Conducting a Community Health Assessment
The Assessment Process
A successful strategy for combating the obesity crisis will require a collaborative effort across multiple sectors and involves policy and regulation changes at the state and local level. As mentioned previously, “community” can be defined in many different ways, by geography, culture, population or setting. Before you can set priorities as a community, you must first determine what issues you want to improve. Assessment is a crucial component of the community health planning process that provides a snapshot of the kinds of health issues currently facing the community. Community health assessments are powerful tools developed to guide in the identification of health concerns, recognition of multiple factors which affect people’s health, development of collaborative ways of working, identification of resources, and generation of ideas for community involvement and action. The true value of data is in helping define the issues, establish objectives and develop indicators for monitoring change that occurs in the community. The assessment process begins when the community group forms working groups to assess community needs.
During this step of the community planning process, key stakeholders and community members are actively involved in collecting both a combination of quantitative and qualitative data that is available within the community, state, and from various partners.