Health in All Policies (HiAP)

Does a Health in All Policies approach improve health, well-being and equity?

The Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, in collaboration with SA Health and other South Australian, interstate and international investigators, is undertaking research to examine a policy initiative that is intended to stimulate inter-sectoral action to address social determinants of health. This research will examine the adoption and implementation of the policy initiative, which is called Health in All Policies (HiAP), to determine its effectiveness in motivating action across sectors to improve population health and health equity. This project is funded by the NHMRC until 2016.

Research Forum 2013

The first Research Forum for the NHMRC funded project ‘Does a Health in All Policies approach improve health, well-being and equity?’ was held on Tuesday 10th December 2013. This project is examining the adoption and implementation of a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach in South Australia. The Forum was well attended by public servants, academics, students and staff from community based organisations. Read more

Research Overview

The social determinants of health are a key policy focus for governments seeking to improve population health and curb burgeoning health care budgets. Since 2008 the South Australian (SA) Government has developed and implemented a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach to the development of healthy public policy. This research project is examining the adoption and implementation of a HiAP approach to determine its effectiveness. To do this the project is developing methodological and theoretical tools to meet the complex challenges of evaluating and better understanding complex policy processes. The project comprises both retrospective analysis of the development of the SA HiAP approach, and prospective, theory driven action research on the ongoing implementation of HiAP.

Research questions

  • To what extent is the SA HiAP approach an effective method of building healthy public policy in order to modify the determinants of population health, well-being and health equity?
  • To what extent does the application of policy agenda setting and implementation theory explain the strengths and weakness of the HiAP model as a means of bringing about action on the determinants of health, well-being and health equity across sectors of government?
  • How effective is the combination of a program logic and action research as a framework for determining the impact of a complex multi-sectoral policy initiative on population health?


Methodological Approach

This project is using mixed methods to collect and triangulate data across the spectrum of expected HiAP activity.

Stage 1: Building HiAP program theory

The first stage of the research involves using theory and local knowledge to document a program logic framework for HiAP. The underpinning theory will be developed and articulated by bringing together locally developed theory drawn from history, experience and intuition of key stakeholders and relevant academic literature.

Stage 2: Testing HiAP program theory: Examining HiAP in Action

The second stage involves testing and refinement of the theories developed in Stage 1 through an examination of HiAP processes in action. A sample of policy projects that HiAP has been involved in will be selected for assessment. Eight policy projects will be examined over the first two years of the study.

Methods for assessing each of the policy projects will comprise of workshops with key stakeholders, in-depth interviews and document analysis. Special attention will be paid to examining impacts on Indigenous health.

Stage 3: Developing Generalisable Knowledge

The third stage involves broader reflections of the findings of the project to consider:

  • potential improvements to HiAP processes;
  • what the findings contribute to knowledge about how policy can influence social determinants of health;
  • what the findings contribute to understanding about inter-sectoral action for health promotion, including in the area of Indigenous health; and
  • what the methods contribute to the field of health policy research.


  • Technical Paper for World Health Organisation, written for the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion, June 2013, Helsinki
  • Baum F, Lawless A, Delany T, MacDougall C, Williams C, Broderick D, Wildgoose D, Harris E, McDermott D, Kickbusch I, Popay J and Marmot M (2014) Evaluation of Health in All Policies: concept, theory and application, Health Promotion International, 29:1 DOI:10.1093/heapro/dau032
  • Delany T, Harris P, Williams C, Harris E, Baum F, Lawless A, Wildgoose D, Haigh F, MacDougall C, Broderick D and Kickbusch Ilona (2014) Health Impact Assessment in New South Wales & Health in All Policies in South Australia: differences, similarities, and connections, BMC Public Health, 14:699 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-699
  • Creating a burden of evidence to consider the impact of Health in All Policies: A program logic approach, written for the International Political Science Association World Congress, July 2014, Montreal

Chief Investigators

Professor Fran Baum, Southgate Institute for Health Society & Equity, Flinders University     Profile

Dr Elizabeth Harris, Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales     Profile
Professor Ilona Kickbusch, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva     Profile
Associate Prof Colin MacDougall, Public Health, School of Medicine, Flinders University Profile
Professor Dennis McDermott, Poche Chair, Flinders Aboriginal Health Research Unit, Flinders University     Profile
Dr Angela Lawless, Southgate Institute for Health Society and Equity Profile

Associate Investigators

  • Mr Danny Broderick, SA Health, Government of South Australia
  • Dr Kevin Buckett, SA Health, Government of South Australia
  • Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London   
  • Ms Sandy Pitcher, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Government of South Australia
  • Professor Jennie Popay, Institute for Health Research, Lancaster University   
  • Mr Andrew Stanley, SA NT DataLink, University of South Australia     Profile
  • Ms Carmel Williams, SA Health, Government of South Australia
  • Ms Deborah Wildgoose, SA Health, Government of South Australia

Project Manager

  • Dr Toni Delany, Southgate Institute for Health Society & Equity, Flinders University     Profile

Research Assistant

  • Dr Laura Jones, Southgate Institute for Health Society & Equity, Flinders University     Profile