9 November 2010

Minimum Elements & Practice Standards for Health Impact Assessment

From the American Practice Standards subgroup:
The HIA of the Americas Practice Standards subgroup is excited to release an updated version of the “Minimum Elements and Practice Standards for Health Impact Assessment (HIA).”

Minimum Elements answer the question of “what essential elements constitute an HIA” as distinct from Practice Standards, which answer the question, “how to best conduct an HIA.”

Overall, the hope is to translate the values underlying HIA along with key lessons from HIA practice into specific standards for practice for each phase of the HIA process.

The document can be found on Human Impact Partners' website, at
http://www.humanimpact.org/news/24-hiapracticestandards
The most interesting aspect to me is the new section on what constitutes the essential characteristics of an HIA:
  1. Is initiated to inform a decision-making process, and conducted in advance of a policy, plan, program, or project decision;
  2. Utilizes a systematic analytic process with the following characteristics:
    2.1. Includes a scoping phase that comprehensively considers potential impacts on health outcomes as well as on social, environmental, and economic health determinants, and selects potentially significant issues for impact analysis;
    2.2. Solicits and utilizes input from stakeholders;
    2.3. Establishes baseline conditions for health, describing health outcomes, health determinants, affected populations, and vulnerable sub-populations;
    2.4. Uses the best available evidence to judge the magnitude, likelihood, distribution, and permanence of potential impacts on human health or health determinants;
    2.5. Rests conclusions and recommendations on a transparent and context-specific synthesis of evidence, acknowledging sources of data, methodological assumptions, strengths and limitations of evidence and uncertainties;
  3. Identifies appropriate recommendations, mitigations and/or design alternatives to protect and promote health;
  4. Proposes a monitoring plan for tracking the decision╩╝s implementation on health impacts/determinants of concern;
  5. Includes transparent, publicly-accessible documentation of the process, methods, findings, sponsors, funding sources, participants and their respective roles.