Community Health Assessments

What is a Community Health Assessment (CHA)?

Primary data collection using mobile technology

Primary data collection using mobile technology

A community health assessment is a process that uses quantitative and qualitative methods to systematically collect and analyze data to understand health within a specific community. An ideal assessment includes information on risk factors, quality of life, mortality, morbidity, community assets, forces of change, social determinants of health and health inequity, and  essential services. At best, the community health assessment process engages partners, informs decision-making, helps you prioritize issues, and galvanizes the community to take mutually reinforcing action.

–NACCHO’s Definition of an Ideal CHA

Why are CHAs important now?

Conducting CHAs is a vital activity in the life of local health departments, public hospitals and other community-based organizations. Changes in the health and healthcare environment make a solid CHA process more important than ever, and new reporting rules make it easier for public health and healthcare partners to work together.

The CHA process impacts public health accreditation and aids non-profit hospitals with IRS reporting requirements. More importantly, the CHA process uncovers community assets and helps communities address health priorities with mutually reinforcing actions.

Our experience

Since its inception, NCIPH has partnered with local health departments to conduct CHAs. With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, NCIPH has expanded its technical assistance to assist hospitals and Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers in meeting their assessment requirements. Since 2010, NCIPH has provided training and technical assistance to NC local health departments for more than 17 CHAs projects in 23 counties, including 5 projects working closely in collaboration with hospital and Federally Qualified Healthcare Center partners.

NCIPH also participates with the North Carolina Hospital Association and NC Division of Public Health in the North Carolina Community Health Improvement Coalition (NC-CHIC). NC-CHIC explores best practices and models for improving Affordable Care Act implementation including conducting collaborative CHAs among local public health agencies, hospitals and other community stakeholders. In 2013, NCIPH convened a statewide learning congress to share lessons learned from five local CHA/Community Health Improvement partnerships representing a variety of jurisdictions across North Carolina. The Community Health Assessment and Improvement Toolkit was one of the results of this learning congress.

Does your organization need help with CHAs?

NCIPH can provide technical assistance and flexible training options to complete CHAs in time and within budget.

Basic Services:
Mid-level Services:
Full Services:
  • Committee facilitation
  • Primary and secondary data collection and analysis, noted above
  • Assistance with community forum presentation and facilitation
  • Action planning
  • Development of reports
  • Example: Wake County Community Health Assessment, 2013

If you are interested in NCIPH’s services, please send email to Matt Simon at mattsimon@unc.edu for more information.