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Online Course - Health Impact Assessment, step by step

Webinar - How and Why Evaluate the Implementation of a Health Impact Assessment Process (HIA)? (Offered in French) Thursday October 10, 2019 from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. EDT.
Click here to learn more.

Health Impact Assessment: Fundamentals, Steps, Resources - Web Presentation

Health Impact Assessment of the TOD Neighbourhood Project in Sainte-Catherine. Report on potential impacts and recommendations
 2.7 MB

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Toolbox – Cost Calculator, Screening Grid, and Scoping Tool

Online Continuing Education Course HIA Step by Step

Annotated Bibliography: Health Impact Assessment
596 K

SOPHIA's HIA of the Americas Workshop. Oakland, United States. Fall 2014. Conference website.

HIA 2013 International Conference. Geneva, Switzerland. Presentations (PDF) on the conference website.

HIA 2012 International Conference. Québec, QC. Presentations (PDF & video) on the conference website.

Health Impact Assessment Blog. News and information on HIA, by the International Association for Impact Assessment's Health Section.

Communicating about equity in health impact assessment.
 1.23 Mo. On the SOPHIA website.

Health Impact Assessment of Transportation and Land Use Planning Activities – Guidebook.  8.56 MB. On the site of Metro Vancouver.

L'Evaluation d'impacts sur la santé. Une aide à la décision pour des politiques favorables à la santé, durables et équitables. (In French.) On the site of l'INPES - Institut national de prévention et d'éducation pour la santé.

UCLA Health Impact Assessment Clearinghouse – Learning and Information Center. (On the site of UCLA - HIA Clearinghouse)

SOPHIA - The Society of Practitioners of HIA. On the SOPHIA website. 

Equity-Focused Health Impact Assessment - A Community Pilot 1.58 MB. On the site of Sudbury & District Health Unit, 2012.

The Impact and Effectiveness of Equity Focused Health Impact Assessment in Health Service Planning, Ben Harris-Roxas. On the site of Harris-Roxas Health, 2014.

Rapports d'évaluation d'impact sur la santé – Direction de santé publique de la Montérégie. (In French). HIA reports and background information produced by the Regional health authority of Montérégie (QC).

Do Health Impact Assessments make a difference? On the site of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2014.

The effectiveness of health impact assessment in influencing decision-making in Autralia and New Zealand 2005-2009. On the site of BioMed Central Public Health, 2013.

The Effectiveness of Health Impact Assessment 1.1 MB. On the site of the World Health Organization, European Office, 2007. Abstract.

Health Equity Impact Assessment. By Povall et al. (2013). On the site of Health Promotion International.

Improving Health in the United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment. By the National Research Council (USA), 2011. On the site of the National Academies Press.

Improving the use of evidence in health impact assessment  525 K. On the site of the World Health Organization: Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 88(7) July 2010.

Health Impact assessment : main concepts and suggested approach, Gothenburg consensus paper.  138 K. European Centre for Health Policy, 1999. On the site of the WHO Regional Office for Europe.


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Health Impact Assessment
Its Definition
Health impact assessment (HIA) is usually defined as a combination of procedures, methods and tools by which a policy, a program or a project can be judged or evaluated on the basis of its potential effects on the health of a population (European Centre for Health Policy, 1999).

HIA is most frequently used to assess proposals that are outside of the traditional health care sector, and which do not target health as their principal goal. The approach involves attempting to estimate, with the help of contextual and scientific information, the possible effects on health and well-being with a goal of minimizing the negative effects while maximizing the positive effects.

Its Foundations

Image of jigsaw pieces in a huddle © franz pfluegl    

Acting upon the determinants of health
HIA is highlighted in current theories of population health, and responds to the need to act upstream as much as possible to prevent illnesses and health problems by acting upon the determinants of health. Many policies, programs and projects could be considered to be "determinants of determinants". HIA is a structured, active approach that can influence public policies in order to ensure that they will have outcomes favourable to health. 

A shared responsibiliy for health
Recognizing the importance of social, economic and cultural determinants of health, it is also recognized that levers for improving population health can be found outside of the health care sector. Public health actors must therefore work in partnership with those working in the sectors where these levers are to be found (for example, in employment, education, housing, transportation, etc.).

