At Community Health Solutions we have extensive experience in helping communities define and address local health needs. The community may include people in specific neighborhoods, cities, counties, regions, or population groups. The improvement aims may include dimensions of health promotion, prevention, clinical care, and social factors in health. The stakeholders may include health service providers, public health agencies, employers, schools, grant makers, consumer groups, and other community-based organizations. Whatever the focus, we help people assess needs, analyze assets, design strategies, build capacity, optimize performance, and demonstrate value.
Assess Community Needs
The best assessments are designed to spark action. This means going beyond the usual dashboard-type indicators to more deeply understand community needs and community potential all the way down to the neighborhood level. We help organizations and communities:
- Define the strategic focus of the needs assessment
- Analyze community indicators
- Generate community insights
- Identify pressing health concerns, service gaps, and vulnerable populations
- Examine social determinants and health disparities
- Identify assets that can be mobilized to support health improvement
- Map local variation in health and related factors
- Produce reports and data portals that can be used to spark community action and meet external requirements.
Analyze Community Assets
Research shows that people have a better opportunity for health when they have particular health assets available. One of the most empowering things we can do to support community health improvement is to help vulnerable populations strengthen their health assets. Community Health Solutions developed Community Asset Analysis to address this challenge. We help organizations and communities:
- Identify health asset gaps for individuals and populations.
- Address health asset gaps by connecting population members to existing community services and supports.
- Create or enhance community assets as needed to meet the needs of the population.
- Sustain access to community health assets through innovative service models, funding models, and policies.
Design Community Strategies
Community assessments are only valuable if they drive community strategies. At Community Health Solutions we help organizations and communities develop strategies that are evidence-based and responsive to community needs and interests. We help our organizations and communities:
- Identify and engage key community stakeholders
- Define areas of mutual interests for strategy development
- Identify assets that can be leveraged through collaborative strategies
- Design strategies that are evidence-based and responsive to community needs
- Produce focused analytics that make the case for action and funding
- Develop evaluation plans that support learning and accountability.
Develop Community Capacity
Community strategies require community partners that are equipped with the knowledge, skills, resources, and structures necessary to achieve the project objectives. Community Health Solutions provides a proven framework for supporting community capacity building through our Action Learning supports. We help organizations and communities:
- Define learning needs
- Design learning strategies
- Deliver collaborative learning programs
- Assure that learning is directly linked to program performance
- Facilitate continuing education credits for learning programs where appropriate.
Optimize Project Performance
Community strategies typically require ongoing performance support after initial startup. Performance support may involve ongoing training and technical assistance as well as formative evaluation to make sure the initiative is achieving its intended goals. We help our organizations and communities:
- Define key performance indicators
- Develop efficient reporting methods
- Learn and adjust in response to performance measures
- Sustain performance as conditions change and personnel come and go
- Engage in collaborative performance improvement through use of a Health Learning Network.
Demonstrate Community Value
Private funders and public officials are demanding value in return for their resource investments. By value they typically mean demonstrable evidence of good performance relative to cost for the community initiative. Community Health Solutions has developed Community Value Analysis as a special approach to program evaluation that is focused on measuring the value a community organization or program delivers in return for the resources it receives. We help organizations and communities:
- Define the value expectations of key stakeholders
- Define the value they can deliver to key stakeholders
- Design methods for measuring and reporting on value
- Develop capacities (knowledge, skills, processes) for measuring and communicating value
- Compare community value to community investment to provide an overall assessment that helps make the case for sustainable support.