HIA and the Planning Process

diagram of the HIA planning process> back to HIA index

Performing an HIA will create a solid foundation upon which decisions can be based. The decision may be reached to conduct an HIA if a proposed project or plan has the potential to positively impact the health of a community. HIAs are performed regularly and often as part of a mandated process in other parts of the world, including Canada and many countries in Europe. Although the HIA concept is relatively new to the U.S., the process is comparable to existing assessments such as environmental-impact assessments (EIA), social-impact assessments (SIA), and traffic-impact studies (TIS).  

With heavy priority being placed on health and current aims to decrease the cost of heath care, HIAs should become increasingly useful tools in the planning process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)—recognizes that factors outside of the health sector impact the health of populations. The importance of HIAs was recognized by Healthy People 2020—the most recent set of goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention, which DHHS releases every 10 years.

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