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Community Health Needs Assessments: Engaging Community Partners to Improve Health

The Affordable Care Act requires that 501(c)(3) hospitals conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in conjunction with the communities they serve. For hospitals, health systems, and public health agencies to develop, implement, and evaluate tailored community health improvement strategies, an understanding of locally available resources and community residents’ specific health and health care needs is essential. To facilitate this understanding, this Analysis in Brief explores aspects of AAMC-member hospitals’ conduct of their CHNAs. Survey results indicate that at 83 percent of responding institutions, a senior leader such as a CEO, CMO, VP, or comparable position, played a significant role in CHNA development and implementation. Results also show that AAMC-member hospitals engaged community members in various ways to understand better local needs and assets.  Seventy percent or more of the CHNAs reviewed prioritized access to medical care, mental health, and obesity as important community health needs (Table 1). Given the impact of the social determinants of health on the well-being of a community and the magnitude and seeming intransigence of health and health care inequities in the United States, engaging with communities to identify and intervene on salient health needs is crucial for academic medical centers and their partners to continue to move toward health and health care equity.

Supplemental Information

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