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Colorado Health Impact Assessment Program Grant

Matching Funders: Children’s Hospital Colorado – Children’s Research Institute, Colorado School of Public Health – Center for Public Health Practice, University of Colorado – School of Medicine, Emergency Section
Co-Investigators: Gregory Tung, PhD MPH; Carol Runyan, PhD; Shale Wong, MD MSPH; and Tim Byers, MD MPH
Advisory Group: Carol Runyan, PhD; Shale Wong, MD MSPH; Julie Gibbs; Tim Byers, MD MPH; Desmond Runyan, MD DrPH; and Holly Wolf, PhD
Program Manager: Venice Ng, MPH CHES
Previous staff and student interns: Amelia Wells, MPH; Devin Rothwell, MPH; Shannon Sainer, MSW; and Zachary Johnson, MPH
Health Impact Assessments
Health impact assessments (HIAs) are increasingly utilized to help legislators, public agencies, and other decision makers to advance policies that help to build safe and thriving communities.  An HIA is a systematic process that “uses an array of data sources and analytic methods and considers input from stakeholders to determine the potential effects of a proposed policy, plan, program, or project on the health of a population and the distribution of those effects within the population” (1). HIAs provide specific and practical recommendations to minimize risks and maximize the health of communities. More information on the formal HIA process can be found here:
Program Grant
The Colorado School of Public Health, in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Colorado, developed a model and pilot procedures to institutionalize the use of HIAs as a part of hospital community benefit activities that are required for hospitals to acquire and maintain their nonprofit status. With the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit hospitals have been required to conduct community health needs assessments and develop implementation plans to improve health in the communities they serve (2).
1. Marijuana and Child Abuse and Neglect: A Health Impact Assessment
Location: Colorado

Organizations: Colorado School of Public Health, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect

Status: Completed - MJ CW HIA Final Report 11.3.2016.pdfFinal Report

Description: This HIA informed the Colorado Department of Human Services’ consideration of new policies surrounding how marijuana use should be operationalized in child abuse and neglect decision-making. The recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado has raised numerous questions about the implications for public health. Particular attention has been paid to the anticipated impact on children and to policies that can be put in place to help mitigate them. Policies to deal with marijuana use and child abuse and neglect reporting are of special interest. This HIA generated recommendations to the state regarding which policies and procedures around mandatory reporting and child welfare screening should be adopted to maximize child health.
2. Addressing Mental Health and Physical Activity in K-12 Children in Colorado Springs: A Health Impact Assessment

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Organizations: Colorado School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital Colorado
Status: Completed - Children's Hospital Colorado Springs HIA Final 11.3.2016.pdfFinal report

Description: This HIA was a collaborative pilot project to integrate HIAs into hospital community benefit activities, specifically implementation planning. The HIA generated recommendations based on two community identified priority areas in Children’s Hospital Colorado’s community health needs assessment of El Paso County: child mental health and the combined effects of child physical activity, nutrition, and obesity. Recommendations from this HIA informed the development of Children’s Hospital Colorado’s community health action plan in Colorado Springs.
3. Colorado Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health HIA
Location: Colorado

Organizations: Colorado School of Public Health; Children’s Hospital Colorado; University of Colorado’s Farley Health Policy Center; and the Keystone Policy Center

Status: In Progress

Description: This HIA is a collaborative project examining a proposed competitive grants program using a proportion of estimated tobacco tax revenue from Amendment 72, a Colorado 2016 ballot initiative. The competitive grants program will target behavioral health prevention, intervention, and services among Coloradans from birth through age 25. The HIA is assessing a three-tiered system of prevention and screening, early intervention, and individualized services and will make recommendations to implement a competitive evidence-based grants program that maximizes child behavioral health through systems-level change.
(1) Committee on Health Impact Assessment, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, and Division on Earth and Life Studies. Improving health in the United States: The role of health impact assessment. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press; October 14, 2011.
(2) Nonprofit Hospitals’ Community Benefit Requirements. Health Affairs, Health Policy Brief. February 25 2016.
Contact information
Venice Ng, MPH CHES:
Gregory Tung, PhD MPH:

Colorado School of Public Health

13001 E. 17th Place​
Mail Stop B119
Aurora, CO 80045


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