Houston Health Department

Community Transformation Initiative - Policies




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Health in All Policies

Health in All Policies (HiAP) is a concept that was derived to improve upon health in communities.  The idea of HiAP integrates health considerations into decision making in all sectors of policy making.  HiAP recognizes that health determinants are impacted by policies that are outside of healthcare.  Policies that affect transportation, agriculture, education, etc. are examples of HiAP target areas.  In order to adopt HiAP, a comprehensive approach to health is necessary.

Our habits are what dictate our health as individuals, not necessarily our medical care.  How we live our lives on a daily basis, work, eat and spend our leisure time all affect our health.  An example of HiAP would be building sidewalks or safe bike paths in order to increase physical activity in the community.  In California, they have taken the lead in bringing HiAP to the forefront.   Their efforts have improved upon housing, immigration, transportation and more providing a framework for the rest of the country to follow.

A helpful tool in HiAP is the use of a Health Impact Assessment (HIA).   A HIA has been defined as a “combination of procedures, methods, and tools by which a policy, program, 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. HIA identifies actions to manage those effects.”  The use of an HIA will allow for the gathering of information that will allow decision makers to promote policies that will improve health.

Below are several resources that explore HiAP in further detail.  Use them to better understand what HiAP is and how it has been put to use throughout Public Health.

  • Health in All Policies

The Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C. provides an overview of what HiAP means and what factors may influence different policies.

An organization based in California that analyzes and researches policies that lead to inequalities in communities.  Here is a fact sheet that outlines the concept of HiAP and how they address it.

  • World Health Organization on HiAP

The World Health Organization released a statement to engage leaders at all levels of government to understand the importance of HiAP. https://www.who.int/social_determinants/hiap_statement_who_sa_final.pdf

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