It’s not JUST another Community Health Assessment…

In case you missed us at the National Association of County and City Officials (NACCHO) Annual Conference in Denver in July where we presented an Educational Learning Session: Changing the Perspective in Community Health.

We heard you! We will share our journey at Ascendant Healthcare Partners from MAPP to MAPP 2.0. I will also highlight valuable information that is being collected as part of the new framework as well as how your community’s story has evolved.

The first change is the name from Community Health Assessment (CHA) to the Community “Health” Needs Assessment (CHNA).

As you know, the public health view is changing. We, at Ascendant Healthcare Partners’ use the phrase “from portrait to landscape” as the view that has changed is our perspective on how information is collected and informed. Meaning, we are not just collecting data, we are recognizing and honoring that each community is different which results in your community story.

Storytelling is the most important and significant change within the new process. In understanding our community, we start to peel the onion, layer by layer. Each layer, or assessment provides qualitative and quantitative data collection – but the discovery of “the meaning” is what lies beneath the layer of just “data”.

Something to consider, during the COVID-19 pandemic the utilization of the community network or Local Public Health System (LPHS) was utilized, modified, and improved due to the multiple facets and ever-changing mandates, regulation, and protection of its citizens.

Each family and individual were affected, according to Coronavirus Data | US News Healthiest Communities. This was also evidenced in the 2023 Measures | County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. Nationally, as well as at State and County levels, the pandemic has affected the public’s mental health and well-being in a variety of ways, including through isolation and loneliness, job loss and financial instability, and illness and grief.

Your health department met on a regular basis with innovative ideas and as a result, new partnerships and relationships were formed as well as new policies to support and protect the community. The health department was thriving on adrenaline in utilizing all their tools in the provision of vaccines as well as developing a collaborative impact.

So why am I talking about COVID-19, it is because everyone was affected. The pandemic showed us what we need to change the most.

MAPP 2.0 provides the tools to tell the community story and to peel the onion and connect. Ascendant Healthcare Partners has worked with several communities to publish five MAPP 2.0 CHNAs.

The CHNAs now have three distinct components, each assessment has at least two components to better understand the community – one looks at the perception, and the second looks at the reported data-collection. With understanding both perception and reality the new MAPP 2.0 changes us from mere data collection to being the Community Storyteller: the story of the community, the story of now, and the story of us.

The new process and perspective also allow us to explore additional funding opportunities to complete the CHNA as each assessment will also inform the community on its vulnerability of access to health resources, otherwise known as health equity. This identifies and provides opportunities for residents based on their needs. An opportunity for CHNA funding may exist in your State’s Office of Minority Health.