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Use this phase to design and conduct a community health assessment (CHA). Recommended steps will guide you and your partners through the reviewing requirements and background materials, gathering, collecting and interpreting data, engaging community and communicating results. Steps can be carried out in an order that makes the most sense for your process. The results will inform prioritization and the local public health improvement plan, driving the work on top of health concerns over the next five years.
- From Principles to Consider For Implementation of a Community Health Needs Assessment Process (June 2013), Sara Rosenbaum, JD, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Department of Health Policy.
A community health assessment is a valuable public health role and responsibility. Enjoy piecing together data and telling your community's story!
CHAPS provides guidance on meeting these requirements along with an emphasis on health equity and community engagement. Steps are in alignment with Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) Standards and Measures Version 1.5 and are continually updated to reflect best practices. Agencies seeking accreditation should visit the PHAB website to review the latest guidance and documentation requirements. Reviewing the full set of PHAB standards and measures will provide useful information throughout the development and implementation of your public health improvement plan.
For additional information and context, got to the Requirements page.
TimelineLocal and state public health agencies are also required to carry out this process on a five-year cycle. The most recent local public health improvement assessments and plans will have been completed in 2016-2019. The most recent state health assessment was completed at the end of 2018.
It's recommended that local assessments, prioritization and, if possible, completed plans be submitted prior to each statewide plan to inform the development and implementation of the state plan. Therefore, the next local public health assessments and improvement plans are due in 2024 and the state plan is due in 2025.
Community health assessment and public health improvement plan requirements for local public health agencies, public health directors and local boards of health. Use to guide entire process as well as determine capacity.
Colorado health and environmental assessments:
Colorado public health improvement plans:
Align priorities, goals, strategies and partnes where appropriate.
It is important to design and carry out a process that meets local needs and is meaningful to your agency, partners and communities. Research other assessment and planning resources to learn more about the process, access different tools and methods, or find more specific guidance on assessment and planning activities. The following resources are recommended and commonly used:
Here are two recommended examples:
Framework or model
Health Equity Approach
Data sources and methods
Existing assessments and priority issues
Assets and resources
PHAB Community health assessment requirements (1.1.2 T/L 1.a-e)
Your outline will depend on how you design your community health assessment. Contact the Office of Planning, Partnerships and Improvement to discuss any questions, data collection needs or ideas that you may have.
Ultimately, you need to ensure that you, your advisory group and partners have the knowledge, skills, relationships and resources on hand to carry out a comprehensive community health assessment to the best of your abilities.
Create data visualization maps with environmental and health indicator data.
For more on how to conduct these techniques, check out this list of recommended resources or see the Rotary International Community Assessment Tools document for helpful guidance.
Data points won't stand on their own; they need context and understanding of an issue. Remember that how you frame the data can influence the story you tell. The frame can either highlight or mask disparities in outcomes and it can either make connections to determinants of health or let the reader draw their own connections. Refer to the Office of Health Equity's Framing Data to Advance Health Equity tool for additional guidance to consider in these initial activities to summarize the assessment. This will be addressed further in Step 8.
Topics to consider for prioritizationWhile the assessment work is fresh, include a list of main topic areas to consider for prioritization. This will help you prepare for the next phase of the assessment and planning process. Work with your advisory group and interested partners to select 5-10 issues that have "risen to the top" due to their importance to community health, level of community need or window of opportunity to address.
The Office of Planning, Partnerships and Improvement public health planner will post a link to your assessment on the CHAPS website.
Communication planYou can create a communication plan to strategically think through how, when and to whom you will communicate the findings and next steps. We strongly encourage referencing Phase 2 to follow community engagement best practices in your communication. This will help you address equity issues in your community while being inclusive, culturally and linguistically appropriate in your communications style, transparent with your process and able to build trust while communicating issues that may be difficult to understand and act upon.
A communication plan may include:
Your communication process should include the following practices and activities:
Format examples include:
Examples of sharing out the CHA that communities across Colorado have used include:
Regardless of the format(s) you choose, be consistent and systematic with documenting the methods and data sources of the community health assessments so that the effort can be monitored, refreshed and replicated.