The Challenges and Opportunities of Peer Review in Health Impact Assessment


  • Katherine T Hirono Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation UNSW Sydney A member of the Ingham Institute
  • Kristin Raab MN Climate & Health Program Director Minnesota Department of Health
  • Arthur Wendel Team Lead, Healthy Community Design Initiative Centers for Disease Control
  • Tim Choi Human Services Program Planner Sacramento County
  • Tina Yuen Senior Planner ChangeLab Solutions
  • Joseph Schuchter
  • Florence Fulk Environmental Protection Agency




While HIA guidelines and practice standards are used throughout the field, peer review is a potentially untapped resource for HIA practitioners in the US and potentially internationally. Peer review is thought to strengthen HIA practice, although very few guidance documents exist, and there has been little research to date on the efficacy of peer review for improving HIAs.


To explore the possible value of peer review in HIA, an expert panel was convened at the 2013 HIA of the Americas Workshop, and an online survey was used to query HIA practitioners regarding their experience with and motivation for HIA peer review.


Most survey respondents (n=20 out of 26) indicated that peer review in HIA was helpful, and 15 respondents thought a formal peer review process would improve HIA practice. Respondents wanted peer review to be timely and the reviewer to approach the review as a mentor rather than a gatekeeper.


This paper offers the initial development of a peer review typology based on feedback from the online survey and workshop participants. Better understanding of the potential challenges and opportunities for using peer review in HIA may help to improve HIA practice.

Author Biography

Katherine T Hirono, Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation UNSW Sydney A member of the Ingham Institute

Research Associate, Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation


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