Building a Receptive Audience for HIA: A PhD Student's Journey to Create a HIA Course


  • Lindsey Realmuto, MPH University of Illinois at Chicago



There are few academic institutions in the United States currently offering courses on Health Impact Assessment (HIA). This commentary describes a PhD student’s experience in building a receptive audience for an HIA course within the Urban Planning and Policy program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, how they went about developing the course, and details about the course and its implementation. Key lessons learned from the experience of developing and implementing the course include: having a real-life HIA project for students to work on can be challenging but very rewarding, for both students and partners; utilizing virtual meeting technology to invite guest lecturers from across the world provided an enriching learning experience; and providing clear milestones and setting deadlines for different components of the HIA is helpful for students as they work through the different HIA steps. While the course was successful by almost all metrics, institutionalizing HIA courses within interdisciplinary planning/public health programs
remains an ongoing challenge.