PHN 652 What techniques can be used in conducting a community health needs assessment?

PHN 652 What techniques can be used in conducting a community health needs assessment?

PHN 652 What techniques can be used in conducting a community health needs assessment?

Community health assessment is a vital practice that helps the nation understand the state of health across its population. The government made it a mandatory activity that the concerned stakeholders should conduct every three years (Becker, 2014). The activity has all the elements of health research, meaning that the techniques of data collection are applicable here. According to Becker (2014), surveys and interviews are among the techniques that serve the purpose. Surveys can take the form of questionnaires where participants answer specific questions. This technique provides the most comprehensive picture of community needs because of the capacity to collect large amounts of data. Beyond that, interviews are also effective in understanding the needs of communities. Public health professionals can conduct interviews with chosen entities or individuals to ascertain the issues they are facing. RHI Hub (n.d.) suggests that these techniques can use individuals or bodies within the community to collect the necessary data to facilitate the assessment. Focus groups can also serve as the appropriate technique. In addition to community meetings and observations, these techniques can provide an excellent insight into community health problems (RHI hub, n.d.). All these methods facilitate excellent data collection. However, I feel surveys to be more effective because of their objectivity. In most cases, surveys relate to quantitative research, which focuses on acquiring factual instead of anecdotal evidence. Besides, the technique allows the inclusion of a large sample size, which is necessary when dealing with issues affecting an entire community. These qualities allow generalization because public health researchers cannot assess the health needs of every individual in a chosen community. Having said that, interviews and focus groups can complement the techniques by providing opinions from members of the public concerning the issues affecting their health. Overall, the aim of the assessment can determine the choice of the best techniques to be utilized.


Becker, K. L. (2015). Conducting community health needs assessments in rural communities: Lessons learned. Health Promotion Practice16(1), 15-19.

RHI Hub. (n.d.). Conduct a needs assessment. Retrieved August 18, 2022, from,

Assessment (CHNA) or also known as Community Health Assessment (CHA) is a health assessment used in local, state, tribal and territorial that determine the key health needs and problems through an organized comprehensive gathering of data and analysis. It used different principles that influence the improvement of health of the community such as “maximum transparency to improve community engagement and accountability” and “use of evidence-based interventions and encouragement of innovative practices with thorough evaluation”. There are different tools to assist in community health needs assessment. One of these tools is Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation (CHANGE). CHANGE tools is utilized in all communities interested in creating social and built environments that support healthy living (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). It has eight action steps that were suggested to successfully attain the goal of this tool. It is also essential in helping communities determine and monitor important policy, systems, and environmental changes over time.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Assessment & planning models, frameworks & tools. Retrieved from

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Community health assessment and health improvement plans. Retrieved from

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Developing a plan for identifying local needs and resources can help changemakers understand how to improve their communities in the most logical and efficient ways possible. Community Health Assessment will include a combination of primary data that you collect yourself and secondary data that comes from other sources, such as the local health department, (ACHI, 2022). Community assessment begins with the collection of existing data (secondary data). People, place, and function are the foundational dimensions of a community and need to be defined as part of the assessment process.

PHN 652 What techniques can be used in conducting a community health needs assessment
PHN 652 What techniques can be used in conducting a community health needs assessment

There are four community health assessments model that can be used. The Health Impact Assessment (HIA), outcome is to provide recommendations to minimize negative health impacts and monitor results. Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership (MAPP) is a strategic planning process that public health agencies lead. Participation of the community and agencies is a major focus. Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation (CHANGE), gather organized data about the community and monitor changes over time annually in community health, health care, schools, and work site. Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is a guideline for safety net hospitals to assess the communities they serve. Provide data on priority health problems for valuable people, (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2018).

The Windshield survey technique is a great way to assess the community from head to toe. This survey provides a quick overview of the community and can be used along with photographs, and interviews to get a general overall sense of the community, (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2018).  This can be the first step to identifying the community trends, stability, (housing quality, Rhythm of the community life, characteristics of the people), and changes that all serve to gather data and the health of the community. This is just one part of the longer more complex comprehensive community assessment, like CHNA.


ACHI. (2022). Community Health Assessment Toolkit.

Stanhope, M. & Lancaster, J. (2019). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community (10th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier. ISBN-13: 9780323582247    

A community health needs assessment is a process that involves scrutinizing change strategies implemented in a community and identifying community health needs and areas of improvement (Childs et al., 2022). In essence, a community needs assessment is the starting point of identifying assets, resources, and strengths available to resolve community issues and meet health needs. Community health needs assessments also provide insights into policy formulation, enforcement, and evaluation. Community assessment frameworks prioritize health issues and engage the community in developing health improvement plans and evaluating the process and outcomes. The main outcomes of community need assessment include policy, system, and environmental change (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). Techniques used in conducting a community health needs assessment include the Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI), Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP), and the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). ACHI is a nine-step toolkit that guides planning, leading, and using community health needs assessments. MAPP framework guides the improvement of community health at the local level. SHIP framework focuses on state health. MAPP and SHIP techniques emphasize community engagement in planning interventions to address community needs (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). These frameworks guide public health nurses in implementing and evaluating health improvement programs.

