17 September 2008

The European Union and Health Impact Assessments: Are they an unrecognised statutory obligation?

A paper looking at the use of health impact assessment (HIA) in the European Union has been published by the UK National Heart Forum. The paper examines whether HIA should be considered mandatory in the same way as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

Although the EU Treaty includes responsibilities relating to both health and the environment, legal directives passed by the European Commission have made EIAs and SEAs mandatory for Member States, but not health impact assessments.

This paper analyses the position of HIAs, SEAs and EIAs and sets out an agenda for policy development and advocacy, to ensure that health impacts are assessed as regularly and thoroughly as environmental impacts.

Report: September 2008
Author/Editor: Rebecca Salay and Paul Lincoln
Produced by: National Heart Forum
Download PDF (127 Kb)

8 September 2008

Health impact assessment: assessing the effectiveness of policies in population health

Evaluación de impacto en salud: valorando la efectividad de las políticas en la salud de las poblaciones

María Sandín-Vázquez (1) y Antonio Sarría-Santamera (1,2)

Revista Española de Salud Pública vol.82 no.3 Madrid May/June 2008



La Evaluación de Impacto en Salud es una metodología integral propuesta por la OMS para determinar el impacto sobre la salud de los proyectos, propuestas de políticas y estrategias que originalmente no traten específicamente de la salud, pero que tengan un efecto en la misma. El objetivo de este trabajo es realizar una aproximación a cómo se elaboran las EIS así como valorar su utilidad en Salud Pública. La Evaluación de Impacto en Salud es un proceso multidisciplinar que combina evidencias cualitativas y cuantitativas en un marco de toma de decisiones y está basada en un modelo de salud que incluye los determinantes económicos, políticos, sociales, psicológicos y ambientales de la salud. Es decir, las intervenciones con un impacto real en la salud de las poblaciones deben tener un enfoque global y ser de nivel estructural, con medidas de Salud Pública decididas a nivel político, por lo que los responsables de poner en marcha esas medidas deben implicarse en el proceso de toma de decisiones y en la posterior evaluación de su efectividad. Para poder realizar Evaluación de Impacto en Salud, es necesario facilitar la integración entre los datos existentes para realizar el diagnóstico inicial y poder investigar a posteriori los efectos de las medidas políticas llevadas a cabo. De esta manera será posible monitorizar los efectos sobre la salud que tengan las acciones identificadas en la Evaluación de Impacto en Salud, maximizando sus potenciales efectos positivos y evitando los posibles efectos adversos.

Palabras clave: Evaluación de impacto en salud. Salud Pública.


Health Impact Assessment is a comprehensive methodology proposed by the World Health Organization to determine the impact on health of projects, policies and strategies that are no originally specifically health-related but that could have on effect on health. This work aims to review the methodological approaches to Health Impact Assessment, and determine its value in Public Health. Health Impact Assessment is a multidisciplinary process that combines both qualitative and quantitative evidence in a decision-making frame. It is based on a model of health that includes the economic, political, social, psychological, and environmental determinants of health. If interventions with a real impact on the populations health require a comprehensive and structural approach, with Public Health measures taken at political level, those responsible for implementing such measures have to engage in the decision-making process and in the assessment of its effectiveness. To conduct Health Impact Assessment it is necessary to facilitate the integration of the existing data in order to perform the initial diagnosis and be able to investigate the late effects of the policy measures implemented. This way it will be possible to systematically monitor the effects on health of the actions which derive from Health Impact Assessment, thus maximizing potential positive effects on health and preventing the potential adverse effects.

Click here to go to original article in Spanish

Click here for English translation
(some minor errors in translation e.g. HIA is abbreviated as EIS)

5 September 2008

Happy 3rd Birthday for Int HIA Blog!

Looking back over the archive of posts I found that Ben H-R had written the first post on the 1st September 2005!

That means this blog has been running for 3 years and we have notched up 112 posts since that time. Not bad going but I think over the next three years it would be great to reach at least 1 post a week (52 posts a year 156 posts over 3 years) and hopefully 2 posts a week (I can dream, can't I!).

It'd also be great to have more comment. Unfortunately, it takes time to reflect and write up insights, ideas and experiences (Another thing for the to do  list or is that wish list).

We haven't had a huge lot of comments which is a shame but I hope that our readers out there enjoy what we are blogging about and bringing to their notice.

Ben and I have been aiming to get other people to contribute to the blog but it's been difficult to make the time to contact people. That's one more thing on my HIA blog to do list. So if you are interested in contributing then get in touch with Ben (Harris-Roxas, click his name on the right-hand side) and we'd love to have you on as an occasional or regular contributor.

Last but not least I want to thank Ben for having the idea for creating a HIA blog (inspired!) and for allowing me to contribute over these last few years.

Thank you Ben and thank you HIA Blog, here's to many more years of HIA blogging and blogs!!!

1 September 2008

Short Video Demo - how to change email and forum preferences at the HIA Gateway

The HIA Gateway Forum is pretty intuitive but some elements are not so easy to spot.

I therefore created a video demonstration showing how to register for the HIA Gateway and seoperatel;y for the HIA Gateway Forum. I've had some good feedback on the value of a video demo and thought it was worth highlighting on the blog.

The video shows how to register (which buttons on APHO and HIA pages to click) but is more focused on what to do after logging on to join the forum and to change email notification settings.

The video demo can be found at http://blip.tv/file/1043450/