Health Impact Assessment

What Is HIA?

 

A Health Impact Assessment is “a means of assessing the health impacts of policies, plans and projects in diverse economic sectors using quantitative, qualitative and participatory techniques” (World Health Organization).

 

Steps Of HIA

 

HIA_steps

 

Examples Of HIA’s Conducted in 2013

 

1. Tompkins County Jail Renovation

This HIA examined the social and mental effects of renovating the county jail recreation facility into new inmate dormitories. The main health impacts of the decision were improved mental health for inmates due to fewer board-outs, a reduction in inmate violence and stress, and increased officer morale and performance for officers. Overall, the team recommended that the Tompkins County Jail move forward with the plan to increase inmate housing, designs that increase the perception of personal space and privacy for inmates, and a focus on improving the work environment for officers. Check out Cornell Chronicle news of this project.

2. Ithaca Community Gardens

The Ithaca Community Gardens HIA focuses on the health outcomes of allowing the garden site lease to expire and, subsequently, selling the land for redevelopment. This project was considered in light of a decision-making process that was largely centered on the economic consequences of renewing the site lease. The team found the health implications of letting the lease expire on the roughly 150 garden users included an increase in chronic diseases, a decrease in mental health, and a decrease social capital. In response, it was recommended that the City of Ithaca allow the gardens to continue functioning as usual, or, if land were transferred to a developer, that the developer incorporate active building design and public green space.

3. Ithaca Chicken Ordinance 

The Ithaca Chicken Ordinance is a proposal that would allow residents to keep up to eight chickens on their property. The HIA found that the main health impacts would be improved mental health of chicken owners, an increase in public health and nuisance concerns, and the fostering of positive familial and community relations. The team recommended that the City limit the number of chickens per square acre and enforce enclosure specifications.