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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Sydney, Australia
  • Program Terms: Spring
  • Restrictions: WashU applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:

S55-5380/S50-5380: Health Impact Assessment: Understanding, Application, and Translation of the Impact of Policy on Health Outcomes in Australia (3 credits)


This course will be held on-location in Liverpool, Australia (a suburb of Sydney) 10 days in May/June, 2018 (with preparatory sessions on-campus before the trip) and will be taught by Dr. Sarah Moreland-Russell. Ten to twelve students will be selected for the course. The course is subsidized by the Brown School, but students will be expected to pay $1000. Airfare, housing, in-country transportation, and some meals are covered in the cost. Students are responsible for any meals or costs not noted here.

Course Domain Statement:

Health Impact Assessment is an emerging policy evaluation practice that aims to inform policy decisions in many sectors in order to promote the conditions required for optimal health. The goal of this course is to expose students to the rationale, practice and potential of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) with a focus on its application to policy making.  HIA encompasses diverse methods, tools, and processes by which the potential health impacts of policies, plans, programs, and projects and policies may be evaluated. In this course, students consider the reasons for doing HIA, review a range of HIA case studies and analytic methods, and consider the potential of HIA as well as the needs and challenges for practice development. As a class project, students will gain hands on experience in conducting an original HIA as they work with international partners to critically evaluate a specific policy, project, or plan, identifying health benefits and consequences, potential approaches to quantify or qualify how the project may change health determinants, and recommendations for alternatives or improvements.

Health impact assessments are used as the primary tool for assessing the impact of policy on the health of a population in several nations including Australia, Canada, and England.  However, the  use of HIA is just now becoming increasingly recognized as an essential tool in the health policy analysis toolbox. As health impact assessments (HIAs) become increasingly common in the USA, there is growing demand for instruction beyond short courses and online training. As of October 2013, there are graduate level courses that include instruction on HIA in only 17 universities in the USA, including four courses that focus explicitly on HIA. Because HIA is an emerging area in the US and there is a great need for well developed, evidence based models for instruction, a model curriculum for teaching HIA has been developed that draws on a framework for experiential learning and on a theoretical model of curriculum formulation. This model framework will be used in the development of all competencies of this course.

Description of Course Activities: 

This course will require 3 main components:
Component 1 – Seminar - Understanding HIA, and how to conduct one
First, students will be instructed via regular seminar on the rationale, practice and potential of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) with a focus on its application to policy making. The seminar will cover the diverse methods, tools, and processes used in conducting an HIA to effectively evaluation potential health impacts of policies, plans, programs, and projects and policies. 
Component 2 – HIA Project - Experiential Learning
For the experiential learning component, students will work as a team to conduct a “hand’s on” HIA on a contemporary policy, program, or project, in an international setting. This experience will involve: a scoping exercise to identify potential impacts, mitigations, and research questions, potentially using a structured checklist; a description of pathways between the project, health determinants and health outcomes; review of evidence supporting pathways; participation in public meetings; a review of health analyses in an existing environmental impact report; research including field measurements, qualitative interviews, document review, and qualitative analysis; an application or the healthy development measurement tool or another similar structured HIA instrument; report preparation; and communication of findings to decision-makers and other stakeholders. Individual students will be responsible for components of the class project analysis.

Component 3 – Seminar - Conclusion Application of work to US policymaking
The final component will consist of a debriefing. Students will consider the reasons for doing HIA and consider the potential of HIA as well as the needs and challenges for practice development in the US. Students will also compare and contrast their experience abroad to HIA in the US. 

Core Competencies:

  • Incorporating an evidence based framework for development of core competencies, objectives, course design, and instruction
  • Involving international agencies who are leaders in conducting HIA and have vast experience in implementing and designing HIAs
  • Providing students with an opportunity to learn-by-doing by providing a real world experience in conducting an original HIA currently being considered, designed and/or implemented by the Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation (CHETRE), University of South Wales Australia Research Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity
  • Promoting transdisciplinary problem solving by requiring students to develop and apply processes that and integrate and promote transdisciplinary perspectives, contributions, and collaborations; and define problems using shared conceptual frameworks from diverse disciplines.
  • Relating international HIA techniques and methods as well as environmental context to that in the US – allowing students to compare and contrast the use of HIA internationally.


Double occupancy rooms for all students in hotel.


This course is open to all Brown students. Students must apply via this website and the deadline is October 16, 2017. If chosen, you will be required to enroll in the course for the spring.


The cost per student is $1000. This will cover flights from Chicago (students are responsible for getting to Chicago), housing,  in-country transportation, and some meals. Students are responsible for the costs of any meals or other expenses not noted.

For questions, please contact Tammy Orahood, Director of Global Programs, Brown School, at