Health Impact Project Announces First HIA Demonstration Grant

    • February 28, 2010

The Health Impact Project has awarded a $150,000 grant to the Oakland-based Public Health Institute to partner with the California Department of Public Health on a health impact assessment (HIA) of the proposed “cap-and-trade” component of California’s climate-change legislation.

The Health Impact Project is a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and The Pew Charitable Trusts promoting the use of health impact assessments to allow health to be considered in decisions in sectors that do not traditionally focus on health outcomes. The grant represents the first of up to 15 HIA demonstration projects that the Health Impact Project will support in its initial phase this year. Grantees will also receive training, mentoring and technical assistance.

The cap-and-program would set a declining cap on total emissions from all regulated facilities and energy providers across California. It is being developed by the California Air Resources Board in response to requirements in the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The proposed regulation has been applauded by many environmental and public health advocates for providing a financial incentive to pollute less.

The HIA will analyze the health impacts of the program and provide an analysis to inform the California rulemaking process. The study’s findings will support recommendations to protect and promote health, and could inform leaders in other states that are looking to California’s regulations as a model for future efforts. The California Department of Public Health will also determine whether the cap-and-trade program could result in any unintended consequences to low-income communities, and assess policy options to enhance and protect public health.

Health impact assessments identify the health benefits and consequences of new policies and develop practical strategies to minimize adverse effects, ensuring the best possible health outcomes. A growing number of community groups and policy makers in the United States and around the world are using HIAs to address a range of issues, including land use and transportation, housing policies, labor standards, natural resource extraction, education and economic policies. To learn more about this particular project and other how community groups and policy makers are using HIAs to create healthier, safer communities, visit www.healthimpactproject.org.