HIA Training

New Training Dates Announced: July 14-17, 2014


In 2013, 34 participants, some from areas as far as Alaska's North Slope, Vermont and Nigeria, successfully completed the sixth annual, four-day health impact assessment (HIA) summer training course in Oakland, CA. Roughly half of the participants represented Bay Area government agencies, universities, consulting firms or non-profit agencies. SFDPH co-taught the training with Human Impact Partners, an Oakland-based non-profit that does HIA work nationwide. To date, SFDPH has trained nearly 225 individuals on the practice of HIA to ensure health in all policies and improve decision-making. The 2013 HIA Training Agenda is available for those interested in future trainings.


What is Health Impact Assessment?

Health impact assessment (HIA) is most often 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” (World Health Organization, 1999).


Widely recognized as one method to consider “health in all policies,” HIA has been used in the United States on land use, transportation, education, criminal justice, labor, agriculture, energy, budgeting, and other decision-making areas to inform policymakers about the health impacts of proposed policies, projects and plans. For more information about HIA, please read the HIA Collaborative FAQ or visit the Health Impact Project.


2014 Course Details

What: Health Impact Assessment Practitioners Summer Training Course
When: July 14 - 17, 2014 (attendance all four days is mandatory)
Where: TCE Oakland Conference Center, 1111 Broadway, 7th floor, Oakland, CA
Instructors: HIA practitioners at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and community, academic, and local government partners
Cost: $960 (includes the cost of course materials, breakfast and lunch; accomodations and travel not included)*
*We are working to raise funds to support attendance of organizations facing financial hardship.


Training Objectives Include:

Day 1:

  • Review and discuss the value and purpose of HIA as a healthy public policy tool.
  • Learn the steps and tasks of a typical HIA.
  • Discuss successes and lessons learned from HIA case studies.
  • Gain experience in the screening and scoping stages of HIA.
  • Understand roles for community members, public agencies, decision-makers and other stakeholders.

Day 2:

  • Understand the tasks and goals of the assessment stage in HIA, and about the range of methods that have been used in various HIAs.
  • Learn about and apply HIA tools to assess community conditions that promote health, and understand the importance and limitations of applying these tools.
  • Learn about the Healthy Development Measurement Tool (HDMT) and gain experience exploring and accessing community health indicators.
  • Discuss principles for use of evidence in decision-making and implications for HIA practice.

Day 3:

  • Continue to learn about approaches that can be used in the assessment stage of HIA, including forecasting tools and health risk assessment and modeling.
  • Understand a general approach to evaluating and utilizing epidemiologic evidence and health risk assessment to predict and quantify health impacts of public policies.
  • Through problem solving, understand sources of uncertainty and limitations of evidence.
  • Understand a general approach for identifying recommendations and analyzing alternatives and mitigations.
  • Discuss principles for ethical use of evidence in decision-making and implications for HIA practice.

Day 4:

  • Learn about the communication, monitoring, and evaluation stages of HIA.
  • Discuss the opportunities provided by environmental impact assessment for integrated health/social/environmental analysis.
  • Collectively explore opportunities to advance HIA in practitioners’ jurisdictions.
  • Consider lessons for successful HIA applications including various roles stakeholder and decision-maker buy-in and inter-agency communication.


Registration and Enrollment

  • To ensure diversity of participation, only two people from each organization are allowed to register/participate in the training. If more than two people apply from your organization, we will ask you to decide which two participants should attend. Each person must submit a separate application form that will be made available several months before the next training course.
  • We are committed to ensuring that the training is a good fit for all participants. Based on your responses to registration questions, we may contact you to discuss your registration and goals in attending the training.
  • Applicants will receive confirmation whether or not they have been accepted into the training within three weeks of submitting their application form. Please do not begin processing payment until you have received email confirmation that you have been accepted into the course. Once accepted, to confirm your space in the course, the full payment of $960 must be received.
  • Upon enrollment, staff will contact you regarding payment options. If you are in need of financial assistance, please let us know. While we cannot commit to providing scholarships yet, we are working on raising funds to support the attendance of organizations facing financial hardship. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 415-252-3961 with any questions.
  • SFDPH will assign ~ 250+ pages of readings to course participants and email the readings at least three weeks prior to the training. These readings are assigned as background context to help the participants better understand the HIAs being discussed and facilitate deeper discussion about HIA. SFDPH assumes that the materials will have been read prior to the course, but will not spend extensive time discussing the readings at length during the course.


