142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Environmental scan: A planning tool for high-impact community health assessments to meet public health accreditation standards

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 2:30 PM - 2:50 PM

Rebekah Marshall, MPH , Epidemiology and Preparedness, Denver Public Health, Denver, CO
Emily McCormick, MPH , Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Preparedness, Denver Public Health Department, Denver, CO
Arthur Davidson, MD , Public Health Informatics, Denver Public Health, Denver, CO
Michele Shimomura, MS, MPH , Department of Environmental Health, City and County of Denver, Denver, CO
Bill Burman, MD , Denver Public Health, Denver, CO
Background: Community Health Assessments (CHA) provide a foundation for public health planning and evaluation to improve health outcomes for a jurisdiction, and are crucial to achieving public health accreditation. Denver’s initial CHA was completed in 2008 and is updated every three years. In preparation for the 2014 CHA, an environmental scan was completed to identify best practices, prioritize health information, and incorporate novel techniques for sharing health data with the public.

Methods: The environmental scan consisted of a systematic review of CHAs and similar health status reports from public health agencies, and key informant interviews with representatives from 15 multi-sectorial organizations throughout the Denver metro-area comprised of end users and public health professionals with experience conducting CHAs. The environmental scan served as mechanism to garner feedback regarding the 2011 Denver CHA, compile suggested improvements from end users, define expectations and recommendations for the 2014 CHA, and delineate best practice strategies for completing CHAs. Additionally, community member interviews were conducted to increase the utility of the 2014 CHA and enhance awareness of public health accreditation.

Results: Qualitative data analysis findings suggest the need to clearly define intended audiences, differentiate aspects of the assessment to produce meaningful information for various segments of the community, and incorporate marketing strategies to maximize the utility of CHAs. Place-based analysis should include neighborhood specific data to inform community organizations, while health data by city council district should be presented to local governmental authorities. The scan also yielded the necessity to demonstrate the impact of social determinants on health outcomes, and to formulate CHA findings into actionable items for end users.

Conclusion: Thoughtful prioritization promotes the efficient application of resources and contributes to effective CHAs. A comprehensive environmental scan incorporating community input serves as a planning tool for accomplishing high-impact CHAs and meeting accreditation standards.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe three benefits of incorporating an environmental scan into the community health assessment process to accomplish public health accreditation requirements.

Keyword(s): Community Health Assessment, Accreditation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator for the 2014 Denver community health assessment environmental scan. My scientific interests include conducting high-impact community health assessments and facilitating public health accreditation requirements to effectively and efficiently meet accreditation standards.
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.