HIA is not a new idea. HIA has been promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) since as early as the late 1990s, and is commonly used throughout Europe and the European Union, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
In the United States, HIA is gaining a positive reputation for its holistic approach to health promotion. At the local level, HIAs have been conducted by local health departments, non-profit organizations, and universities in various parts of the United States. San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles have emerged as leaders in their use of HIA for the evaluation of various programs and projects that affect their community.
Interest in HIA is also increasing at the state level. The Washington State Legislature passed a bill in 2006, which was signed by the Governor, to create a mechanism for the Governor or a state legislator to request the Washington State Board of Health to conduct a Health Impact Review on any proposed state legislative or budgetary change. To date, the Washington State Board of Health has conducted five reviews of bills introduced into the state legislature. The Massachusetts Department of Health is currently exploring the possibility of conducting HIAs at the state level, as well.
Dannenberg AL, Bhatia R, Cole BL, Heaton SK, Feldman JD, Rutt CD. Use of health impact assessment in the U.S: 27 case studies, 1999-2007. Am J Prev Med. 2008;34(3):241-256
European Centre for Health Policy, WHO Regional Office for Europe. (1999) Gotherburg Consensus Paper. Health impact assessment: main concepts and suggested approach. Brussels: WHO