16 February 2006

New Zealand Public Health Association call for wider use of HIA

The New Zealand Public Health Association has urged the New Zealand Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee to rigorously assess the wider impact of government policies.
Dr Bichan urged Government to fully assess the health impacts of various policies, saying that health impact assessment tools were available to policy-makers. By considering the impact of a policy on the health of children and families, the Government could be alerted to any unintended negative consequences of that policy, such as some groups slipping further into poverty, and experiencing poorer health.
The HIA tools mentioned include the Guide to HIA: A Policy Tool for New Zealand which was release by the Public Health Advisory Committee in 2004. It's quite a well structured document and is worthwhile reading for those with an interest in using HIA on policies.

14 February 2006

Opportunities to Present on HIA (in Australia)

The closing date for abstracts for a number of HIA-related Australian conferences are approaching:

International Society for Equity in Health Conference: Creating Healthy Societies through Inclusion and Equity
Adelaide 11-13 September 2006
Abstracts due 11 March 2006
The deadlines for abstract submission for a number of Australian HIA-related conferences are approaching:

Health Promotion Symposium: Getting Evidence into Practice
Sydney 28-29 June 2006
Abstracts due 31 March 2006
For more information email hpsymposium@swahs.health.nsw.gov.au

Public Health Association of Australia Conference: Tackling the Determinants of Health
Sydney 25-27 September 2006
Abstracts due 1 April 2006

It's unusual to have so many opportunities to present HIA-related work in Australia so I urge you all to make the most of it.

11 February 2006

Bungendore in the News

Bungendore, a village 35 km east of Canberra, has been in the news recently following the release of a Water Discussion Paper by Palerang Council. The discussion paper highlights some of the major challenges Bungendore faces in sustaining population growth and a sufficient water supply.

A HIA of the Bungendore's population growth planning is currently being undertaken as one of the 2005 Developmental sites. To find out more about the HIA access the article in the HIA E-News or you can take a look at the presentation on the HIA given at CHETRE's Health and Urban Development Workshop in December.

10 February 2006

Maplecroft Global Information Maps

Maplecroft Maps has quite an interesting series of maps that cover a range of determinants of health issues:
  • Poverty
  • Education
  • Digital Divide
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • Development Assistance
  • Corruption and Transparency - salient when we consider that HIA is about influencing decisions and increasing transparency.
A you can see they're more related to health and social determinants issues than HIA per se, but I thought they might be of interest to you anyway.

9 February 2006

Growing the Field of HIA in the USA

The American Journal of Public Health has published an a piece on Growing the Field of Health Impact Assessment in the United States. The article is based on a workshop held in October 2004 that brought together US and international practitioners, government agency representatives and academics with an interest in HIA.

The article is interesting because canvasses a number of debates around HIA's use, reminding me of many of the issues that CHETRE had to consider during Phase 1 of the NSW HIA Project.

The article's abstract is available after the jump.

Growing the Field of Health Impact Assessment in the United States: An Agenda for Research and Practice

American Journal of Public Health, 96(2): 262-270, 2006.
Authors: Andrew L. Dannenberg, MD, MPH, Rajiv Bhatia, MD, MPH, Brian L. Cole, DrPH, Carlos Dora, PhD, Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Katherine Kraft, PhD, Diane McClymont-Peace, MS, Jennifer Mindell, MBBS, PhD, FFPH, Chinwe Onyekere, MPH, James A. Roberts, PhD, CEP, Catherine L. Ross, PhD, Candace D. Rutt, PhD, Alex Scott-Samuel, MB, ChB, MCommH and Hugh H. Tilson, MD, DrPH

Health impact assessment (HIA) methods are used to evaluate the impact on health of policies and projects in community design, transportation planning, and other areas outside traditional public health concerns. At an October 2004 workshop, domestic and international experts explored issues associated with advancing the use of HIA methods by local health departments, planning commissions, and other decisionmakers in the United States.

Workshop participants recommended conducting pilot tests of existing HIA tools, developing a database of health impacts of common projects and policies, developing resources for HIA use, building workforce capacity to conduct HIAs, and evaluating HIAs. HIA methods can influence decisionmakers to adjust policies and projects to maximize benefits and minimize harm to the public’s health.

Access the article

8 February 2006

Welsh coal mining HIA urges precautionary approach

A HIA recently completed by the Welsh Health Impact Assessment Support Unit has urged planners to apply the precautionary principle in denying approval to a coal mine expansion. Whilst the assessors could not be certain about magnitude or severity of negative health impacts arising from the proposed expansion of an opencast coal mine in south west Wales they have urged planning authorities to reject the proposal:

"On balance, there is sufficient uncertainty regarding the negative health impacts to apply the 'precautionary principle approach' - which would not allow mining to proceed in such close proximity to residential areas."

Further details are available on the BBC News website.

Update 2 March 2006
I think that Carolyn Lester will be speaking about this HIA at the upcoming HIA conference in Wales. One more reason to attend.

7 February 2006

Upcoming Social Impact Assessment Training

It's not HIA-specific but the social impact assesssment training run by Rabel Burdge is still quite relevant to people with an interest in HIA. He's returning to Australia to run a series of courses in Queensland in March and in Queensland and New South Wales in August: (more information)

March 15-16
Eco-Centre building on the Griffith University campus in Nathan, Brisbane, Australia.

March 20-21
Robertson Gardens-Comfort Inn Hotel in Robertson at 281 Kessels Road, Brisbane, Australia

May 21-22
Stavanger Forum, Conference and Exhibition Center in Stavanger, Norway, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA).

June 8-9
Conference Centre at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, in conjunction with the 12th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM).

June 25 (one day only)
Sheraton City Centre Hotel, in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) in conjunction with the annual conference of the Community Development Society.

August 17-18
Eco-Centre building on the Griffith University campus in Nathan, Brisbane, Australia.

August 21-22
Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street in downtown, Sydney, Australia.

November 10-11
Hyatt Regency Montreal Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada in conjunction with the annual meeting of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).

I did Rabel's course last year and found it very helpful. I've also used the course materials quite a bit subsequently. If you're interested in finding out more you can access the website or email Rabel at burdge@cc.wwu.edu