We are delighted to announce that the 2015 National Health Impact Assessment Meeting will be held June 16 to 18, 2015, in Washington. Please save the date!
Building on the success of the first two national HIA meetings, the 2015 conference is designed to appeal to anyone interested in learning more about HIAs and advancing the field, especially decision-makers and program leaders from multiple sectors and at all levels of government. The audience will include current HIA practitioners; public health, planning, and health policy professionals; community-based organizations; advocacy groups; researchers; academicians and students; elected officials and their staffs; and decision-makers from non-health agencies who might use or rely on the results of an HIA, such as in planning, transportation, housing, agriculture, energy, environment, and education. Meeting objectives include:
Visit www.NationalHIAMeeting.com, where information will be posted as it becomes available, including details on the call for abstracts and scholarship applications. Meeting registration will open in early fall 2014.
- Introducing public health professionals and others to the appropriate applications, methods, opportunities, and challenges involved in conducting an HIA.
- Providing a forum for HIA practitioners to showcase their work through roundtables and oral and poster presentations, as well as to learn from each other and experts in related disciplines.
- Showing decision-makers and program leaders the practical aspects of implementing HIAs in a range of policy settings.
Health Impact Project Hosts National HIA Training for Over 50 Grant Applicants
The Health Impact Project recently closed its fourth national call for proposals for grants to support HIAs to develop the infrastructure, tools, and expertise to integrate health into decision-making. This year our call for proposals generated nearly 200 applications, many of which came from states with little to no HIA experience, and we are excited to see that interest in HIA is growing steadily across the country.
To encourage and support proposals from states and tribes with scant HIA experience, we tried a new approach this year. On May 28, we hosted an HIA training in Washington for over 50 select grant applicants. The training brought together those from government agencies, universities, nonprofits, and tribal organizations to learn about the basics of HIAs as well as common challenges, engaging stakeholders, and effective communication and implementation strategies. We were delighted by the enthusiasm, insight, and range of important new ideas.
Whether you are an HIA practitioner or just learning about the field, you can find a variety of HIA resources and training materials on the Health Impact Project’s website, including case studies, tool kits, policy briefs, and HIA reports.
Can you offer training and technical assistance to Health Impact Project grantees? Letters of interest are due June 25.
The Health Impact Project seeks individuals and organizations to provide training, mentoring, and technical assistance to our demonstration project grantees beginning in October. Providers should have substantial experience in conducting HIAs, a strong understanding of the challenges and approaches to conducting HIAs, and direct experience conducting HIA workshops or training and serving in mentoring or technical assistance roles. Please submit a letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 25, 2014, in the format outlined on our website.
Mid-Michigan HIA Tool Kit Introduced
The Michigan State University School of Planning, Design, and Construction and the Ingham County Health Department have created an HIA tool kit. The free, online mapping tool allows local, state, and national leaders, community planners, landowners, developers, and the public to locate a construction or development project on an interactive map and assess its impact on public health. The tool kit includes an HIA checklist and links to best practices from around the country on integrating HIAs into local planning and decision-making. Its development was funded by the Health Impact Project and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants Program. Learn more about the tool kit here.
New Article on HIAs as a Pathway to Health Equity
This month Grantmakers in Health published the article “Health Impact Assessments—A Pathway to Health Equity.” Co-authored by Aaron Wernham, director of the Health Impact Project, and Carolyn Link, executive director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, the article demonstrates how HIAs can help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential. Wernham and Link reference a number of HIAs in Minnesota that have resulted in greater health equity, including a rapid HIA that helped build strong support for legislation reauthorizing funding for racial integration of public schools to improve education and health outcomes for students of color. The legislation passed, and the HIA was credited with helping inform policy that will lead to better health for Minnesota students. Read the full article here.
New HIA Completed
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency, a grantee of the Health Impact Project, released an HIA report examining the implications of a policy proposed by the White House Domestic Policy Council’s Rental Policy Working Group to realign affordable housing inspections and decrease duplicative housing inspections performed by multiple federal agencies. The HIA, released in May 2014, found that even though reducing affordable housing inspections may make sense financially, serious health consequences for residents could follow. The final report offers a range of recommendations to ensure that inspection realignment can streamline efficiencies across federal agencies while protecting the health of vulnerable communities. Read the HIA here.
Grantee News Coverage
The Associated Press reported on an Illinois Public Health Institute HIA on banning sugar-sweetened beverages in the food stamp program, and the article was picked up by a number of regional news outlets, including KMOX-TV in St. Louis. The HIA concluded that food stamp recipients in Illinois would be more likely to reduce their purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages as part of a voluntary program that incorporates a mix of incentives for purchasing healthier foods and beverages, restrictions on sugary beverages, and nutrition education. Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute, was also quoted in an article on the issue in the Christian Science Monitor. To learn more about this HIA, click here.
Two publications in Puerto Rico, Primera Hora and NotiCel, covered an HIA conducted by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit in New York City. The report is informing Puerto Rican policymakers’ decisions on funding a comprehensive development plan to improve sanitation infrastructure, increase dredging, and remove heavily polluted sludge from a two-mile stretch of the Caño Martin Peña, an estuarine tidal channel next to San Juan’s main financial district. Learn more about the HIA here.
Meetings and Trainings
The second Southeast Regional HIA Summit will be held July 30 through Aug. 1, 2014, at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina.You can register online here. The summit will provide those interested in promoting health in the southeastern United States an opportunity to network, learn the basics of HIA, share case studies, listen to presentations by HIA experts, and more. View a preliminary schedule for the summit here.
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Aaron Wernham and the Health Impact Project team