Discussion: Assessing Your Community

What are the most important health needs of your community? Where would your efforts as public health professional be best utilized? There are several ways to answer this question. When determining the most important needs, you should consider multiple angles (e.g., perceived and actual needs) and different types of data sources (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, primary, and secondary). Some questions that should be considered when assessing your community’s needs are:

Perceived (qualitative data): What do the residents of the community think are the important issues?
Actual (quantitative data): What do the numbers and statistics show
Primary sources: What can you observe directly or collect data about by yourself?
Secondary sources: What can you look up in available resources?

For this Discussion, you explore secondary data sources to collect information about actual public health needs in your community. From those public health needs, consider which would be a priority for developing a public health program.
To Prepare for this Discussion:

Review Chapter 4, Table 4.2 on page 85 of the McKenzie et al. text and the video Defining a Health Problem. Think about the secondary data sources you might use for researching public health needs.
Think about what you perceive to be the public health needs of your community.
Research the actual public health needs of your community using the County Health Rankings website, Healthy People 2020, and other reputable Internet sources. To use County Health Rankings website, click on your state, then select your county to begin your search. To use Healthy People 2020, ensure you click on the  Healthy People in Action tab and select State Plans. For those who do not live within the United States, please provide a description of the public health needs in the region of the country in which you reside.
Focus on a particular health need in your community that you might set as a priority for a public health program.

With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 4
Post a brief description of your community and some of the actual public health needs within that community, based on the secondary data you found at the County Health Rankings and Healthy People 2020 websites. Explain whether the actual needs are similar or not to what you suspected before your research. Finally, describe one actual public health need that you consider a priority for which to develop a public health program and explain why it is a priority.
Note: Initial postings must be 250–350 words (not including references).
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

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