background Data/Information Collection:
The first step in any community assessment is the identification and description of the community. Answer these questions completely in complete sentences. Helpful sources include your community,
town, or city website, local or county health department, state department of health, and this national link has been recommended
—Data USA (https://datausa.io/)
1.What is the name of your community?
2. Is your community a city, township, etc.?
3.Would you describe your community as a bedroom community, an agricultural community, a manufacturing community, or other community? Why?
4.Is the community a service center for shopping, education, cultural events, healthcare,government activities, etc., or is it a satellite to a larger metropolitan center in which such services can be obtained?
5.What is the distance, in time and miles, to the nearest urban center?
6. What are the goals of this community? Include a statement of philosophy and goals from the community.
Possible sources of information
: library (maps, local books, information files, librarian, Internet),
local historical society/buildings/museums, interviews with residents knowledgeable about community
history and development.
What was the settlement date of the community? Include date of charter of incorporation.
What important events or factors affected development of the community?
3.Who were people important in the growth of the community?
4.What have been the milestone events in the history of the community (including both natural and man-made events (economic changes, disasters, etc.).
5. What are the major physical alterations that have occurred and when?
There are two parts to the assessment of the community: the
windshield survey and the in-depth assessment
A. WINDSHIELD SURVEY
Conduct a Windshield Survey.
You will want to complete as much of these categories as possible while driving through the community and a surveying town, community and/or county websites. If you completed the Windshield Survey in 445 Nursing of Communities, you will find this tool is similar, but there are a few more area in bold print below to address (boundaries, street people, race, ethnicity, religion, health & morbidity, politics and media). Following the completion of the windshield survey, conduct an in-depth community assessment. You will want to complete each area listed below.
1. What signs tell you where this community begins and ends?
2. Are boundaries natural (river, terrain change, etc.) or political (city limits), economic (differences in real estate, presence of industry, commercial units), cultural, or ethnic?
3. How large is the community in square miles?
Housing and Zoning:
1. How are neighborhoods alike or different in age, types of architecture, materials of construction?
2. How are houses spaced (detached, attached, grass areas, lot size)?
3.What is the general condition of housing?
1. How is land used (open space, residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural, natural land reservation)?
2.What is the quality of the space: parks or rubble-filled lots, lawns, flowers, pavement?
3. What effect does the geography of the community have on its life?
1.How do people get in and out of the community?
2.How do streets, roads and methods of transportation appear to affect the community life?
3.Are potential accident or problem areas visible?
4.Is public transportation available?
5. Do street names reveal history or other community characteristics?
1. Where do residents shop?
2. How do they travel to shop?
3.Are there differences in shopping among different neighborhoods in the community?
4.What kinds of goods are available to local residents?
1.What is the climate like throughout the year overall?
2.What is the average rainfall, winds, and temperature range?
1. Who do you see on the streets? Mothers and babies, teenagers, unemployed males?
2. Do you see animals such as stray cats, dogs, pedigreed pets, “watchdogs,” etc?
1. Do you see signs of community growth such as real estate signs, new construction? (home/industrial), remodeling, street repair, political posters, neighborhood meeting posters, etc?
2. Do you see signs of community decline such as trash, abandoned cars, real estate signs? concentrated in certain neighborhoods, abandoned houses, mixed zoning usage, etc.
1.How does the community affect your senses (hearing, smell, and feeling?)
2.Does the community give you a “good” feeling or an “uncomfortable” feeling? Can you pinpoint any particular reasons for this feeling?
Possible sources of information: local library or Internet (census data), real estate office, Chamber of Commerce, interviews with local residents, local child care program facilities, local ethnic/cultural
centers or interview of persons representing ethnic/cultural groups in the community.
1.How many people live in the community?
2. What is the age, sex, and race distribution?
3.What is the population density?
4.What social classes are represented in the community (lower, middle, upper?) Which ones predominate?
