How Can Health Impact Assessments Lead to Better Policy Decisions?

Updated March 2013

Many of the biggest policy decisions that impact our well-being are made outside of the health and healthcare sectors.  For example, local zoning and transportation planning, state budget decisions, and federal agriculture and energy policies can all impact our health.

Health impact assessments (HIAs) allow policy-makers to consider how proposed policies that may seem unrelated to health would affect health, and could be used to improve it. HIAs can also help marshal community support for a project, facilitate collaboration across sectors, and offer benefits for businesses.

More than 200 HIAs that are focused on policies at all levels of government have been completed or are in progress across the country.

This Health Policy Snapshot, published online in March 2013, examines how HIAs can benefit the health care sector. Read more from RWJF's Health Policy Snapshot series.

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