224203 Health Impact Assessment and/of City Council Policy: Opportunities to Address Social Determinants of Health in Baltimore

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ryan Petteway, MPH , DrPH program, UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Berkeley, CA
The World Health Organization recognizes that “the social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities” (WHO, 2008). As such, achieving health equity cannot happen without deliberate and sustained action on the social determinants of health (SDoH). The distribution of SDoH is largely determined by policy decisions, and experts emphasize the importance of understanding that “every aspect of government and the economy has the potential to affect health and health equity” (WHO, 2008). A core feature of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is that it can be used to assess any and every type of policy/program, including zoning, transportation, education, finance, and housing. Thus, by its very nature, HIA is a tool designed to address the underlying SDoH. However, local public health entities (and governments) have been slow to adopt the formal use of HIAs or incorporate the application of its core components and principles in the policy development process.

This presentation will discuss results of a review conducted of all policies introduced into Baltimore City Council in calendar year 2008. The review was an initial effort to ascertain the extent to which “non-health” policies may impact health and to explore the potential vitality of HIA in Baltimore as a tool to address SDoH and promote health equity. This work has resulted in the first and on-going dialogue around HIA with key City Council member and staff, with continuing discussions on how to incorporate the principles and core philosophy of HIA into the policy development process. Data will be presented.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: • Describe a process for starting an HIA dialogue with key officials and raising awareness of HIA vitality in addressing SDoH and promoting health equity • Discuss potential ways to incorporate formal HIAs or its philosophy/key principles into local policy development processes • Identify key elements of local political context/structure that may facilitate/hinder adoption of HIA and/or it’s conceptual underpinnings as a tool for collaborative local public health practice

Keywords: Community Health Planning, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: New presenter. My work is in social epidemiology and social determinants of health, with particular focus on upstream policy/systems level factors that would greatly benefit from an HIA process. I currently lead efforts at BCHD around SDoH and HIA projects. In addition to reviewing all of the local 2008 policy for this project, I have extensively reviewed the HIA literature and am very familiar with the state of the field. I am also a member of a public health workgroup that is planning an HIA as part of its involvement with the Baltimore zoning code rewrite.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.