries. There is also a long history of health impact assessment in the water resource development sector - large dams and irrigation systems.
The 13th International HIA Conference was held in Geneva in 2013.
The 12th International HIA Conference was held in Québec City in 2012.
ISO 14000 is a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations (a) minimize how their operations negatively affect the environment ; (b) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements; and (c) continually improve in the above.
Broadly speaking, a risk assessment is the combined effort of:
Healthy city is a term used in public health and urban design to stress the impact of policy on human health. It is a municipality that continually improves on a physical and a social level until environmental and pathological conditions are reached establishing an acceptable morbidity rate for the population. Its modern form derives from a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative on Healthy Cities and Villages in 1986, but has a history dating back to the mid 19th century. The term was developed in conjunction with the European Union, but rapidly became international as a way of establishing healthy public policy at the local level through health promotion. It emphasises the multi-dimensionality of health as laid out in WHO's constitution and, more recently, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. An alternative term is Healthy Communities, or Municipios saludables in parts of Latin America.
Development communication refers to the use of communication to facilitate social development. Development communication engages stakeholders and policy makers, establishes conducive environments, assesses risks and opportunities and promotes information exchanges to create positive social change via sustainable development. Development communication techniques include information dissemination and education, behavior change, social marketing, social mobilization, media advocacy, communication for social change, and community participation.
Life-cycle assessment is a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life-cycle of a commercial product, process, or service, e.g., in the case of a manufactured product, from raw material extraction and processing (cradle), through the product's manufacture, distribution and use, to the recycling or final disposal of the materials composing it (grave). More specifically, the term is applied to the techniques and methods by which the overall enviromental impact of the product, process, or service is determined, through a thorough inventory of the energy and materials that are brought into each, and the energy and materials related to each that are released into the environment. Hence, as stated by the EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory, life-cycle assessment examines commercial or similar products, processes, and services, providing a technique to assess their "environmental aspects and potential impacts"; it does so with a view toward allowing informed decisions, through an evaluation of the "potential environmental impacts" assigned to the inventory of all inputs and releases of materials and energy into the environment. Designers use this process to help critique their products.
Environmental assessment (EA) is the assessment of the environmental consequences of a plan, policy, program, or actual projects prior to the decision to move forward with the proposed action. In this context, the term "environmental impact assessment" (EIA) is usually used when applied to actual projects by individuals or companies and the term "strategic environmental assessment" (SEA) applies to policies, plans and programmes most often proposed by organs of state. It is a tool of environmental management forming a part of project approval and decision-making. Environmental assessments may be governed by rules of administrative procedure regarding public participation and documentation of decision making, and may be subject to judicial review.
Social impact assessment (SIA) is a methodology to review the social effects of infrastructure projects and other development interventions. Although SIA is usually applied to planned interventions, the same techniques can be used to evaluate the social impact of unplanned events, for example disasters, demographic change and epidemics.
The impact of nanotechnology extends from its medical, ethical, mental, legal and environmental applications, to fields such as engineering, biology, chemistry, computing, materials science, and communications.
Procurement is the process of finding, acquiring, buying goods, services or works from an external source, often via a tendering or competitive bidding process. The process is used to ensure the buyer receives goods, services or works the best possible price, when aspects such as quality, quantity, time, and location are compared. Procurement is considered sustainable when organizations broadens this framework by meeting their needs for goods, services, works, and utilities in a way that achieves value for money and promotes positive outcomes not only for the organization itself but for the economy, environment, and society. This framework is also known as the triple bottom line.
The Healthy Development Measurement Tool (HDMT), developed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, provides an approach for evaluating land-use planning and urban development with regards to the achievement of human health needs. The HDMT provides a set of baseline data on community health metrics for San Francisco and development targets to assess the extent to which urban development projects and plans can improve community health. The HDMT also provides a range of policy and design strategies that can advance health conditions and resources via the development process.
Policy Impact Assessments (IAs) are formal, evidence-based procedures that assess the economic, social, and environmental effects of public policy. They have been incorporated into policy making in the OECD countries and the European Commission.
Because of the ongoing controversy on the implications of nanotechnology, there is significant debate concerning whether nanotechnology or nanotechnology-based products merit special government regulation. This mainly relates to when to assess new substances prior to their release into the market, community and environment.
Sustainability is the ability to exist constantly. In the 21st century, it refers generally to the capacity for the biosphere and human civilization to coexist. It is also defined as the process of people maintaining change in a homeostasis balanced environment, in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. For many in the field, sustainability is defined through the following interconnected domains or pillars: environment, economic and social, which according to Fritjof Capra is based on the principles of Systems Thinking. Sub-domains of sustainable development have been considered also: cultural, technological and political. According to Our Common Future, Sustainable development is defined as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainable development may be the organizing principle of sustainability, yet others may view the two terms as paradoxical.
The environmental impact of the energy industry is diverse. Energy has been harnessed by human beings for millennia. Initially it was with the use of fire for light, heat, cooking and for safety, and its use can be traced back at least 1.9 million years. In recent years there has been a trend towards the increased commercialization of various renewable energy sources.
Environmental social science is the broad, transdisciplinary study of interrelations between humans and the natural environment. Environmental social scientists work within and between the fields of anthropology, communication studies, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology; and also in the interdisciplinary fields of environmental studies, human ecology and political ecology, social epidemiology, among others.
In analytical chemistry, biomonitoring is the measurement of the body burden of toxic chemical compounds, elements, or their metabolites, in biological substances. Often, these measurements are done in blood and urine.
Climate change and poverty are interrelated events. While global warming affect the natural environment, especially agriculture, it also affects humans. Climate change globally increases cycles of poverty, particularly in low-income communities. The international community has enshrined the intertwined issues of economic development and developing a sustainability in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Human Rights Impact Assessment is a process for systematically identifying, predicting and responding to the potential human rights impacts of a business operation, capital project, government policy, or trade agreement. It is designed to complement a company or government’s other impact assessment and due diligence processes and to be framed by appropriate international human rights principles and conventions. It is also rooted in the realities of the particular project by incorporating the context within which it will operate from the outset, and by engaging directly with those peoples whose rights may be at risk.
Below are the known health impacts of light rail systems.
Health in All Policies (HiAP) was a term first used in Europe during the Finnish presidency of the European Union (EU), in 2006, with the aim of collaborating across sectors to achieve common goals. It is a strategy to include health considerations in policy making across different sectors that influence health, such as transportation, agriculture, land use, housing, public safety, and education. It reaffirms public health's essential role in addressing policy and structural factors affecting health, as articulated by the Ten Essential Public Health Services, and it has been promoted as an opportunity for the public health sector to engage a broader array of partners.
This page uses Harvard referencing. References are sorted alphabetically by author surname.
This page uses Harvard referencing. Further reading categories are sorted alphabetically; citations are sorted by year (newest to oldest), then alphabetically by author surname within years. If citations are included in the references section they are not listed in the further reading section.
This page uses Harvard referencing. External links are sorted alphabetically.