The Statewide Health Promotion Program supports community-based programs that improve the health of North Carolinians by reducing the incidence of chronic diseases. Funds are distributed to health promotion programs in local health departments throughout the state to work with community partners in creating policy changes and environmental supports addressing at least one of the three major chronic disease risk factors in physical inactivity, poor diet, and tobacco use.
WHAT IS A COMMUNITY HEALTH ASSESSMENT?
A Community Health Assessment (CHA) helps community members understand local health concerns. Community members identify, collect, analyze, and distribute information related to health assets, strengths, resources, and needs. A CHA concludes with a report or a presentation that includes information about the current health of the community and about the capacity to improve the lives of residents in the future. A CHA provides the basis for discussion and action.
WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLETING THE CHA?
Most communities include people from the local Healthy Carolinians partnerships, public health department, local healthcare providers, hospitals, businesses, civic leaders, educators, social service workers, elected officials, and concerned community members. Every citizen is a potential partner!
Working together, the above partners can begin to answer key questions such as:
- “What are the strengths in our community?”
- “What health concerns do community members have?”
- “What resources are available?”
- “What do we need in the community to address these concerns?”
Community members take the lead role in forming partnerships, gathering health-related data, determining priority health issues, identifying resources, and planning programs. The process starts with the people who live in the community and gives the community primary responsibility for determining the focus of assessment activities at every level, including:
- Collection and interpretation of data
- Evaluation of health resources
- Identification of health problems
- Development of strategies for addressing these problems
HOW CAN A CHA IMPROVE THE COMMUNITY’S HEALTH?
Communities often have to make critical decisions without adequate information. Examples include where to locate new health clinics, how to attract new industry, or how to position the community for future growth. CHA’s help concerned citizens answer questions like:
- What is important to the community?
- How do people like living in the community?
- What would citizens like to see changed?
- How have they been successful at meeting challenges in the past?
- Who are important contributors in efforts to improve the community’s health?
- What do they see as the greatest obstacles to good health?
HOW CAN YOUR COMMUNITY USE THE CHA?
Once the CHA is completed, there are many things the community can do with the information. The CHA is the first of many actions to improve the health of the community. The value of an assessment is in its use, enabling partners to:
- Share a greater knowledge and understanding of the community as it is today
- Publish and make available the results of the assessment to the community
- Provide facts upon which to base programmatic or organizational decisions
- Plan effective, collaborative interventions to promote better health
- Provide invaluable statistics when seeking funding
- Advocate for policy change with legislators, county government, and others
- Provide a baseline by which to monitor changes
- Develop resources
- Market the community
- Inform citizens and empower them to act
- Build partnerships/coalitions
- Identify emerging issues
To view a copy of the:
State of the County Health Report
The State of the County Health (SOTCH) Report is an annual report required by the NC Division of Public Health from all local health departments during non-CHA years. It provides updated health statistics and information about priority health issues.
The SOTCH Report tracks progress on priority issues identified in the CHA, identifies emerging issues, and highlights new initiatives.
The SOTCH Report includes:
- A review of major disease/illness/injury and death statistics for the county
- A review of the health concerns selected as priorities
- Progress made in the last year on these priorities
- A review of any changes in the data that guided the selection of these priorities
- Other changes in the county that affect health concerns (such as economic and/or political changes, new funds available to address health problems)
- New and emerging issues that affect health status
- Ways community members can get involved with ongoing efforts