The Six Steps to an HIA

A health impact assessment is a six-step, systematic approach to assessing the likely health consequences — good and bad — of a proposed action.

  1. Screening. Determine whether an HIA is warranted and would be valuable in the decision-making process.
  2. Scoping. Decide on the scope of the assessment, including data sources to use, affected groups/populations to cover, likely areas of health consequences to investigate, and methodology to employ.
  3. Assessing. Develop a health profile of the community, including baseline conditions for various health conditions, literature reviews, and quantitative methods to assess likely effects of the proposed project. Use community input to provide nuance, context, clarification, prioritizing, and reality checks to the technical partner’s work.
  4. Recommending. Generate a series of recommendations on how to optimize the health benefits and reduce the health risks of the proposed plan. To maximize the chances that they will be adopted, recommendations should be practical, taking into account constraints on decision makers.
  5. Reporting. Produce a written report and disseminate what was learned to the community in question through varied methods, such as radio press releases, community meetings, or going door to door.
  6. Monitoring and Evaluating. Monitor implemented recommendations to see if they are working as expected. Evaluate the process itself, rate of implementation of recommendations, partnerships formed, and outcomes for health and systems over time.

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