Dates of Project: February 2009 through January 2014
Field of Work: Health impact assessment
Problem Synopsis: The United States has some of the highest health expenses in the world, but ranks 32nd in terms of life expectancy, a clear indication that good health is determined not only by the money spent on health care, but also on the built environment and social and economic circumstances. Health impact assessments are a tool for measuring the impacts of public policy and programs on health, but until quite recently their use was rare in the United States.
Synopsis of the Work: The Health Impact Project, a partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts, promotes the field of health impact assessments. Activities include guiding 23 RWJF-funded demonstration projects across the country, collaborating with local, state and federal officials to advance the concept, and providing training through the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI).
RWJF also funded the National Research Council to develop a framework and guidelines for HIAs and the Pew Charitable Trusts, which it published as Improving Health in the United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment. Three other foundations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the California Endowment and the Kresge Foundation, partnered with RWJF to support six additional HIAs in their areas of interest.