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Reviewing SelfReported Impacts of Community Health Assessment in Local Health Jurisdictions

Spice, Christie MPH; Snyder, Karen PhD, MPH

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: January/February 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 1 - p 18–23
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181903c57
Tools for Evaluating the Impacts of Community Health Assessments

Background: Nationally, little is known about the characteristics of community health assessment (CHA) that contribute to the use of CHA findings in public health program and policy decisions.

Methods: To begin identifying these characteristics, the Washington State Department of Health partnered with local health jurisdictions to establish an on-line system for reporting the impacts of CHA projects (eg, use of a CHA to identify health priorities, create an action plan, form a partnership, or develop or modify a health strategy, program, or service). A qualitative review was conducted of 90 reports of CHA impacts submitted by local health jurisdictions.

Findings: Common characteristics of CHAs with reported impacts include (1) a focus on a specific subpopulation or health topic; (2) involvement of community and public health agency stakeholders in planning and conducting the CHA; (3) use of multiple data collection methods, sources of data, and approaches to dissemination; and (4) primary data collection at the local level.

Conclusions: Although the Washington State CHA Impact Tracking System is an important first step toward understanding characteristics of CHA connected to the use of the results, additional studies are needed to identify evidence-based practices in this field.

This article reviews the Washington State Department of Health partnership with local health jurisdictions (LHJs) to establish an on-line system for reporting impacts of community health assessment in LHJs.

Christie Spice, MPH, is Community Assessment Liaison, Washington State Department of Health, Olympia.

Karen Snyder, PhD, MPH, is Social Research Scientist, Public Health—Seattle and King County, Seattle, Washington.

Corresponding Author: Christie Spice, MPH, Washington State Department of Health, PO Box 47812, Olympia, WA 98504 (christie.spice@doh.wa.gov).

Disclaimer: This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Assessment Initiative (award no. U82/CCU022378). The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the following individuals: Barbara Baker, MPH, formerly Public Health—Seattle and King County; Buffi LaDue, PhD, MPH, Washington State Department of Health; Carrie McLachlan, MPA, Island County Health Department; Melanie Payne, MPH, Clark County Public Health; Michael Sanchez, MPH, formerly Washington State Department of Health; David Solet, PhD, Public Health—Seattle and King County; and Lyndia Tye, MS, Spokane Regional Health District.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.