Title: Integrating Health Impact Assessment With Policy Process: Lessons And Experiences From Around The World.
Edited by : Monica O’Mullane
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Reviewer: Rebecca Bailey-McHale, lecturer, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Chester.
What was it like?
This is the first book of its kind to share global experiences of how Health Impact Assessment can be integrated into policy processes. The contents clearly set out the array of topics covered and the global contributors who range from Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Australia to name a few. Chapters 4-17 share the global experiences with examples vary and include such discussions as assessing the impact of health impact assessment in policy making by analysing the differences between two health impact assessments conducted in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Some of the chapters e.g. chapter 8 utilise case studies to demonstrate how health impact assessment occurs in relation to the major actors in key institutions involved with health impact assessment. Chapter 14 is particularly interesting as it looks at the history of health impact assessment in Africa and examines previous projects that have impacted negatively on health and moves on to look at how there is a movement of change in health impact assessment currently. Each chapter has a similar template; it begins with a chapter introduction followed by the main body of the discussion. Each chapter ends with a conclusion and a specific chapter bibliography. There is a good use of tables and graphics. The book is easy to read and can be dipped into for relevant chapters as independent pieces without needing to read the whole book in entirety. However chapters two and three are important to read as they remind you of the fundamental issues relating to health impact assessment e.g. the determinants of health and what health impact assessment actually means in realistic terms. Some chapters offer ideas and practical solutions, others offer research recommendations for future practice. Some chapters also offer a generic learning section, keenly displayed in bulleted lists.
While this book may be viewed as a bit heavy going its practical use of real life studies, health impact assessments and their application, actually make it a really quite interesting read.
What were the highlights?
The concept of this book offers new perspectives in bringing global examples together in one book. It uses a good range of global resources from 1st world examples to 3rd world examples. The book is awarded three forewords from key people from Spain, Thailand and the U.K, all who have experience in working in health and health impact assessment and now work for their respective governments.
Strengths & weaknesses:
The book’s contributors are from mixed professional backgrounds ranging from research scientists, lecturers, health promotion managers and directors of public health, to name a few. This book makes the practical examples appealing to more than nursing professionals. At the beginning of the book there is a concise abbreviation list, however the chapters contain a lot of abbreviations so at times it is tricky to remember what they all are and so have to keep referring back to that list. The reader is offered use of a thorough index and chapter bibliographies.
Who should read it?
A whole range of professionals would find this book interesting including student nurses, public health nurses, and academics teaching public health, public health managers and policy makers.