PUB-360: Community Assessment and Planning.


PUB-360: community assessment and planning course introduce the steps of public health programming implementation with an emphasis on assessment and planning. Students examine the assessment process, frameworks for community assessment, and the utility of theoretical models in planning. Along with the fundamentals of program management, students delve into strategic approaches to planning, including goal setting, process evaluation, and change management, to effectively engage communities in public health programming.

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What is community assessment?

Community assessment is the process of identifying the strengths, assets, needs, and challenges of a specified community. On the other hand, assets refer to the skills, talents, and abilities of individuals as well as the resources that local institutions contribute to the community.

A community assessment is also referred to as a needs assessment. A community assessment seeks to empower community members by permitting them to take ownership in affecting the health of their community instead of providing them with a prescription of what their community needs. On the other hand, a needs assessment is only focused on the discrepancies between what is and what should be in a given community. Therefore, this type of assessment forces a community to concentrate on its shortages and ignore what it is doing well.

A community assessment comprises of the following:

  1. An evaluation of the current situation in a community.
  2. A judgment of what the desired situation in that community would be.
  3. A comparison of the actual and desired situation for the purpose of prioritizing concerns.

What are the key principles of community assessment?

The following are the key principles of community assessment:

  • Residents are the best experts in the community in which they live.
  • All residents have skills, abilities, and talents that they can contribute to the community.
  • A strong community is built upon the talents and resources of its members.

Purpose of conducting a community assessment.

A community assessment has many functions. The following are some of it uses:

  • A community assessment helps to mobilize a community to act as it identifies and matches the skills of community members with the resources of organizations.
  • It creates a coalition action plan.
  • It helps to establish objectives for a program or intervention.
  • Select the strategies to use in a program or intervention.
  • Establish a baseline for assessing progress in the community.
  • Identify new ideas, strategies, partners and resources that can be used in working toward a common goal.

Process of conducting a community assessment.

The process of conducting a community assessment is a two-step process. These steps are:

  1. Pre-assessment and
  2. Post-assessment.

These are the general steps that form the process of conducting a community assessment:

  1. Determine the purpose and the scope of the assessment.
  2. Define the goals and objectives of the assessment.
  3. Select data collection methods to use.
  4. Select or design the necessary instruments and procedures for data collection.
  5. Pilot test the instruments and procedures.
  6. Prepare a timeline and budget.
  7. Collect the data.
  8. Analyze the data.
  9. Prepare and disseminate a report of the findings.
  10. Evaluate the assessment’s merit and worth.

Tips for Effectively Reporting a Community Assessment.

The tips to effectively reporting a community assessment include:

  • Preparing multiple reports using a variety of media.
  • Including an executive summary.
  • Keeping a logical sequence in mind while still using language that is easily understandable.
  • Highlighting the information that community members perceive as most important.
  • Recognizing restrictions and alternative explanations for the findings.
  • Keeping the information relevant, practical, credible, and understandable.

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