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HIA Guidance and Tools

SOPHIA Resources

  • The Minimum Elements and Practice Standards was released in 2014 and updated in 2022. Created by a working group at the HIA of the Americas conference in 2010, the resource describes best practices in how HIA should be conducted. They also present the minimum elements that need to be addressed for a study to be considered an HIA. The current version has just been revised to incorporate extensive feedback from HIA practitioners. More information about the update, including a recording of a webinar, can be found here.
  • The SOPHIA Stakeholder Engagement Working Group created a series of videos in which HIA practitioners share their narratives related to stakeholder engagement. Within the Health Impact Assessment process, stakeholder engagement can look very different depending on the context of the work you are doing. Rarely is it straight forward and there is no single approach for engaging the diverse community groups, decision makers, and practitioners who are key to successful HIA work. In order to share those experiences, the SOPHIA Stakeholder Engagement Workgroup identified four unique stories that demonstrate the diverse situations HIA practitioners’ experiences. By sharing these stories, the workgroup aims to share experiences and lessons learned from the HIA stakeholder engagement process.
  • In 2023, the SOPHIA HiAP Working Group revised and expanded upon a 2017 HiAP resource and created the Implementation Guide for HiAP StrategiesPublic health practitioners often need to identify robust alternative Health in All Policies (HIAP) strategies to ensure decision makers understand the health and health equity implications of a proposal. The purpose of the guide is to help public health professionals work with partners to determine what HIAP methods fit a unique decision making context. Using existing HIA values, HIAP categories of strategies, and HIA practices, the tool provides guidance on selecting HIAP methods, or a combination of methods, to incorporate a broad health perspective when an HIA does not fit. The tool is intended to go beyond the government sector so that non-profits, foundations, businesses, and individuals can collaborate to build community health. 

  • The SOPHIA Peer Review Working Group developed the Health Impact Assessment Peer Review Brief, which offers guidance for HIA practitioners on using peer review, or the evaluation of an HIA process or product by knowledgeable persons to maintain or enhance the quality of the process or product. The brief describes the rationale for using peer review, the types of review possible, and the roles of reviewers involved in the process. It then further outlines when and how the process can offer the most benefit in improving the HIA processes and outcomes.
  • The SOPHIA Equity Working Group created Communicating about Equity in HIA: A Guide for Practitioners. HIAs provide an opportunity to advance equity, but practitioners often struggle with how to effectively and strategically communicate about this core value of HIA. An effective approach to communication, including crafting a purposeful plan for the content and presentation of the HIA report and other materials, is fundamental to ensuring that HIAs can impact policies and support change. This guide intends to aid HIA practitioners in their efforts to communicate about equity as an essential step towards advancing equity through practice.
  • SOPHIA’s Stakeholder Engagement Working Group created a tool, Stakeholder Engagement: Planning and Budget Resource, which includes practical tools for planning and budgeting for various activities to involve stakeholders, including decision makers, community members, and others who might be impacted by a decision; and build meaningful stakeholder engagement into their HIA budgets upfront.
  • The SOPHIA Stakeholder Engagement Working Group created this list of Stakeholder Engagement Tools & Resources to assist practitioners working with limited experience, personnel and/or resources to easily access tools and materials.
  • The SOPHIA Regional Capacity Building Maps from 2014 are available online. The goal of this project is to augment the existing maps on the geospatial distribution of HIAs across the Americas with new information on the organizations that conduct, provide technical assistance and training on, teach about, and fund HIAs.
  • SOPHIA’s Equity workgroup released the second version of the Equity Metrics for Health Impact Assessment Practices in 2016. This is a set of process and outcome metrics related to promoting equity through HIA. These metrics provide more detail to the HIA Practice Standards regarding the incorporation of equity into HIA practice and aims to evaluate the degree to which an HIA successfully incorporated equity as well as help guide HIA practitioners, evaluators, and equity advocates to advance the consideration of equity in practice. The second version of the metrics enhances Equity Metrics for Health Impact Assessment Practice: Version 1. A report of this work has also been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  • The Guidance and Best Practices for Stakeholder Participation in HIA distills stakeholder participation techniques, case studies, and guiding principles from various fields of expertise, including HIA, environmental and social impact assessment, land use and transportation planning, community-based participatory research, and public health. The guide is a collective product of the Stakeholder Participation Working Group, which emerged from the March 2010 HIA in the Americas Workshop. Its primary audience is HIA practitioners who are working to improve stakeholder participation and leadership in the practice of HIA. It may also appeal to community groups and stakeholders who want to more effectively participate in, lead, or influence an HIA.

Selected Partner Resources

  • The World Health Organization released Implementing Health in All Policies: a pilot toolkit. It brings together key tools for HiAP implementation and examines the determinants of health, focusing specifically on the early stages of HiAP planning and initiation.
  • A free online course from Quebec's National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy aims to familiarize participants with the process of conducting health impact assessments of projects, programs, and policies in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
  • Habitat Health Impact Consulting developed a resource kit that provides HIA practitioners with information that will help them conduct HIAs of industrial projects such as manufacturing facilities, waste treatment facilities, mines, mills, or oil or gas facilities. The kit provides information to help ask the right questions, obtain the right information about the project, and scope the potential health issues appropriately.
  • Kelsey Lucyk and Habitat Health Impact Consulting released a Report on Mental Health in Health Impact Assessment: A Resource for Health Impact Assessment Practitioners. The report provides a descriptive overview of how mental health is currently included in the field of HIA.
  • Health Impact Assessment (HIA): Selected Resources from the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy – This inventory is intended as an introduction to the field of HIA practice as applied to policy development. It is based on a review of the literature on this subject carried out by the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP) between March and July of 2008. An update of this document was conducted in November 2011. It does not claim to be completely exhaustive, but it reflects the information available at the time the review was carried out.
  • This case study by Martin Birley discusses the business reasons behind the decision of a large multinational company to use HIA in project design.
  • (Spanish Version) la Práctica de la Evaluación del Impacto en Salud – La segunda versión de los Los procesos estándar en la evaluación del impacto en la salud realizado por North American HIA Practice Standards Working Group (2010) describe las mejores practicas en como la Evaluación del Impacto en Salud (EIS) debería ser conducida. También presenta los elementos mínimos que deben ser resueltos para que un estudio se considere un EIS.
  • This review package by Fredsgaard, Cave and Bond enables people who review or commission HIAs to reach an opinion on the quality of the completed HIA report in a simple, quick and systematic manner.
  • An article by Dannenberg et al. reviews 27 HIAs that were completed in the US — including the recommendations that were made to decision-makers and the impact the HIA had on subsequent decisions and affected populations.
  • Bhatia and Wernham’s paper describes how HIA can be integrated into the US NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Environmental Impact Statement process.
  • The National Academies of Science released a large and thorough volume on the role of HIA in improving health in the United States. 
  • Promoting Equity through the Practice of Health Impact Assessment. This report serves as a primer to demonstrate: 1) how HIA practitioners and equity advocates can ensure that the practice of HIA maintains a strong focus on promoting equity; and 2) how HIA can be used as a tool to support equitable decision-making processes and outcomes.

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