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New Resources Available to Support Community Health Improvement Efforts

Related Categories: Workforce Development

Topic: Workforce Development

Author: Kathleen Amos

Date: 3/8/2017

Community health assessments are an integral part of maximizing the use of limited resources to deliver services best matched to the needs of the community. In addition to providing valuable information for any health department, hospital, healthcare system, or other organization seeking to improve community health, regular community health assessments are a required element of achieving and maintaining Public Health Accreditation Board accreditation for health departments and of meeting Internal Revenue Service regulations for nonprofit hospitals. Engaging with the community through this systematic process helps to identify and analyze the health needs and assets present in the community, prioritize these needs, and implement a plan to address significant unmet needs – ultimately, focusing a community’s efforts around promoting health and providing a structure for doing so.
 
Community Health Assessment Toolkit
To support organizations engaged in community health improvement efforts, the Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI) has recently released a newly revised version of its Community Health Assessment Toolkit. This web-based tool offers a nine-step pathway to guide and support a robust, community-engaged health assessment process. New steps have been added to better address the full cycle from assessment through implementation, with strategies provided for each step of the process. The toolkit also highlights a wealth of resources relevant to the steps in the process, including The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) and other sources of evidence-based interventions.
 
Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a cooperative agreement with the Public Health Foundation (PHF), the updating of this toolkit is just one aspect of an ongoing pilot initiative aimed at helping hospitals use evidence-based recommendations and findings found in The Community Guide to take action and implement community health improvement activities in collaboration with health departments and other community stakeholders. A joint effort of CDC, PHF, ACHI/Health Research & Educational Trust, and the Catholic Health Association, the Using The Community Guide for Community Health Improvement initiative is using the population health driver diagram framework, developed by PHF, to help hospitals and their community partners align and implement actions to address identified population health priorities. Four hospitals are now actively testing this framework and are working with community stakeholders to address health priorities ranging from behavioral health to obesity to HIV/AIDS.
 
Using The Community Guide for Community Health Improvement Webinar
To learn more about this pilot initiative, join PHF and ACHI on Monday, May 1, 2017 from 3-4pm EDT for a webinar featuring the two communities first to join the initiative – York, PA and Oklahoma City, OK. This webinar will offer an overview of the initiative to date and highlight the stories of those participating, with representatives from WellSpan Health (PA) and INTEGRIS Health (OK) sharing their experiences with the initiative over the past year, including successes and lessons learned. In acknowledgement of their efforts through this initiative, WellSpan Health and INTEGRIS Health have both recently been honored with PHF’s Future of Population Health Award, which recognizes exemplary practice by hospitals and health systems that are collaborating with public health departments and other community partners on health improvement strategies and implementation efforts. This webinar is open to all who are interested; visit the webinar webpage for more information and to register.
 
Additional information about the Using The Community Guide for Community Health Improvement initiative is available online or by contacting Kathleen Amos at kamos@phf.org. To explore options for using a population health driver diagram in your own community, visit PHF's Performance Improvement Services or contact Margie Beaudry at mbeaudry@phf.org or 202-218-4415.

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New Resources Available to Support Community Health Improvement Efforts