A group North American health impact assessment (HIA) practitioners and researchers recently launched a new coalition called SOPHIA: Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment. SOPHIA promotes ”a thorough and systematic consideration of health in decision-making”. Officially launched in late 2011, SOPHIA connects individuals and organizations who are actively conducting HIAs, interested in conducting HIAs, or have an interest in supporting the concept of HIAs. Membership is currently free, as long as you sign a statement pledging that you will conduct HIA in a manner that aligns with SOPHIA’s core values:
“As Health Impact Assessment practitioners, our work will reflect the following core values:
- Democracy: emphasizing the right of people to participate in the formulation of decisions that affect their lives.
- Equity: emphasizing the reduction of inequity that results from avoidable differences in health determinants and/or health status within affected populations.
- Sustainability: emphasizing that decisions should meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
- Ethical use of evidence: emphasizing that transparent and rigorous processes are used to synthesize and interpret evidence, that the best available evidence from different disciplines and methodologies is utilized, that all evidence is valued, and that recommendations are developed impartially.
- Comprehensive approach to health: emphasizing that health and disease are determined by a broad range of factors from all aspects of the physical, social and economic environment.”
For more information about SOPHIA, visit hiasociety.org.