Online Program

Health impact assessment of siting public housing units following a natural disaster

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

John Prochaska, DrPH, MPH, Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Alexandra Nolen, PhD, MPH, Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Rob Buschmann, MPP, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Elizabeth Fuller, DrPH, Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Holly Avey, PhD, MPH, Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Deirdre Oakley, PhD, Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, Atlanta
Erin Ruel, PhD, Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
James E. Dills, MUP, MPH, Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Michelle Rushing, MPH, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Georgia Health Policy Center, Atlanta, GA
Katie Hirono, MPH, Health Impact Project, Washington, DC
Background In 2008, flooding from Hurricane Ike destroyed the majority of public housing in Galveston, Texas. Part of the plans for replacement of the lost public housing units were to utilize a scattered-site approach, rather than replace the barracks style apartment complexes originally used in the city. Given the diversity of the built environment of the city, as well as the challenges of building on a barrier island, a health impact assessment (HIA) was conducted to inform the siting of these scattered site units.

Methods Using commonly accepted HIA methodology, the assessment team, with support from a community advisory steering committee and a team of expert consultants, completed a screening and scoping process, assessed current conditions, and developed a series of recommendations to aid in the selection of possible sites to develop scattered site public housing. The methods included examining available secondary data, analyzing data using geographic information systems (GIS), conducting key informant interviews, holding a series of focus groups with current public housing residents, and piloting a parcel-level assessment process.

Results and Discussion The results of this HIA yielded two primary outcomes. First, a set of recommendations was created that will aid in 1) identifying areas to begin acquiring parcels for scattered site housing and 2) mitigating potential negative health impacts. Second, a scoring system was developed that allowed for the modeling of possible impacts of individual or combined mitigation strategies. The processes and outcomes that will be shared from this HIA can be utilized in other geographic settings and in other settings.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
List the stages of conducting a health impact assessment Discuss the role of health impact assessments in decision making around housing issues Describe the utility of this health impact assessment on supporting the decision making process of siting scattered-site public housing units.

Keyword(s): Public Housing, Community Health Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the program manager for the conduct of this health impact assessment in Galveston. I was involved in all aspects of this project, and am one of the content experts used on this project.
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.