Health Impact Assessment is a systematic process to determine the potential effects of a proposed policy, plan, program, or project on the health of a population and the distribution of those effects within the population.  HIA also provides recommendations on monitoring and managing these effects.  The strength of HIA rests upon 5 principles: democracy, equity, ethical use of evidence, sustainable development, and a comprehensive view of health.  By facilitating the consideration of health in short and long term decision making, KRADD expects to contribute to the regional economic development.


The Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for the Elkhorn Lake Improvement Project will inform the residents of Jenkins, the Kentucky River Area Development District, Inc. (KRADD)  40 member Board of Directors on the health impact of their policy decisions. 


Elkhorn Lake is not just a reservoir for the city’s water supply, it also impacts upon the entire health, social, and economic development of the community. Quality water is the most essential building block for an individual’s survival and a community’s ability to survive and grow.  Now the City of Jenkins plans a major upgrade to the lake, dam and surrounding park land.  The initial goal of the Elkhorn Lake Improvement Project was to improve the reservoir capacity, improve the structural integrity of the dam, and landscape around the dam and reservoir. Questioning how the Lake can improve the health and well being of the community is the additional search.

This project is supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitaable Trusts.


Our five goals for the HIA are: 

  • 1) Provide new information from a broader health perspective;

  • 2) Increase citizen participation in the planning process for the Elkhorn Lake Project,

  • 3) Develop of successful funding resources,

  • 4) Inform decision makers about the potential health impacts of public policy decisions they make as community leaders and

  • 5) Support longer term community development strategies which impact upon health.


How does the Elkhorn Lake Project possibly affect health in Jenkins?

We will likely seek answers to these questions about  health issues:

  1. Actual and perceived injury, mortality, and public safety because of dam structural improvements;

  2. Behavioral health risks associated with community stress and social isolation;

  3. Chronic disease risk factors associated with physical activity levels in Jenkins;

  4. Environmental health issues related to water quality;

  5. Better nutrition among Jenkins residents; housing quality and availability; and

  6. Improved educational attainment within Jenkins with more educational opportunities.  

  7. Moving forward we expect to see increased involvement of Jenkins community residents and KRADD in establishing a health in all policies perspective on public improvement projects.

Elkhorn Lake Dam Overtopping 2018

Jenkins Kentucky from drone flyover.
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