5.Do you see evidence of racial and/or ethnic characteristics of the people? (Food stores, churches, private schools, information in a language other than English)
5. How many churches are in the community? What denominations are the churches?
6. What subcultural groups can you identify in the community? How do they impact on community life?
7.What family types (single parent, nuclear, extended, nontraditional) are there? Which ones predominate?
8. How often do people in the community move (within or into and out of the community)?
Possible sources of information: Real estate office, Chamber of Commerce, interviews with local residents or representatives of community agencies which monitor or work to improve local housing.
1.What is the number of housing units in the district?
2.What kind of housing is available in the community?
a.Type of structures (single family homes, multifamily homes, high rise apartments, town houses)?
B. Types of housing materials are typical (wood frame, cement, brick)?
c.Average age and condition of housing?
3.What is the average price of a 3 bedroom home?
4.Does the community provide programs or sponsor volunteer programs to enable low -income persons to improve or maintain housing?
5. Does the community maintain homeless shelters or provide for those who are homeless?
Possible sources of information
: Chamber of Commerce, library (maps), AAA office, bus/train
stations, social service agencies offering transportation for residents.
1.Are there major highways which make the community accessible?
2.How do people travel within the community? (e.g., taxi, bus, train, airplane, private care, volunteer transport systems, horse and buggy?)
Possible sources of information: Chamber of Commerce, visits to local business/industries, unemployment office, social service agencies dealing with employment issues.
1. What occupational groups (retail, industrial, farming, service, government, tourism, unemployed) are represented in the community? Which ones predominate?
2. How do the occupations of members of the community affect their lives?
3. Do most people work within the community or do many travel to other communities for employment?
4. What are the changes in the patterns of work in the community?
5. Is unemployment a current, past, continuing or occasional problem for the community? If unemployment is a problem, why has it occurred?
6. Are local industries influential in community life?
7. Is the industrial/economic base of the community growing, remaining stable, or declining?
8. What are typical (median, average) income levels of persons living within the community?
Police/Fire/Community Safety Programs
Possible sources of information: Police Department, Fire Department, representative of local court system, Red Cross, City Hall (Community Disaster Plan), members of the community.
1.What types of criminal activity are most prevalent?
2.How many full-time, part-time, or volunteer police does the department have?
3.Does the Police Department feel these numbers are adequate?
4.What is police response time? How is it determined (triage system?)
5.Does the police department sponsor crime prevention programs? What are they?
1.How serious is the concern for fire this community?
2.How many full-time, part-time, or volunteer firemen does the department have?
3.Are these numbers adequate by the fire department?
4.What is fire department response time?
5.Does the department offer fire prevention education? What methods or programs are used?
Other Safety Issues1.
Does the community have a disaster plan?
2.What types of natural/industrial disasters could affect the community?
3.What is the community’s own view of its greatest safety risk?
4.Other than police and fire systems, what community safety programs exist? Ex. CERT.
Food Supply Systems
Possible sources of information: local stores, social services agencies providing food sources to community members (Salvation Army, local welfare agencies, volunteer groups, churches, etc.)
1.Are there restaurants within the community? How often do people in the community tend to eat out? Would you say that menus available in restaurants may significantly affect the health of members of this community? How?
2.What grocery stores (chain or locally owned), specialty food stores, fresh or locally-grown sources are available in the community?
3.Does the cost of food affect the availability of food or certain types of food for members of the whole community or subgroups in the community?
4. How does the community provide for persons unable to afford, purchase or prepare their own food?
5. Do you see evidence of differences in diet preferences among
Possible sources of information: Board of Education Office, local school principal, school nurse or person responsible for health of school age children and health curriculum, specialty school sites,
private schools, local colleges/universities.
1. How many schools, public and private, are there: elementary, junior high, middle school, senior high, jr. colleges, colleges, universities, and special schools in the community?
2. If education beyond high school is not available in the community, what schools are accessible within the region?
3. How many students (child/adult) attend the schools?
4. What is the average daily attendance rate for the largest public school in the community?
5. Is there a latchkey program? Any other special programs offered by the school?
6. What percentage of graduates from this school system goes on to college?
7. How do schools address the special education needs of children (learning disabled? Hearing impaired, visually impaired, gifted?)?