Travel and Hotel Information

All participants must pay their own travel and lodging costs. If stipends are available, they will only cover the costs of training tuition.



The Oakland Conference Center is conveniently located at 1111 Broadway in downtown Oakland, near 12th Street/City Center. Out-of-town participants are encouraged to fly into Oakland (OAK) or San Francisco (SFO) airports and use the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) (regional commuter train) to get to their hotel and the training center.


Participants who stay near the training center or in San Francisco near Market Street will not find it necessary to rent a car. The public transportation system is both reliable and much cheaper than renting and parking a car during the training. Taxis are also readily available in both airports and downtown Oakland and San Francisco.



Hotels near the training location include:

Courtyard Oakland Downtown

Oakland Marriott City Center

The Inn at Jack London Square

Waterfront Hotel

The Washington Inn


Individuals with very limited budgets may consider the following:

Berkeley Hostel



West Oakland Hostel


In July we will send a list of directions and things to do in Oakland to registered training participants.


Past SFDPH HIA Trainings

Over the past decade, SFDPH has emerged as one of the leading practitioners of health impact assessment in the United States. Since 2008, SFDPH has conducted annual summer training courses for health impact assessment (HIA) practitioners in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each year, there have been 30-40 participants from health departments, planning agencies, non-profit organizations, private consulting firms, and universities from across the United States and internationally.


Each year, SFDPH seeks to create a diverse group of training participants - who work at various levels (local, regional, national, and international levels) and in different areas such as land use, transportation, mental health, education, community engagement, participatory research, public housing, tourism, nutrition, environmental health, health equity, environmental justice and more. Both SFDPH and participants have found that the diversity of attendants facilitates rich, interdisciplinary discussion; new opportunities for collaboration; and valuable insights into problem-solving from different perspectives.


The overall goal of the course is to provide current and future practitioners of HIA experience using available procedures, regulations, and tools to implement an HIA. This training draws heavily from SFDPH's HIA experience and activities which are recognized nationally and internationally. During the training, we invite several outside presenters to share their HIA work and experiences; we cover a wide range of HIA topics and methods, and we encourage participant sharing and dialogue. We acknowledge that our training is urban- and California-centric given the trainers' experiences. Individuals who want a training tailored to their specific locale or issue should consider hiring an organization like Human Impact Partners to develop the training that meets your organization’s specific needs.


Course participants have provided very positive feedback and excitement about applying the methods learned to their local context as demonstrated through comments in course evaluations:

  • "Will recommend this course! These tools are all useful to our work, and I feel confident now in writing grants to support integration of HIA in our public health capacity building efforts as a non-profit public health institute."

  • "Thank you for an amazing conference. Extremely well organized and facilitated. Content expertise was well presented and facilitated valuable discussion that cannot be replicated in other forums (such as webinars or one day sessions)."

  • "I have learned an awful lot about HIA. In many instances, the most informative statements, are those that have been made 'between the lines,' by which I means the comments on how things don't always go to plan, and how that is dealt with by HIA practitioners, or how they solved problems that came up."

  • "This workshop has been terrific in all ways. The presenters, participants, location, food were all well thought out and very professional. The readings and binders have very useful information which I know I will refer to often. Your department has been very dedicated to teaching newcomers the HIA process which I really appreciate."

  • "The course flowed extremely well and was very well facilitated - I think that everyone was made as comfortable as they could be in a room together for 32 hours this week. Thanks for creating such a useful, well run course!"

  • "Overall this training has done a very impressive job of packing in a lot of info in an engaging/hands on way… SFDPH has developed impressive qualifications and depth of knowledge and makes the process of HIA looks very doable."

  • "The in-depth explanations by presenters helped to stimulate my own thinking about how to assess indicators using the resources/data I have access to. The talk about community participation was great!"

  • "I liked the real-life examples of projects today. [It provided] real insight into how successful HIAs have been conducted."

  • "Thank you so much. It is obvious how hard you worked to put this workshop together. Your passion shows… I am very excited about returning home with lots of new ideas."

SFDPH  greatly appreciates financial support received in previous years from the California Endowment to help provide tuition stipends to course participants in need of financial aid. SFDPH also greatly appreciate the use of TCE's Oakland Conference Center facilities for the trainings.


Additional Trainings

If you are interested in other HIA-related trainings, please visit: Human Impact PartnersHealth Impact Project, or the UCLA HIA CLIC.



For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call 415-252-3961.