Methodologies for Realizing the Potential of Health Impact Assessment

Health impact assessment (HIA) is a systematic assessment of the potential health impacts of proposed public policies, programs and projects. While HIA is currently used infrequently in the United States, it has proven effective internationally for advancing population health. This article discusses the variety of ways that HIA can be applied, outlines challenges in adoption and identifies areas where research is needed to advance the field from theory to routine practice in the U.S.

Key Findings:

  • Functional, transparent screening tools should be developed to help analysts determine the appropriateness of HIA for a particular policy question.
  • Work should be done to facilitate mutual exchange between those who develop and apply HIAs and policy-makers.
  • A collection of applicable HIAs should be created and follow-up research conducted to test whether the use of the HIA contributed to policy decisions.