Do Health Impact Assessments Make a Difference?

A National Evaluation of HIAs in the United States

HIA sectors

HIAs provide decision-makers an opportunity to minimize health risks and enhance health benefits, allowing for informed decisions related to agriculture, transportation, housing, education, land use, and energy.

Health impact assessments (HIAs) are evidence-based analyses that predict health benefits and risks of proposed laws, regulations, programs, and projects.

The evaluation study shows that we must screen and choose HIA targets wisely. This brief outlines how HIAs change decision-making and highlights evidence that HIAs can also lead to stronger cross-sector relationships, amplified community voices, and longer-term changes beyond the initial decision.

"HIA was a perfect tool to bust silos and bring different fields together." -HIA team member
  

Key Findings

  • HIAs can contribute directly to the decision-making process and help achieve policy outcomes that are better for health.

  • Attention to specific elements can increase likelihood of HIA success.

  • There are opportunities to advance the HIA field in the areas of stakeholder and decision-maker engagement, dissemination, and followup.

About the Evaluation:

The Center for Community Health and Evaluation (CCHE) conducted an in-depth national study of 23 completed HIAs to evaluate their impacts and identify factors that maximize effects. This is the first national study of HIAs to emphasize the perspective of decision-makers.