239963 A model for collaborating among colleges and universities when conducting a community needs assessments

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kristi Lewis, PhD, MPH, CPH , Department of Health Sciences/CISAT, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Jane Hubbell, MEd , Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
The Healthy Community Council (HCC) is a community coalition composed of stakeholders representing community agencies, universities and non-profit organizations in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Virginia. The mission of the HCC is to increase quality of life for all citizens within the community. Based on recent U.S. Census data, there are approximately 120,000 residents in the community. The HCC has developed collaborative relationships with the four area colleges and universities. This partnership learning model benefits the community, faculty and students.

The learning model has been utilized when conducting the community needs assessments every five years since 1996. Data obtained from the 2000 assessment established emerging needs which generated $11 million in funding for community initiatives. HCC members, faculty and students all collaborate to identify community assets, challenges and emerging needs. Using this model, faculty and students engage in community-based participatory research and provide oversight for the assessment.

Through this learning model experience students gain insight on community health, gain knowledge in essential research methodology, receive faculty mentoring, and interface with community leaders as well as service providers. Students, with guidance from faculty members, research needed secondary data, contact study participants, assist with data management and analysis, and contribute to assessment data dissemination. Faculty members receive scholarship opportunities and venues for networking with colleagues and professionals. This presentation will address the structure, activities and outcomes of this partnership learning model. Discussion will also include how this model can be used by other universities and community organizations to develop community partnerships.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the importance of collaborating among stakeholders within a college town. 2. List the steps necessary to begin the collaborative process utilized in conducting a community health assessment. 3. Explain the need for collaboration among universities and colleges in conducting a community needs assessment.

Keywords: Collaboration, Assessments

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a member of APHA since 2004. I have a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and over 12 years of experience in public health, community health and epidemiology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.