Health Impact Assessment and the National Prevention Strategy

nps-wheel.200.216.sSince 2012, the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), the Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI), and the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have worked with National Prevention Council (NPC) departments to increase their understanding and use of health impact assessments (HIAs).  This work is part of a larger effort to help departments consider opportunities to integrate health and prevention into their programs, practices and policies and advance the National Prevention Strategy.

Background

Created through the Affordable Care Act, the National Prevention Council comprises 20 Federal departments, agencies and offices and is chaired by the Surgeon General. In 2010, the Council released the nation’s first ever National Prevention Strategy.  The Strategy provides recommendations and actions across multiple settings to promote health and prevent the leading causes of death and disability.  Because many of the strongest predictors of health fall outside of the health care setting, the Strategy envisions a prevention-oriented society where all sectors work together to increase the number of Americans that are healthy at every stage of life.  Member departments of the Council are committed to implementing the National Prevention Strategy and further integrating prevention and health into their mission.

Health Impact Assessment and the National Prevention Strategy

The types of decisions made by federal departments often have health consequences for the communities they serve.  Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a structured process that brings together scientific data, public health expertise, and stakeholder input to identify the potential health effects of a proposed policy, program, project or plan.  The results of an HIA offer department leadership practical recommendations to minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities to improve health in a particular community.

Beginning in 2012, the NNPHI team provided in-depth training and technical assistance to select National Prevention Council departments that were conducting their own HIA. These departments included the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the US Department of Transportation (DOT). The NNPHI team provided training and technical assistance for departments interested in conducting their own HIAs and, in the case of HUD, are currently conducting the HIA itself in close partnership with Health Impact Project.

To view resources and get more information, visit NNPHI’s website.

Learn more about the Georgia Health Policy Center’s work in Health Impact Assessment.