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Equity Working Group


Logan Harris–


The main objective of the Equity Working Group is to advance equity through HIA practice by identifying: a) barriers to incorporating equity considerations into HIA practice and ways to overcome those barriers; and b) opportunities for ensuring that equity considerations are a fundamental component of HIA. An additional objective of the working group is to disseminate the Communicating about Equity in HIA document.


Given the values of equity and democracy that HIA was founded upon, growth in the field holds promise for addressing health inequities. To achieve this, practitioners of and participants in HIAs must be vigilant and competent in ensuring that equity is central to the process of and the analysis in HIA. While most completed HIAs have addressed some elements of equity, many have room for improving the incorporation of equity in the HIA process.


At the September 2014 HIA of the Americas Workshop, the working group identified several potential joint projects and prioritized one: developing a guide for communicating about equity in HIA practice. At the 2013 Workshop, the group began work on the Equity Metrics. All equity working group resources are available on the SOPHIA website:

Discussion Topics at 2016 Practitioners Workshop

Barriers + related topics of discussion:

  • Lack of community driven HIAs due to barriers such as funding, time, and awareness along CBOs who represent people facing inequities
  • Tension between HIA as an objective process and an advocacy tool
  • HIA is often aligned with existing political priorities, looking at incremental policy change rather than larger changes
  • Policies with have the biggest impact on equity are federal level tax and benefit systems, this doesn’t necessarily relate to aforementioned issues around community engagement
  • Equity and community engagement are not equivalent
  • HIA field is still too academic/report focused, needs to put information into hands of people who will use information to make policy change


  • Leverage social movements, e.g. Black Lives Matter
  • Identify examples of HIA’s that dealt with large-scale policy change and also had robust community engagement
  • Advocacy to funders to communication and dissemination
  • Dissemination of Equity Metrics and focus on using them as a planning tool
  • Identifying HIA audiences that are broader than policy-makers

Future Actions: TBD!

The actions that workshops participants seemed the most interested in concerned disseminating and using existing tools, including the Communications Guide but especially the Equity Metrics. However, there is currently a parallel group of people in the midst of a project on the Equity Metrics. There was not enough support for other potential actions, and so we are currently in communication with workgroup members to identify a plan that probably will not revolve around the output of another “product”.

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