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Community Health Assessments and Continuous Quality Improvement

Part 1

In its report “The Future of Public Health,” the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (1988) recognizes assessments of community health status and community health needs as a core public health function. The course textbook states that some of the goals of community health assessment are to evaluate health status, identify community health needs, identify strengths and weaknesses of a community’s health systems, recommend strategies to address community health needs, and locate existing or needed resources to meet identified needs.

Read the report and based on it, respond to the following questions in relation to the role of community members:

  • What role or roles should community members have in a community needs assessment? Justify your answer.
  • What are some strategies for engaging community members?

Public health agencies use data to identify health problems, establish and track health objectives, and assess the effectiveness of policies, programs, and services.

Respond to the following questions in relation to community needs assessment:

  • Which key factors are important to consider when gathering and presenting data for a community needs assessment?
  • When presenting data, which strategies would you recommend for creating a strong and compelling statement of need?

Part 2

Continuous quality improvement (CQI) refers to the process of continually assessing and adjusting a program or service components to address problems or enhance results. The CQI process is dynamic and ongoing, guided by input or feedback from individuals receiving the services. Additionally, buy-in and support from the staff, particularly staff responsible for implementing program changes, are critical to an agency’s CQI efforts. Selecting the right individual to lead an agency’s CQI efforts is important if these criteria are to be achieved.

Using the South University Online Library or the Internet, research about CQI in public health systems.

Based on your research, respond to the following discussion points in relation to CQI activities:

  • Describe the ideal traits or characteristics of the person or team who would spearhead the CQI process.
  • Examine how CQI leaders can garner support and buy-in from staff responsible for CQI activities.

CQI leaders are critical to the success of an agency’s CQI efforts. Effective CQI leaders help establish a shared vision and purpose provide direction, and ensure the availability of resources and the right environment required for success.

Respond to the following discussion points in relation to managing CQI efforts:

  • Examine the advantages and disadvantages of assigning an existing staff person to manage CQI efforts versus engaging an external contractor.
  • Explain which of the two you would recommend for managing CQI efforts.


Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. (1988).  The future of public health.
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