Online Program

Toward a legal mandate for health impact assessment in the United States: Lessons from the european union

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 1:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Michelle Miller, JD, MPH, College of Arts and Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT
There is a growing consensus among public health professionals in both the United States and Europe that the impact on human health of non-health related policies should be carefully considered before implementation. In fact, European Union law broadly mandates protection for human health in all EU policies and activities. In contrast, in the U.S., although there are increasingly efforts at the local, state, and federal levels to consider human health in policymaking, there is no overarching legal requirement to do so. Despite this seemingly fundamental difference in approach, in both the EU and the U.S., Health Impact Assessment (“HIA”) is recognized as a powerful tool for analyzing the potential impact of laws, policies and projects on human health. This presentation will assess how the legal mandate for protection of human health in the EU has impacted the development and use of HIA within the EU. Finally, the presentation will consider what lessons public health professionals in the United States might glean from the EU experience with their broad legal mandate for the protection of human health, taking into consideration relevant cultural differences. It is argued that the EU experience supports enactment of a similar formal legal requirement in the United States. However, such a legal mandate would have to be carefully formulated to require effective impact assessment without stifling the creative application of HIA. The target audience consists of all public health professionals, with or without legal expertise, who are interested in furthering the use of HIA within the U.S.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Compare the legal authority requiring protection of human health in policymaking in the United States and the European Union. Assess the impact of the EU legal mandate to ensure the protection of human health in all EU policies and activities on the development and use of HIA in the EU. Discuss the applicability of the European experience with its legal mandate for the protection of human health to public health law and policy in the United States.

Keyword(s): Health Assessment, Law

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on the content of this presentation and because of my expertise in public health law and European Union law.
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.