Why Conduct a HIR?


A HIR can support the work of a proposed project or plan, during the design or draft phase, by bringing to light potential unintended consequences or opportunities to promote health and by providing information to address risks and enhance benefits. 

A HIR can add value to a plan, policy or project by:

    • Providing an effective way to integrate the fields of planning and health by providing a health lens on a specific decision being made 
    • Analyzing, assessing and presenting data objectively to decision-makers
    • Obtaining input from community members and stakeholders
    • Creating collaborative efforts between partners of various expertise such as architecture, transportation, and urban planning

Examples of how the HIR process can be used:

    • Quantify how a parks and trail plan may influence rates of physical activity, chronic disease rates, and additional health considerations
    • Include health-conscious criteria in affordable housing grant requests for proposals or other grant solicitation processes
    • Incorporate health considerations during permitting review for new development
    • Physical and mental health impacts of a buyout program post flood event

Goal Inform decision makers about the health impacts of proposed policies, programs, or projects and identify opportunities to reduce any negative health effects and optimize   

Time & Resources

Longer time commitment & more resources needed

Process Restricted, must include all six steps




Dependent on process selected & resources


Comprehensive, includes recommendations

Limited, does not include recommendations

HIR vs HIA See Comparison Diagram above. HIA is a tool used to help inform decision makers about the health impacts of proposed policies, programs, or projects and identify solutions to reduce any negative health effects and optimize beneficial health outcomes.  HIAs examines social, economic and environmental influences and brings together important community members and stakeholders to help build consensus and represent the affected community.  The systematic process typically involves six steps and uses a variety of data sources, including input from stakeholders and community members. HIAs can take 12 to 24 months to complete.

The HIR is comparable to the HIA as they are both used to provide a health lens on proposals to identify their health impact. HIRs require less time than a HIA and thus require less resources. The HIR does not include recommendations like the HIA, but provides factual information that will better inform the plan, project or policy of potential health impacts. 

HIRs are a rapid and scalable tool that can broadly cover various topics and sectors, and can adapt to the timeframe given by the partners. Additional services can be provided with additional funding and time

NEXT: Types of HIRs and the HIR Process