You are here:
Integrating Ecosystem Services Into Health Impact Assessment
Barclay, P. AND L. Jackson. Integrating Ecosystem Services Into Health Impact Assessment. A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) Conference, Washington, DC, December 08 - 12, 2014.
TO communicate the relevant content and use of EnviroAtlas to provide supporting information for community health impact assessments
Health Impact Assessment (HIA) provides a methodology for incorporating considerations of public health into planning and decision-making processes. HIA promotes interdisciplinary action, stakeholder participation, and timeliness and takes into account equity, sustainability, and best available evidence. Tools and methods for quantitatively and qualitatively evaluating associations between the environment and health are necessary for understanding the potential impact of decisions and plans on health. EnviroAtlas is one resource that can be used by planners, researchers, public health professionals and engaged citizens to gain a greater understanding of linkages between ecosystems, ecosystem services, and health.EnviroAtlas is a suite of tools and resources that includes an ecosystem services mapping application and an Eco-Health Relationship Browser. Hundreds of data layers for the conterminous US and select communities can be viewed in an interactive mapping application or downloaded for further analysis. Data for natural resources, potential stressors, and demographics are avaible, lending support to a systems approach to considering health in decision-making. Additionally, the Eco-Health Relationship Browser provides an up-to-date review of the current state of eco-health science, focusing on the hazard buffering and health promotional benefits of green infrastructure. A guide for using EnviroAtlas to integrate ecosystem services into HIA is under development using an iterative process of literature and HIA report review, conversations with practitioners, and field and retroactive testing. The guide aims to close data gaps and increase the utilization of available tools, improvements that were identified in an EPA review (2013) of best practices in HIA. The guide will aid HIA practitioners in identifying regions of disparate burden and possible points of intervention and health promotion by linking ecosystems, ecosystem services and public health. Next steps include identifying test communities for integrating ecosystem services into HIA processes and bundling the guide into training tools available through EnviroAtlas. Resources like EnviroAtlas can help facilitate the inclusion of environmental health considerations into decision making and aid in understanding the pathways through which health outcomes occur.Although this material was reviewed and approved by EPA, it does not necessarily reflect official Agency policy.