252037 Using Health Impact Assessments for school siting decisions

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:42 AM

Barbara Berney, PhD, MPH , Urban Public Health, Hunter College, Los Angeles, CA
The Centers for Disease Control and others describe Health Impact Assessment as a tool for evaluating “potential health effects of a project or policy before it is built or implemented.” It is especially useful for ensuring inclusion of public health impacts in decisions such as school siting where many of these impacts might not be considered. HIA uses both qualitative and quantitative methods and tools to consider potential health impacts and is designed to increase community involvement by including both health concerns raised by the community and qualitative data supplied by community participants. HIA can take into account multiple environmental and social stressors and health determinants that can lead to significant mitigation measures. The assessment can result not only in changes in siting decisions but in design improvements that increase, for example, pedestrian and bike safety and walkability and use of active modes of transportation and decrease exposure to air pollution and noise by changing building orientation, using appropriate building materials, and installing appropriate filters. When potential school sites are limited, these kinds of changes can be very important. HIAs are becoming a more widely used tool for cross agency project and program assessment and offer many advantages for assessing and improving school siting decisions.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify two reasons for using HIA in school siting decisions.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I teach children's environmental health policy.
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.