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A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) involves a combination of procedures, methods and tools used to evaluate a policy, program or project as to its potential effects on the health of a population, and how these effects will affect different members of a population. HIA can help identify and consider the potential—or actual—health and equity impacts of a proposal on a given population.

HIA can inform and enhance equitable, health-aware decision-making at all levels. The purpose of the HIA is to inform, influence, and support decision-making. Many factors will influence decision-making, and it is important to acknowledge that HIA is just one of these.

A HIA's primary output is a set of recommendations based on the best evidence available. The recommendations should highlight practical ways to enhance the positive impacts of a proposal, and to remove or minimize any negative impacts on health.

Benefits of using HIA

  • Addressing multiple factors affecting health and inequality
  • Demonstrating health gain as added value
  • Using a multidisciplinary and participatory approach
  • Contributing to sustainable development
  • Responding to public concerns about health

One recently completed HIA at Public Health - Seattle & King County is the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement HIA Project HIA (see section below.)

South Park Community Center Open Space Design Plan: Rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Findings & Recommendations

South Park Community Center Open Space Design Plan: Rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Findings & Recommendations

Environmental Health Services (EHS) staff conducted a rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to inform Seattle Parks & Recreation’s design and planning decisions that could improve the health and well-being of South Park children and other residents, particularly in light of the existing inequities the community already faces. Our rapid HIA process included a desk-based review of published literature, best practices and recent community recommendations; and consultations with technical subject matter experts and community representatives. We focused on these health determinants: air pollution, environmental noise, crime and safety, social and mental health, physical activity, heat, and pedestrian safety.

Goal: Provide recommendations to help Seattle Parks and Recreation and the community make design and planning decisions that would enhance community health and wellbeing.

Timeline: August to October 2016

SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project

Health Impact Assessment for SR-520 bridge project

The SR 520 Health Impact Assessment provides background on why a health impact assessment was conducted for this transportation project and provides general information on the health impact assessment tool.

The report explains how a transportation project can affect health and what measures can be taken to avoid unfavorable community health consequences.