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Community Health Assessment: Finding the Information You Need

Originally presented on March 3, 2011

Mike Medvesky
Retired Director of the Public Health Information Group, New York State Department of Health

"The Future of Public Health," The Institute of Medicine's landmark 1988 report, identified assessment as one of the three core public health functions. "Monitor Health Status to Identify Community Health Problems" and "Diagnose and Investigate Health Problems and Health Hazards in the Community" were identified as two of the ten essential public health services by the Public Health Functions Steering Committee in its 1994 "Public Health in America" report.

New York State's local health departments and other health and community based organizations assess the health of their communities on a regular basis. In addition, New York's local health departments and hospitals are required to assess their localities' health needs and develop Community Health Assessments and Community Service Plans on a periodic basis.

With shrinking resources available to implement programs and interventions, it is important that assessments accurately identify the major issues of concern, the populations at risk, and the interventions that will have a positive effect on the health of the population.

The NYSDOH has been working to make public health data and information available to assist with surveillance and assessment activities via its public website. The program will discuss the types and sources of health data available on the DOH Public Website, focusing on the "Data and Statistics," the "Community Health Assessment Clearinghouse," and the "Prevention Agenda" sites. In addition, other useful data and information sites at the state and national levels will be presented.

Learning Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe the purpose of the Community Health Assessment process.
  • Identify the types of data/information available from the "Data and Statistics," "Community Health Assessment Clearinghouse," and the "Prevention Agenda" sites of the NYSDOH website, as well as other useful state and national websites.
  • Identify other useful state and national websites that provide relevant data and information for community assessment purposes.