A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process that helps to evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project, or policy before it is implemented. HIAs provide recommendations to increase positive health outcomes and minimize adverse health outcomes, as well as bring potential public health considerations to the forefront of the decision-making process. Led by Director Freddy Collier and the Cleveland City Planning Commission, the Cleveland HIA team identified five goals for the assessment process:
The HIA analyzed potential impacts of Safe Routes to School implementation on four main health outcomes: pedestrian/cyclist injury, youth violence, childhood obesity, and stress/anxiety. Through the exploration of key determinants of health, such as poor infrastructure, lack of transportation, lack of community cohesion, safety concerns, vacancy, and abandonment, the HIA facilitated the identification of root causes of adverse health outcomes, allowed the prioritization of school buildings in inherently disadvantaged neighborhoods, and influenced recommendations for Safe Routes interventions aligned with one or more of the Safe Routes Es.