Health Impact Project Receives Funding From The California Endowment To Help Build Healthier Communities

September 26, 2011    ·    [ Health Impact Project Coverage ]

WASHINGTON— The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, today announced that The California Endowment will support up to two health impact assessment (HIA) demonstrations in California. The Health Impact Project’s work to promote the use of HIAs around the country closely aligns with the Endowment’s efforts to improve community health in California.

An HIA is a study that helps policy makers identify the likely health impacts of a decision in another field, such as building a major roadway, planning a city’s growth or developing agricultural policy. HIAs can assist decision makers in identifying unintended risks, reduce unnecessary costs, find practical solutions and leverage opportunities to improve the wellness of the community.

“Our health depends on the conditions in the places where we live, work and play. This funding will help two more California communities build health into the policies that shape those places,” said Aaron Wernham, M.D., director of the Project. “The support from The California Endowment will allow the Health Impact Project to expand our portfolio of health impact assessments and enable The Endowment to advance its goal of building communities with environments that support health instead of promote disease.”

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Two grants, each up to $125,000, will allow government agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations to conduct an HIA. There now will be up to 12 HIAs funded through the project: eight under previous funding, plus two additional grants in California through The Endowment’s funding and two in Minnesota through the support of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, as announced in May. Selected applicants submitted full proposals by September 16, and the Health Impact Project will make final funding decisions by the end of the year. 

The Health Impact Project has made investments of over $1.5 million to date, including demonstration grants addressing the effects of a wide range of policy decisions, including a Farm to School bill in Oregon, a pilot project for smart meter electric utility technology in Illinois, and a plan to re-develop an old automobile factory site in Atlanta.

The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, is a leading national initiative exclusively dedicated to promoting the use of health impact assessments in the United States. Learn more at

The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The Endowment’s Web site at