We may like the concept of evidence-based decision-making but being realistic, political
(including planning) decisions are based on a whole range of things.
So most people now aim for 'evidence-informed decision-making', for which HIA is
It would be daft to think that planners (or others in local, regional or national
government) consider only health when making their decisions.
But the more that the decision-makers are involved with the HIA process, the more likely
they are to engage with the recommendations produced.
And I am very surprised by the statement that public health professionals are unaware of
social equity or civil rights. Certainly not the case in the UK. And HIA, as accepted
across Europe and I thought worldwide, considers both the health impacts and their
distribution across the population.
Dr Jennifer Mindell
Clinical senior lecturer
Health and Social Surveys Research Group
Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
1-19 Torrington Place
London WC1E 6BT
Tel. 020 7679 1269 (Internal x41269)
Survey doctor: 07770-537238
Fax 020 7813 0242
Web: IRIS web page
Journal of Transport and Health: www.elsevier.com/locate/jth
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 2014 12:29:58 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: [H+T--Friends] webinar on Health Impact Assessment (HIA)
in Transportation Planning
To: TRB Health and Transportation <h+t--friends(a)chrispy.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
Who is putting on this webinar? It appears to be something called IBPI. "The
Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation is an exciting center for research and
learning that is focused on bicycle and pedestrian travel. IBPI?s aim is to advance
bicycling and walking as integral elements of the transportation system in Oregon?s
communities." Where's the neutrality and objectivity?
In regard to this statement, "Health impact assessment (HIA) has emerged in the U.S.
as a promising way to increase social and environmental justice by addressing health
equity within transportation planning," much HIA work does not adequately address
social equity and EJ issues. For example, HIA's rarely address Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 or the environmental justice executive order. They rarely contain legal
concepts at all. HIA's are usually conducted by public health people, who have no
background in social equity or civil rights. They often perform with an environmentalist
bias (see "bicycle innovation" above), which often is in tension with the needs
of low income communities and communities of color.
As to this, "It also augments community and stakeholder engagement by providing a
forum - usually through an advisory committee - where stakeholders can identify and
deliberate about health interests related to the target plan. While HIA advisory
committees are diverse by design," much HIA work is conducted solely in English, and
the limited English proficiency needs of various demographic groups are not addressed.
Another concern with "advisory committees" is that fact that they only provide
"advice" which the "planning" entity is not obligated to pay any
attention to. A colleague who leads an immigration advocacy group told me a couple of
years ago, "I no longer serve on advisory committees because they don't make
policy or control anything."