Under your Belt

Focused on building inclusive approaches for children’s environmental health equity assessment, this project uses a toolbox method to community engagement. Knowledge Leaders are developing an efficient, online database of equity-focused tools in support of researchers, community advocates and policy an program developers and will include: health equity assessment tools, walkability audits and healthy school checklists. The goal of the project is to promote equity through an open and accessible database in which tools can be both searched, shared and reviewed as they are put into action

Knowledge Leader Team: Tin Vo, Linor David, Caryn Thompson, Andre-Anne Parent

Project Updates (in their own words):

March, 2013 Our group is working on health impact assessments (HIA), which have been presented as a structured process that brings together specific data, expertise, principles and stakeholders input to identify potential health effects of a proposed policy, program, project, or plan and to craft health-based recommendations. It can be seen as a pragmatic approach to informed decision-making (Wernham, 2011). In the last decade, impact assessments have been gaining popularity and have been used for different purposes related to health: population health, health equity, community health, environmental health, etc. Different organizations like government agencies, public health departments or community organizations, have elaborated their own version, putting their focus on issues at stake. An environmental scan of these different tools leads us to believe that no tool can actually cover all of these issues in the perspective of an ecological definition of health, permitting the user to reach a global perspective on factors that influence population health. In addition, the proposed tools are rarely offered or accessible to residents and community organizations, keeping stakeholders dependent on institutional expertise.

In consequence, we are currently working on a project that aims at document existing HIAs, in four areas of concern: human health, environmental health, health equity and community health. Furthermore, we want to elaborate a tool with communities, (n=2) in a participative fashion. We will then write a grant proposal to implement and evaluate the tool elaborated.