Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Health Impact Assessments Valuable Tool for Comm Development

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today reported on the use of Health Impact Assessments, noting that The National Academy of Sciences has established a committee involving the National Resource Council and the Institute of Medicine that also has implications for community development. Civic engagement is a core component of HIAs.

The goal of the new committee is "to develop a framework, terminology and guidance for conducting health impact assessments (HIAs) of policies, programs and projects at the federal, state, tribal and local levels in the United States. The committee is assessing the value of HIAs, the barriers to conducting HIAs, the criteria for conducting HIAs, and the concepts, tools and information required for HIAs."

Most importantly, HIAs are not just for health issues anymore. They're becoming a more commonly used tool for community development. See this example of how the Yellowstone City-County Health Department in Billings, Montana conducted three HIAs to help guide community development. HIAs were also part of the recent report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that focused on transportation policy.
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