The International Health Impact Assessment Consortium (IMPACT) is based in the Division of Public Health, a WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Policy Research on Social Determinants of Health, at the University of Liverpool, UK.
IMPACT aims to improve health and reduce health inequalities locally, nationally and internationally, by promoting the integration of Health Impact Assessments (HIA) into policy planning to achieve Health in All Policies.
We achieve our aims through:
In 2009, IMPACT was awarded the inaugural UNICO Impact Award in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the improvement of public policy and services. Impact awards celebrate two-way engagement with business, the public sector, cultural and community partners, recognising the diverse ways in which knowledge and expertise can be transferred from higher education institutions and public sector research establishments for the wider benefit of the economy and society.
What is Health Impact Assessment?
HIA is concerned with improving the health of populations and the reduction of health inequalities. It is best defined as:
A combination of procedures, methods and tools by which a policy, programme or project may be judged as to its potential effects on the health of a population, and the distribution of those effects within the population.
Lehto& Ritsatakis, 1999 (WHO Gothenburg consensus)
HIA identifies and encourages policies and practices to promote health and wellbeing in a way that is sensitive to local conditions and communities. It is flexible, practical and systematic, using a combination of procedures, methods and tools to identify the likely effects of a proposed intervention (policy, programme or project) on a population's health. Most importantly, it considers the distribution of those effects across different population sub-groups. HIA then considers what changes are needed to maximise the health benefits and reduce any health risks with particular emphasis on the reduction of inequalities of health and the promotion of socially just, evidenced-based interventions.
Ultimately, HIA seeks to inform and influence decision-making ensuring that health impacts, and the distribution of those impacts, are considered the policy planning process.