New 'Mellow Village' case study provides practical guidance on how to undertake a Health Impact Assessment
HIA

The Institute of Public Health (IPH) has launched a new case study providing practical guidance on how to undertake a Health Impact Assessment (HIA).

Mellow Village: A Health Impact Assessment Case Study’ sets out in detail the process and steps required to apply HIA to a hypothetical proposal to develop a mixed-use urban neighbourhood called Mellow Village. 

This new case study – based on a hypothetical building project - was developed as a support tool for using the updated Health Impact Assessment Guidance and will be of interest to local authorities, community organisations, and policy- and decision-makers at local and national level. 

HIA is used to assess the potential impact of a proposed new law, policy, programme or project and how it might affect the health of the community before it is implemented. 

Ultimately, HIA helps to build healthier communities and reduce health inequalities by ensuring that new laws, policies, or programmes are more inclusive, more equitable, and more sustainable. 

The Mellow Village case study also complements a free online course introducing the basic principles of HIA, which is available on the Institute’s digital learning platform Public Health Matters

The 60-page case study was developed by IPH in partnership with Ben Cave from BCA Insight, and launched at a webinar today, 9 April.

Watch webinar launch of case study

 

Addressing the webinar, IPH Public Health Development Officer, Dr Joanna Purdy, shared the findings of a recent survey of the HIA community, which identified the need for further supports and resources.

The online survey, conducted in 2023, found that many of the 50+ respondents had limited experience of HIA and expressed a need for ‘Case Studies’ and practical guidance on undertaking a HIA.

This targeted survey of the HIA community identified a strong preference for further practical guidance and led us to developing the Mellow Village case study to bring to life the practical steps involved in the HIA process,” Dr Purdy said.

This Mellow Village case study illustrates how HIA can be applied in practice by providing step-by-step guidance on using HIA to assess the impact of a proposed project policy, or programme on the health of communities,” Dr Purdy added. 

Commenting on the new case study Ben Cave, BCA Insight added: “This case study provides a practical illustration of the Institute’s Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Guidance and how its component parts fit together to make a case, through HIA, for improving and protecting public health”.

The Mellow Village HIA Case Study is available here.

The ‘Introduction to HIA’ learning module is available on IPH’s Public Health Matters platform


 

What is HIA?

Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process used to assess the impact of proposed policies, laws, programmes or plans on the health of communities to ensure they are more inclusive, more equitable, and more sustainable for everyone. 

HIA helps policy- and decision-makers to understand how a proposed new law, policy, programme or project might affect the health of the community before it is implemented.

At national level, government departments or statutory agencies can use HIA to assess proposed laws or policies. At local level, HIA may be used by local councils and the community and voluntary sector organisations to ‘health proof’ new and future programmes or projects. 

The HIA process involves initial screening, scoping, analysis, reporting, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation stages.

IPH published the fourth edition of HIA Guidance for Ireland and Northern Ireland in 2021. The Guidance is endorsed by the International Association for Impact Assessment and the European Public Health Association. 

 

Example of HIA - Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax in Ireland

IPH conducted a HIA to assess the potential impact of the proposed Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax before it came into effect on water and juice-based drinks in May 2018. 

Taxes on sugar-sweetened / soft drinks were introduced in Ireland and the UK in 2018. In 2022, the Irish sugar tax generated €31.4m in revenue. Since a similar sugar levy was applied to soft drinks in the UK, it is associated with an 8% reduction in obesity levels in 10-11 year old girls in England alone. Further research has found that the UK levy led to the reformulation of soft drinks and consequently a 10% reduction in sugar consumption per household per week.

 

For more information about IPH’s work on HIA visit www.publichealth.ie/hia.

 

See also this summary of 2023 HIA activity.

 

 

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