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Community Assessment

Tools and Resources for Community Assessments

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Local public health authority Community Health Assessments (CHA)

Many local public health authorities are pursuing accreditation through the Public Health Advisory Board. Public health accreditation requires health departments to complete a Community Health Assessment (CHA) and a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). 

The Community Assessment Tool - "Healthy Communities: Building Capacity"

This Community Assessment tool was designed for counties participating in the "Healthy Communities: Building Capacity" program (2008-2011) and their Community Health Advisory Councils. Read the program report (pdf). This assessment process was used to create a foundation to guide the rest of the Healthy Communities process and identify priorities for county work plans.

The assessment tool is organized by settings according to the Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Framework. Questions address county demographics, community assets, health disparities, environmental conditions, community champions, media, and policy. Key topics integrated throughout the assessment support tobacco-free lifestyles, active living, healthy eating, and chronic disease self-management.

Download the full assessment (doc)

Oregon Public Health Assessment Tool (OPHAT)

OPHAT is a web-based tool that accesses, analyzes and displays public health data for community health assessments. OPHAT is free to all Oregon public health agencies as well as hospitals and CCOs engaged in community health assessment. To set up an OPHAT user account or arrange webinar-based training, email

Health Impact Assessments

  • Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation (CHANGE) Tool
    Developed by CDC's Healthy Communities Program, this tool provides community leaders with a snapshot of local policy, systems, and environmental change strategies currently in place in their community and identifies areas where such health strategies are lacking.  CHANGE assists communities in defining and prioritizing areas for improvement while measuring incremental changes and progress. 
  • Michigan Healthy Community Checklist
    The Healthy Community Checklist is a 40-item online quick assessment of a community's health environment related to promoting and supporting physical activity, healthy eating/healthy weight, and tobacco-free lifestyles.  Michigan has also developed more detailed checklists for healthy worksites, promoting physical activity, healthy schools, and smokefree environments. 
  • Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP)
    MAPP is a community-driven strategic planning tool for improving community health. Facilitated by public health leaders, this tool helps communities apply strategic thinking to prioritize public health issues and identify resources to address them. MAPP is an interactive process that can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately the performance of local public health systems.
  • Measures of the Food Environment
    The National Cancer Institute maintains a list of community-level tools that measure the food environment (including food stores, restaurants, schools and worksites).
  • Healthy Development Measurement Tool (HDMT)
    Developed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the HDMT is a comprehensive evaluation metric to consider health needs in urban development plans and projects.  The HDMT explicitly connects public health to urban development planning in efforts to achieve a higher quality social and physical environment that advances health. 
  • Walkability and Bikeability Checklists
    These Checklists give insight into the walkability or bikeability of a neighborhood. They contain insightful questions, allowing the user to evaluate a neighborhood's walkability or bikeability. In addition to the questions, the Checklists provide both immediate answers and long-term solutions to a neighborhood's potential problems.

Health Impact Assessment is "a combination of procedures, methods, and tools by which a policy, program, or project may be judged as to its potential effects on the health of a population, and the distribution of those effects within the population."

The Oregon Public Health Division's Health Impact Assessment initiative focuses on building our collective capacity to evaluate the health effects of projects and policies, and to provide the information to decision makers.

Other Assessment Tools

Many other states, national agencies, and non-profits have developed assessment tools. The following tools are those most relevant to the priorities outlined in the Framework (pdf).