The most effective technique is ACHI. The rationale is that this framework focuses on partnerships and collaboration in identifying and addressing community health needs. ACHI involves reflection on previous community health needs assessment processes and the development of strategies to improve the process (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). The framework guides public health nurses to identify and engage stakeholders, define communities of interest, collect and analyze data, document results and develop implementation strategies. Nurses implement change interventions and evaluate the progress of the community interventions to improve community health. Community health needs assessment techniques to promote successful health promotion.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Assessment & Planning Models, Frameworks & Tools

Childs, Elisa M., and Washington, Tiffany R. (2022) “Perception of Health Care   Access in Rural Georgia: Findings From a Community Health Needs  Assessment Survey,” Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association: Vol. 8: No. 3, Article 9. DOI: 10.20429/jgpha.2022.080309

Health needs assessment is a process of determining the health and health care needs of any given population or sub-group in an area. It is a complex task requiring epidemiological expertise, the ability to work across organizational boundaries as well as an understanding of, and an ability to engage with all appropriate population groups. The health needs assessment process needs to take account of the diversity within these populations (Bani, 2008).

Needs assessments serve as incredibly powerful tools for decision making, resource allocation, and ultimately reaching programmatic goals. They can be utilized across a range of settings to shed light on a variety of topics, such as what programmatic actions should be taken to improve breastfeeding rates in a hospital or increase kindergarten readiness across a state. It is important to conduct needs assessment at the onset of the project, so that programs are appropriately tailored to the individuals and communities to serve (Seven Steps for Conducting a Successful Needs Assessment, 2022).

The techniques include: (1) Surveys are a particular form of data collection utilized during the needs assessment process. Types of surveys commonly applied are person-to-person interviews, drop-off and pick-up questionnaires, mail questionnaires and telephone interviews. (2) Focus groups are public meetings for invited people to express opinions about problems and needs. (3) Organizational planning which involves creating a to-do list for an organization, it lists the plan of work, programs and organizational growth over a period of time. (4) Program evaluation carefully collects information about a program or an aspect of a program in order to make necessary decisions about the program. (5) Strategic Planning is a systematic process through which an organization agrees on and builds commitment among key stakeholders to priorities which are essential to its mission and responsive to the operating environment (Brunson, n.d.). I feel Survey is the most effective technique because it tends to include a larger sample size and people tend to be honest. People also tend to give accurate information when filling in surveys without bias. Surveys can give detailed information.


Bani, I. A. (2008, January). Health needs assessment. Retrieved from

Brunson, T. T. (n.d.). Community Needs Assessments. Retrieved from

Seven Steps for Conducting a Successful Needs Assessment. (2022, August 03). Retrieved from

A Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is a methodical process that engages the community in identifying and examining community health needs. CHNA provides a means for communities to prioritize health needs and to plan and take action to meet community health needs. It describes the local people’s state of health and helps identify the major risk factors and causes of disease in a community. In addition, it helps to identify the actions needed to address the risk factors (Livergant et al., 2021). Various techniques are used in conducting CHNA, including stakeholder meetings, community focus groups, surveys, interviews with community leaders, and population health and health-related data.

Community focus groups is the most effective technique in CHNA. A focus group is a small-group discussion steered by a trained facilitator. It is employed when the public health officer wants to learn about opinions on a selected topic and to guide future action (Khunti et al., 2021). The group’s structure and the discussion are thoughtfully planned to create a non-threatening environment where individuals are free to talk candidly. Besides, the facilitator encourages the group members to express their opinions. Focus groups are effective because they are structured, directed, and expressive and thus can bring in a lot of information in a short period (Stoto et al., 2019). Furthermore, they can help the public health nurse (PHN) to gain more insight into the community’s opinions and needs.

Focus groups are further effective because the responses are usually spoken, open-ended, comparatively broad, and qualitative. The responses have more depth, degree, and variety than surveys. The facilitator can also observe the participants’ nonverbal communications and interactions, which provide more information on the topic (Khunti et al., 2021). Therefore, the PHN facilitating focus groups can get closer to what the participants think and feel, although their responses may be difficult to rate on a scale.


Khunti, K., Griffin, S., Brennan, A., Dallosso, H., Davies, M., Eborall, H., … & Yates, T. (2021). Qualitative substudy: focus groups/interviews with educators and participants. In Behavioural interventions to promote physical activity in a multiethnic population at high risk of diabetes: PROPELS three-arm RCT. NIHR Journals Library.

Livergant, R. J., Ludlow, N. C., & McBrien, K. A. (2021). Needs assessment for the creation of a community of practice in a community health navigator cohort. BMC health services research21(1), 657.

Stoto, M. A., Davis, M. V., & Atkins, A. (2019). Making Better Use of Population Health Data for Community Health Needs Assessments. EGEMS (Washington, DC)7(1), 44.