Assessment is the systematic collection, assembly, analysis, and dissemination of information about the health of a community, and is one of the core functions of public health. The 1988 Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Public Health, emphasized the importance of strengthening the core functions and identified assessment as a fundamental requirement to guide public health decision making.
To meet that need, CDC began the Assessment Initiative (AI) in 1992 in partnership with various state health departments. The AI supported the development of innovative systems and methods that improve access to health data and the way data are used to inform and guide leaders involved in planning, developing, and evaluating health policies and interventions. CDC currently funds the participation of nine states including Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Virginia.