Avenues of Influence: the Relationship between Health Impact Assessment and Determinants of Health and Health Equity

Elizabeth Kelley Sohn, Lauren J. Stein, Allison Wolpoff, Ruth Lindberg, Abigail Baum, Arielle McInnis-Simoncelli, Keshia M. Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study aims to identify perceived impacts of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on decision-making, determinants of health, and determinants of health equity and outline the mechanisms through which these impacts can occur. The research team conducted a mixed-methods study of HIAs in the USA. First, investigators collected data regarding perceived HIA impacts through an online questionnaire, which was completed by 149 stakeholders representing 126 unique HIAs. To explore in greater depth the themes that arose from the online survey, investigators conducted semi-structured interviews with 46 stakeholders involved with 27 HIAs related to the built environment. This preliminary study suggests that HIAs can strengthen relationships and build trust between community and government institutions. In addition, this study suggests that HIA recommendations can inform policy and decision-making systems that determine the distribution of health-promoting resources and health risks. HIA outcomes may in turn lead to more equitable access to health resources and reduce exposure to environmental harms among at-risk populations. Future research should further explore associations between HIAs and changes in determinants of health and health equity by corroborating findings with other data sources and documenting potential impacts and outcomes of HIAs in other sectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-764
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018


  • Health equity
  • Health impact assessment
  • Social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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