Development of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Implementation Model: Enhancing Intersectoral Approaches in Tackling Health Inequalities

Public health research has shown that our health and wellbeing are affected by the circumstances into which we are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are generally described as the social determinants of health. We know that incorporating a health focus drawing on the social determinants of health across all publicly designed, funded and implemented policies can help create supportive living environments, so that the healthier choices, become the easier choices for people and communities. Marginalised groups in society are particularly vulnerable to policies that do not consider the social determinants of health. One established tool and approach developed to create health-focused policies is Health Impact Assessment (HIA). It allows for an analysis of potential or unintended impacts of a policy to be highlighted, and in addressing these impacts, it creates an opportunity to change these policies. In this research project, Development of a HIA Implementation Model: Enhancing Intersectoral Approaches in Tackling Health Inequalities (HIA-IM), we wills carry out two HIAs, one on a local authority city development plan (Cork City Council) and one on the Government National Climate Action Plan. Using an action research approach, we seek to learn from the "˜doing' of these two HIAs. This learning will inform and create, for the first time, an Irish-specific HIA implementation model. This model will assist stakeholders including state bodies, community groups and the health services in carrying out HIAs. Research findings will directly inform the national roll-out of the Institute of Public Health Ireland HIA programme. HIA-IM is now needed more than ever in order to "˜health-proof' public policies, as we cope with challenges such as the global climate emergency. HIA-IM will help reduce the risk of policies that impact adversely on health and wellbeing with particular reference to Ireland's marginalised groups.

Award Date
30 June 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Monica O'Mullane
Host Institution
University College Cork
Emerging Investigator Awards 2022