Project name: Developing a Health Impact Assessment Implementation Model- Enhancing Intersectoral Approaches in Tackling Health Inequalities (project acronym, HIA-IM)
“HIA-IM is now needed more than ever in order to ‘health-proof’ public policies, as we cope with challenges such as the global climate emergency. HIA-IM will help reduce the risk of policies that impact adversely on health and wellbeing with particular reference to Ireland’s marginalised groups”
(Extract from the project summary (end of this page) from the application to the HRB, O’Mullane, 2022)
This project is funded by the Irish Health Research Board for four years (2023-2026), hosted by the School of Public Health , University College Cork (UCC). My many thanks to the HRB for funding such important population health research.
I am THRILLED to lead this project, bringing me back to my passion – the promise of HIA in creating a healthier living environment for all.
The teams includes myself as Principal Investigator, and the project will hire a postdoc researcher and research assistant in a few months.
I’m blessed to work with an absolutely fantastic team of internationally recognized experts in this field.
My lead mentor is Prof Kat Smith (University of Strathclyde) and co – mentor is Professor Ivan Perry (UCC). Project co-applicants include: Prof Uduak Archibong (University of Bradford), Dr Lisa Pursell (National University of Galway Ireland), Dr Sheena McHugh (UCC), Dr Joanna Purdy (Institute of Public Health, Ireland) and Dr Ger Mullally (UCC).
Project collaborators include Bernie Connolly (Cork Environmental Forum), Dr Ben Harris-Roxas (University of New South Wales), Dr Liz Green (Public Health Wales, HIA Support Unit), Ben Cave (BCA Insight Ltd), Dr Hannah Daly (UCC), Jeremy Ward (Cork City Council), Dr Ina Kelly (Health Service Executive Ireland- HSE), Dr Paul Kavanagh (Health Service Executive Ireland- HSE), Dr Sara Burke (Trinity College Dublin) and Tadhg O’Mahony (Environmental Protection Agency Ireland). Denise Cahill, coordinator of Cork Healthy Cities, will be a member of the PPI group for the project.
Here is a short summary of the project. More will be revealed as time goes on!
Public health research has shown that our health and wellbeing are affected by the circumstances into which we are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are generally described as the social determinants of health. We know that incorporating a health focus drawing on the social determinants of health across all publicly designed, funded and implemented policies can help create supportive living environments, so that the healthier choices, become the easier choices for people and communities. Marginalized groups in society are particularly vulnerable to policies that do not consider the social determinants of health. One established tool and approach developed to create health-focused policies is Health Impact Assessment (HIA). It allows for an analysis of potential or unintended impacts of a policy to be highlighted, and in addressing these impacts, it creates an opportunity to change these policies. In this research project, Development of a HIA Implementation Model: Enhancing Intersectoral Approaches in Tackling Health Inequalities (HIA-IM), we wills carry out two HIAs, one on a local authority city development plan (Cork City Council) and one on the Government National Climate Action Plan. Using an action research approach, we seek to learn from the ‘doing’ of these two HIAs. This learning will inform and create, for the first time, an Irish-specific HIA implementation model. This model will assist stakeholders including state bodies, community groups and the health services in carrying out HIAs. Research findings will directly inform the national roll-out of the Institute of Public Health Ireland HIA programme. HIA-IM is now needed more than ever in order to ‘health-proof’ public policies, as we cope with challenges such as the global climate emergency. HIA-IM will help reduce the risk of policies that impact adversely on health and wellbeing with particular reference to Ireland’s marginalised groups.