Many of the biggest influencers of health and well-being fall outside of the traditional health care setting. Activities in sectors such as housing, transportation, education, and land use all have implications for a community’s health. Applying a health lens to decisions made in these settings helps identify intentional and unintentional consequences that will facilitate or hinder improvements in health status at the community level.
Health in All Policies is an approach that aims to systematically strengthen connections between other sectors and health. Using this approach allows for greater insights into local socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health, providing more opportunities to improve population outcomes. When communities address these factors collaboratively, they help create environments that enable people to lead healthier lives. A Health in All Policies perspective approaches health and well-being from a systematic level, exploring intersections of health and other sectors to identify opportunities for mutual benefit.
Health impact assessment (HIA) is one of the tools used to support a Health in All Policies approach. 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, plan, program, or project. Based on an objective and thorough analysis of these potential effects, an HIA offers practical recommendations for ways to minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities to improve health.
The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) provides training and technical assistance for HIA practitioners in addition to conducting HIAs on diverse topics, including community development, green infrastructure, transportation, and urban food systems. GHPC conducted the first HIA in the United States that informed a state’s allocation of low-income housing tax credits as a way to support health-promoting aspects of affordable housing development.