Health primarily happens outside of the doctor’s office, and is shaped by the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work and age. These conditions are influenced by many programs and policies which may appear to be unrelated to health, but which may have important health consequences, both positive and negative. Failure to consider the health consequences of policies could result in unintended harm or missed opportunities to improve health.
The Health Impact Checklist (HI-C) is a relatively simple approach that can suggest answers to important questions about the potential health impacts of a decision.
The HI-C was designed to inform decisions at many levels (e.g., organizational, city, county and state). It asks a series of questions and uses a combination of check boxes and written responses to connect potential changes in social, economic and environmental conditions with potential health impacts. Further, the tool guides users as they create practical recommendations to maximize potential positive health impacts and mitigate potential negative health impacts. The HI-C also includes a template for a one-page summary that provides a high-level snapshot of findings.
The goal of the toolkit is to help community stakeholders — such as local health departments, hospitals, planners, engineers, community members and community-based organizations — to complete the HI-C. They can then use the completed checklist to help decision makers understand the potential positive and negative impacts of policies on the health of communities.
The HI-C builds on existing tools, such as Health Notes from the Health Impact Project, the Health Lens Checklist from Kent County, Michigan, and the Health in All Policies: Health Lens Analysis Tool from Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in Washington state.
If you would like to discuss how you can use the Health Impact Checklist in your role, please contact us.