Community Health Assessment Practice Guidance
Different tools and approaches have been developed to assist state and local health departments in working with communities to assess health needs and develop plans to address them (e.g., Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships [MAPP], Assessment Protocol for Excellence in Public Health [APEXPH]).
North Carolina: Eight-Step Approach to Community Health Assessment (CHA)
- Establishing a CHA team
- Collecting community data
- Analyzing the county health data book
- Combining local health statistics with community data
- Reporting to the community
- Selecting health priorities
- Creating the CHA document
- Developing the community health action plan
New York: Ten-Step Approach to Community Health Assessment (CHA)
- Establishing a CHA team
- Identifying and securing resources
- Identifying and engaging community partners
- Collecting, analyzing, and presenting data
- Setting health priorities
- Clarifying the issue
- Setting goals and measuring progress
- Choosing the strategy
Washington State identified the following characteristics that are critical in making community health assessment practice an effective ingredient in achieving the goal of the local health jurisdiction (LHJ):
- Leadership and vision are essential.
- LHJ directors should have an expansive vision of public health and the role of the community in achieving it.
- Directors need to view assessment as a core function.
- The health officer must be engaged in the assessment function.
- The board of health makes a key contribution.
- The community is a powerful partner in achieving health goals.
- A community-based stakeholder group should be present and active. These groups are invested in public health concerns and bring an additional and separate voice to local public health problems. The size, structure, and composition of these groups vary — the key is that the LHJ has an active voice in addition to its own.
- Dedicated staffing makes a big difference.
- Assessment is a dedicated staff function.
- Assessment staff should have direct access to the LHJ director.
- Staff conducting assessment should have a passion for doing it.
- Staff development and training must be available.
- LHJs committed to assessment find a way to make it happen.
- Paying for assessment takes creativity and commitment.
- Directors who value assessment will find a way to pay for it.
- LHJs must move beyond traditional funding streams to pay for assessment.
- Assessment must be able to weather budget reductions.
- Access to key supports is critical, including
- Access to useful, timely data;
- Ability to take advantage of peer learning opportunities; and
- Access to technological expertise (in statistical analysis and epidemiology) and enhancements (e.g., geographic information system capability and web design and posting).