On Friday, December 3, the National Health Policy Forum hosted a session focused on health impact assessment (HIA). The session introduced agency officials and legislative staff to HIA as a means to factor health into new initiatives, policies and programs outside the health sector.
Aaron Wernham, director of the Health Impact Project, provided an overview of HIA, illustrated by case examples from HIA practice in the U.S.
Catherine Ross, director of the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD) at the Georgia Tech College of Architecture, discussed her experience at the intersection of HIA and urban planning. CQGRD is currently funded by the Health Impact Project to conduct an HIA of the Atlanta 2040 comprehensive plan and an HIA of the "Aerotropolis" redevelopment project in Hapeville, GA.
Suzanne K. Condon, associate commissioner for health and director of the Bureau of Environmental Health in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, discussed the innovative steps her state has taken to institutionalize the use of HIA and the challenges and lessons learned throughout their efforts. The Health Impact Project is currently funding the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to conduct an HIA of a proposed power plant in Springfield, MA.