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Design For Health

HIA Rapid Assessment

Design for Health’s (DFH) HIA Rapid Assessment is an interactive workshop that brings together stakeholders to identify and assess health impacts. The term “rapid assessment” seems to indicate a quick process and the workshop that is at the core of the process is over in under a day, however, preparing materials and writing up the results can take some weeks. Although it does require significant preparation, much of the information is similar to what is collected for the plan or policy under review (e.g., comprehensive plan, development proposal, etc). Background information on health is available from the DFH Key Questions series and examples of plan and ordinance language and plan implementation tools are available from the Planning Information Sheets.

DFH has created two toolkits for doing rapid HIA.

The first, DFH Rapid Health Impact Assessment Toolkit (2008) draws on a number of previous examples, including the Merseyside model. It provides instructions for all phases of the rapid assessment in a format oriented toward urban-planning concerns. During 2014 it will be revised.

In 2010 DFH conducted a rapid HIA, termed a Healthy City Planning Workshop. This took a more flexible approach than the 2008 toolkit and also adapted worksheets from a number of recent HIAs. These represented important changes making the workshop more responsive to local conditions and to planning and design issues. The reports include basically all the information used to run and report on the HIA workshop–the actual information packet provided to participants in advance; the agenda of the meeting, copies of handouts, worksheets, and presentations from the workshops; a series of photos keyed to parts of the agenda; and the workshop’s summary report. This makes the report usable as a toolkit.

Other DFH Resources:

  • HIA Rapid Assessment PowerPoint Presentation
    For a newer version of this presentation, please see Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Presentations.
  • Participation and Planning for Health
    How can the public participate in planning for health? Which Design for Health tools can be used in participation processes or modified for such use? This fact sheet deals with these two issues in turn.
  • Communicating about Health Impacts (80 KB)
    Health impact assessment (HIA) tools produce a large amount of useful information about various health topics, the location of health impacts, and who is affected by a project, plan, or policy. This fact sheet presents practical ideas for presenting information about the HIA process and the findings of HIA studies to a variety of audiences.
  • Comprehensive Plan Review Checklists
    These checklists summarize the key points of the DFH background and HIA materials. Topics match the plan elements required by the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council.

Additional Rapid HIA Information

  • London Olympics HIA
    Completed in 2004, this is an example of HIA on a major employment and housing development. Prepared by consultant for the London Health Commission and the London Development Agency, the HIA had two parts: a desktop assessment using many existing reports and a workshop with 21 key participants (including advocates, government representatives, academic and academics). The HIA looked at construction, operation, and post games time periods and the consultant produced a 155 page report. This comprehensive report contains substantial background information, results from exercises in the workshop including some interesting voting activities, and clear recommendations.
  • Lowry Corridor HIA of 2007
    While an internally conduced assessment rather than a true participatory HIA, this is a terrific resource. Focusing on the redevelopment of a major road in Minneapolis, the report contains several well thought-out worksheets and a number of interesting map It is a very accessible document.
  • Commerce City, Derby Redevelopment Area HIA
    This is also not a traditional rapid HIA but it is included here for its imaginative use of participation and analysis tools. These range from computer mapping and proposals for street redesign to photos taken by residents and stills from a video produced by local high school students. Located in a lower income, majority Latino area of suburban Denver the HIA was conducted by the Tri-County Health Department who in turn employed short-term consultants on special topics. With a focus on physical activity and nutrition, recommendations from the 65- page report fed into a master plan.
  • Human Impact Partners, Oakland [link to http://www.humanimpact.org/] provides several relevant tools including a number of guides and worksheets: http://www.humanimpact.org/hips-hia-tools-and-resources. Be sure to scroll down the page.
  • Health Data
    This DFH section provides tools on how to access information about health within your community, as well on how to measure the effects that the built environment has on certain health issues.
  • The Merseyside Guidelines for Health Impact Assessment (2nd ed.) 2001
    Published by the International Health IMPACT Assessment Consortium, this is often cited as the most widely used HIA model in England.
  • Erica Ison 2002. Rapid Appraisal Tool for Health Impact Assessment: A Task-Based Approach. (11th ed.) Oxford: Institute of Health Sciences.
  • Alconbury Health Impact Assessment; Final Report (3.3 MB)
    This summary report “From Bombs to Boom! Health Impact Assessment on a Former Air Base” provides an example of a well-illustrated final HIA rapid assessment report. The proposed Alconbury airfield redevelopment was for a road and rail freight-distribution center. Initial screening for potential health impacts identified both positive and negative consequences for human health and well-being, within the population of interest.
  • Health Impact Assessment: Dove Gardens 
    This report details the findings of a HIA carried out on a housing redevelopment project in Derry, England, in 2005. The report offers examples of each of the steps involved in preparing the HIA, as well as results and recommendations.

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