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RWJF and Pew award 6 grants to examine the impact of policy on people's health
Date:6/7/2010

WASHINGTON The Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, today announced more than $1 million in grants to six projects that will conduct health impact assessments at the state and local levels.

A health impact assessment (HIA) is a powerful tool that helps policy makers understand how a proposed project or policy could affect the well-being of the people in a community. The information provided by an HIA enables policy makers to weigh the pros and cons of their decisions and put in place practical strategies that minimize adverse health effects and maximize potential benefits.

The six projects in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Texas are at the forefront of a burgeoning movement in the United States to ensure health is considered in sectors that do not traditionally factor it into their decision making. The HIAs will analyze the likely health effects of pending decisions, such as budget modifications being considered by a state legislature, transportation plans for the construction of a light-rail system and a land-use proposal to redevelop an abandoned factory site.

"These pioneering projects will provide many valuable lessons for other leaders in sectors that may not focus on health, but produce policies and programs that have clear ramifications," said Aaron Wernham, M.D., director of the Health Impact Project. "Health impact assessments can be used to weigh complex proposals and help decision makers craft solutions that avoid unforeseen effects and create conditions that give people every opportunity to lead healthy lives."

HIAs have been widely used in Europe, Canada and other countries, but are now emerging as a policy-planning tool in the United States. This approach can be used to address community concerns early in the planning process, generate stakeholder support and consensus and steer proposals swiftly through appr
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Contact: Becky Wexler
bwexler@burnesscommunications.com
301-280-5729
Burness Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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