Health impact assessments (HIAs) provide an attractive approach for those interested in injecting health issues into planning processes. While HIAs have been mainly employed outside the United States and led by professionals from the public health field, they hold promise for addressing the important dimension of human health in planning. This article describes the history of HIAs and their relationship to other analogous tools, reviews current theory and practice of HIAs, and discusses the role of HIAs in current planning initiatives. The authors suggest it is important to modify existing HIA tools so that they are perceived by planners as a useful supplement to current planning processes rather than a burdensome additional requirement. The authors close by discussing how HIAs present distinct advantages, providing a more specific focus on the important topic of human health and a further opportunity to more closely partner with potential allies from public health and related fields.
- Public Health