Aaron Wernham, director of the Health Impact Project discusses the benefits of health impact assessments in this edition of Governing.More info
HIA in Decision Making
HIA brings together scientific data, health expertise and public input to identify the potential health effects of a new proposal and to help craft policy recommendations that minimize risks and capitalize on opportunities to improve health. HIA gives federal, tribal, state and local leaders the information they need to make better decisions today to prevent health problems in their communities tomorrow.
The basic HIA process can be readily adapted to fit the scope, resources and timeline of a given decision. In a recent survey by the Health Impact Project, HIA practitioners reported that most HIAs take from six weeks to a year to complete and cost $10,000 to $200,000—a fraction of the time and resources that often go into environmental studies and permitting procedures.
HIA also shows promise as a way to help policy makers who are facing difficult budgetary decisions. For example, the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies is conducting an HIA to shed light on the health implications of proposed budget changes for 2011 in order to help legislators make the difficult choices necessary to balance the state budget.