Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Seeks to Hire a Medical Epidemiologist for HIA Program

January 12, 2010

Five years ago, before directing the Health Impact Project, Aaron Wernham was a physician in Alaska. There he began a pioneering collaboration with Alaska Native tribal governments and local and state health departments to integrate health impact assessment (HIA) into the planning and regulatory process for natural resource development. As a result, several federal agencies have begun to use HIA.

Last month the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced that they will recruit a medical epidemiologist to develop and run the Alaska Health Impact Assessment Program.  This effort marks an important step toward a more stable and institutionalized practice of HIA in Alaska.  To our knowledge, Alaska is the first state in the U.S. to recruit a medical epidemiologist to run an HIA program.