While decisions made in different sectors can have an influence on the health of the population, likewise, the state of health of the population can influence the capacity of society to develop. Also, the development and preservation of the health of the population calls for a collective social responsibility that includes all sectors of society, as much for the private as for the public sector. 

Decision-making informed by reliable information
HIA aims to clarify the decision-making process by providing scientific evidence that allows not only a broader view of the stakes involved, but also information about the mid- and long-term consequences of the decisions made. In this sense, HIA responds to modern challenges in managing public services and benefits. 

Its Popularity
The practice of Health Impact Assessment of projects, programs and policies is performed in several countries and its popularity is growing. In Canada, supportive efforts have been accepted for several years in the environmental sector, where it is used to add a human dimension to environmental impact assessments. British Columbia was one of the first jurisdictions to consider introducing impact assessments of public policies in a centralized and routine manner. Today, other jurisdictions including Québec, Thailand and the Netherlands have also reached this point. The successes realized in the environmental sector, the proliferation of intersectoral responsibilities and the interest shown by academics, health sector practitioners and decision-makers towards this approach have led to its rapid development. Today, those who take an interest in this field will find that there are many resources at their disposal. 

To familiarize yourself with HIA
Health Impact Assessment - Fact Sheet (NCCHPP, 2009)
HIA Series - Introduction to HIA (NCCHPP, 2009)
HIA Series - HIA and Inequities (NCCHPP, 2010)
The Québec Public Health Act's Section 54 (NCCHPP, 2012)
Presentation on HIA to the Senate subcommittee on population health (NCCHPP, 2008) 

To learn more about HIA
HIA: a Promising Action Path For Promoting Healthy Public Policies (NCCHPP, 2008)
Report on the Canadian Roundtable on Health Impact Assessment (NCCHPP, 2008)
Brief History of PATH (Susan Eaton, PATH Network, 2009)
PATH Report: Influencing Healthy Public Policy with Community Health Impact Assessment (Susan Eaton, PATH Network, 2009)
Interprovincial Meeting on HIA (NCCHPP, 2009) 
Interprovincial Meeting on Health Impact Assessment (HIA): Update (NCCHPP, 2012)
Canadian Experiences in Institutionalizing Health Impact Assessment (HIA). 2013 Interprovincial-Territorial Meeting: Report (NCCHPP, 2013)
Canadian Experiences in Institutionalizing Health Impact Assessment (HIA). 2013 Interprovincial-Territorial Meeting: Summary (NCCHPP, 2013)
The 12th International Conference on Health Impact Assessment (HIA): New Issues Arising from the Evolution of the Practice (NCCHPP, 2013)

Taking action
Health Impact Assessment - Inventory of Resources (NCCHPP, 2012)
Health Impact Assessment Guides and Tools (NCCHPP, 2008)
Canadian Handbook on Health Impact Assessment  on the Health Canada website
Public Policy and Health Portal INSPQ

Supporting Practice
Health Impact Assessment (HIA): A tool to promote healthy public policies (NCCHPP, 2010)
Practice Standards for Health Impact Assesment (HIA) (North American HIA Practice Standards Working Group, 2009)
Development of a Canadian HIA Course (Habitat Impact Consulting, 2009)
Citizen Participation in HIA: An Overview of the Principal Arguments Supporting It (NCCHPP, 2011)
Citizen Participation in HIA: An Overview of the Risks and Obstacles (NCCHPP, 2011)
Citizen Participation in Health Impact Assessment: Overview of Issues (NCCHPP, 2012)
Developing a citizen-participation strategy for health impact assessment : Practical Guide  (NCCHPP, 2013)
Planning Knowledge Sharing in the Context of a Health Impact Assessment (NCCHPP, 2013)

Canadian Examples
Information Grid - Canadian HIA intiatives (NCCHPP, 2010) 
HIA Implementation in Canada: HIA Pilot Project in Montérégie, Québec (NCCHPP, 2011)

Other types of impact assessments
Series of 6 documents on Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) (NCCHPP, 2014)
Four Types of Impact Assessment Used in Canada (NCCHPP, 2011)

Photo Credits:
© franz pfluegl 
For information about how to legally obtain these images,
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We would like to hear from you
Please send us a note to share your comments on our work, or to let us know about potential projects, ideas, interests, or new resources relating to healthy public policy.

The production of the NCCHPP website has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.