10 May 2010

Human Impact Partners quarterly Update May 2010

Update from Human Impact Partners"

"As May gets underway, Human Impact Partners is excited to share a new resource with you and a few highlights from these past few months.

We are excited to announce the release the 2nd edition of our “A Health Impact Assessment Toolkit: A Handbook to Conducting HIA.” The Toolkit aims to support new practitioners in implementing an HIA practice; it describes when to use HIA, steps in the process, how to establish partnerships with stakeholders, and contains practice exercises to guide users through an HIA. The Toolkit revision was supported by The Health Impact Project and, with the inclusion of many new tools and resources (e.g., a monitoring plan template), has improved significantly since its first release. We encourage you to take a look and provide any feedback. You can find the Toolkit here: http://humanimpact.org/Tools.html and download it directly at http://humanimpact.org/HIA_Toolkit_0410.pdf

Along with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Habitat Health Impact Consulting, the Health Impact Project, San Francisco Department of Public Health, and The California Endowment, Human Impact Partners took a leading role in co-sponsoring the second HIA of the Americas Workshop here in Oakland, California. The purpose of the Workshop was to convene HIA practitioners to network and discuss the advancement of HIA in North America, with the overarching goal of identifying approaches to move the field forward. The meeting saw a three-fold increase in attendance from 2008; over 60 new and veteran HIA practitioners from the United States, Canada, and even Australia, attended this year’s workshop. Information on the Workshop can be found here: http://hiacollaborative.org/hia-in-the-americas-march-2010-workshop.

You’ll see that many work groups were formed as a result of the workshop. These work groups will be taking up a variety of issues between now and the next workshop, including revising the Practice Standards released after the first workshop, developing strategies to incorporate HIA into Environmental Impact Assessment, considering the potential for an North American HIA Association, and overcoming barriers for new HIA practitioners. If you are interested in participating in this work, feel free to contact us.

On the project side, HIP has been moving forward with a health impact assessment of school discipline policies. What started out as an HIA of zero tolerance policies in schools (suspending or expelling students for any infraction) has broadened to also include other school discipline policies such as restorative justice policies and positive behavioral intervention and support. School discipline appears to be used inequitably – African American boys are disciplined most frequently and for subjective reasons. We have several partners around the country interested in working with us on this and we are in the process of forming a national steering committee for the HIA. Our draft Scope includes analyzing how these policies impact those being disciplined, other students, and communities through pathways to health outcomes from educational attainment (e.g., dropout rates), incarceration, violence, drug abuse, mental health, and family/community cohesion. We plan to start with an analysis of policies proposed in one to three communities and then translate the work to other communities around the country.

We are seeing a great deal of interest in our training and technical assistance work. Work with The Health Impact Project’s HIA grantees is starting up – in addition to supporting an HIA on cap and trade policy in California, other HIAs focusing on a state budget process and an agricultural policy are also underway. We continue our practice of providing trainings to those interested in building their capacity for HIA. We held a highly successful set of trainings in Wisconsin with the State Department of Health and local county health departments. Along with the Centers for Disease Control, we provided a half-day training on HIA to planners at the annual American Planning Association national conference in New Orleans. Just last week, we provided a webinar to over 100 public health and planning professionals in the state of Virginia who are interested in building their capacity for HIA.

As part of our work to raise awareness about HIA, we were fortunate enough to be invited by the Health Impact Project to co-present with them at the Grantmakers in Health and the Council on Foundations annual meetings. The funding world continues to build interest in HIA, and is exploring the most effective way to get involved in work happening around the country.

Our summer is shaping up to be an exciting time – we could soon be providing TA for 15 HIAs going on around the country as well as starting some of our own – and we look forward to working with you as the year continues. We appreciate the opportunity to share these updates with you and for all the support you’ve provided."

The Human Impact Partners Team