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This report offers guidance to officials in the
public and private sectors on conducting Health Impact Assessment (HIAs) to evaluate public health
consequences of proposed decisions -- such as those to build a major
roadway, plan a city's growth, or develop national agricultural policies
-- and suggests actions that could minimize adverse health impacts and
optimize beneficial ones.
Several approaches could be used to
incorporate aspects of health into decision making, but HIA holds
particular promise because of its applicability to a broad array of
programs, consideration of both adverse and beneficial health effects,
ability to consider and incorporate various types of evidence, and
engagement of communities and stakeholders in a deliberative process.
The report notes that HIA should not be assumed to be the best approach
to every health policy question but rather should be seen as part of a
spectrum of public health and policy-oriented approaches.
report presents a six-step framework for conducting HIA of proposed
policies, programs, plans, and projects at federal, state, tribal, and
local levels, including within the private sector. In addition, the
report identifies several challenges to the successful use of HIA, such
as balancing the need to provide timely information with the realities
of varying data quality, producing quantitative estimates of health
effects, and engaging stakeholders.