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Design For Health

Tools: What is a Rapid HIA?

On the face of it Rapid HIAs are quick, but that’s not the whole story. A rapid HIA while faster than a full, environmental impact assessment-style HIA, still takes some time. It is also different to some other quick HIA types such as desktop screening or scoping exercises.

Students performing a practice health impact assessment
at the School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada
Fundamentally a rapid  HIA is an interactive workshop—taking half a day or a day–that brings together stakeholders to identify and assess health impacts. However, additional time is needed to engage stakeholders in identifying key concerns and interest groups, to prepare background docuemtns for the workshop, have participants read those docuemtns, and write up the results. The good news is that a lot of the background information is similar to typical analyses that are standard in many planning and public health processes. Background information on health is available from several sources. Examples of completed HIAs are online.
Several toolkits are also available.
Design for Health  has two versions. The most recent Rapid HIA toolkit was ublished in 2008 but will be updated over the coming year. It draws on a number of previous examples, including the famous Merseyside model.  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. The reports from the workshop 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.
The Merseyside Guidelines for Health Impact Assessment (2001) published by the International Health IMPACT Assessment Consortium, is often cited as the most widely used HIA model in England. 

Human Impact Partners, Oakland 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 because a lot of the more interesting material is at the bottom.

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