8. How do schools address the health concerns of their children?
9. Is there a school nurse? What job responsibilities does the nurse have? How much
time does he/she spend in the school.
10. What are significant health needs, concerns or issues in this school system?
11. What community agencies are involved in meeting needs of students in the school or school-age population of the community?
12. What is the prevailing educational level of adults in the community?
13. How valued is education by members of the community?
Possible sources of information: telephone book, local M.D. office, local hospital, official health department (if accessible), local care provider/agencies as identified by community residents or
located in directories.
1.Who is available within the community to provide health care? (physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, physical therapists, other? No need to list each one, just identify if present in
a)What hospitals are most often used by members of the community? Which is the closest?
b)What kinds of in-patient care are available within the community?
c)What kinds of out-patient services are available within the community?
d)What emergency/urgent care services are available to members of the community?
e)What extended care facilities are included within or easily accessible to the community?
2. What official health department services/programs are conducted within the community?
a)How is prevention and monitoring of communicable disease managed within the community?
b)How are environmental or sanitation problems addressed?
c)What services to mothers and children provided through official agency programs?
d)What programs are available for people with special problems such as AIDS and other chronic diseases?
e) Who is at greatest risk for illness, injury, disability and premature death in your community? Identify at least one vulnerable population.
3. People factors
a)What is the mortality rate?
b)What are the major causes of death?
c)What are the major diseases and illnesses present in this community?
d)What types of disabilities and impairments can be found in this community?
4.What kind of health education programs are available to those who live in the community?
a)Who provides the programs?
b)What issues have been addressed recently?
c)Who pays for the program?
5.What are the leading health concerns and/or causes of death for members of the Community?
a)What support systems are in place for this?
b)How do members of the community typically pay for health care?
c)What resources are there for those who are unable to pay for health
Possible sources of information: local radio station, local newspaper office, local business, interview with local resident, library (librarian), observation.
1. What newspapers (local or regional) are read by community members?
2. What radio stations & TV stations are typically used as a source of entertainment or information by community members?
3.Is there a public library?
Possible sources of information: library (local campaign information), local political headquarters, City/Town Hall, interview with representative of local government or community member.
1.Describe the political system within the community.
a)What is the basic organizational structure?
b)Who are the formal and informal leaders
c)What is the pattern of decision making?
d)What are the methods of social control?
2.What issues have most affected the community in recent years (housing, transportation, health, water and sewage, police and fire, group homes, other?)
Possible sources of information: Local health department (if available), community water treatment/waste disposal facilities, local resident interview, observation, Agricultural Extension Agent, City Hall.
1. What environmental issues affect community life (personal or industrial?)
2. What agencies, policies, or programs affect environmental issues in the community?
3. What is the source of water supply for the community? How is the water supply tested and kept free of contamination?
4.How does the community dispose of its wastes (sanitation systems, trash removal, recycling programs/facilities, landfills, cost, industrial or hazardous waste?).
References (include a list of sources here in APA format, no in-text citations required)
Directions for Community Assessment Paper
The windshield survey, community assessment, have provided you with information about your community. Analyze your assessment
findings and utilize the following questions to compose your paper over 2-3 pages using APA formatting (not including title and reference pages).
Suggested Outline for Paper
1. Introduce your community just providing highlights, key facts that directed you to two vulnerable populations within this community.
2. Based on your data and assessment, identify one primary prevention health need for each of these vulnerable populations that you believe may develop or are health concerns for this community.
a) Indicate the problems/issues actual or potential? What data indicates your selection?
b) What are the strengths of the community?
c) How does this health need affect the community?
d) What has the community done so far about these issues?
3. Explain how this health need relates to Healthy People 2030. Select the importance of 3 realistic, practical interventions, and rationales for this health need that your community could implement. It is recommended that one of these interventions
will include the topic for your primary prevention health education
Plan. (Joseph, health education Plan will be another project if you are interested).
A minimum of four sources is required: the course text, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a local or state website, and one outside peer reviewed journal source (US source required)