The lowdown on the 2021 Community Health Assessment


What is it?

The Community Health Assessment (CA) is a comprehensive, collaborative process that gathers information about the health and well-being of residents in order to understand the needs, challenges, strengths, and opportunities that exist in the Chatham community.

It allows the Chatham Health Alliance and other organizations to monitor changes over time, identify and address disparities within the community, and develop and implement appropriate interventions to address community needs.

Why do the assessment?

Community Health Assessments are a state requirement for Public Health Department accreditation and for nonprofit hospitals. The Chatham Health Alliance expanded on the survey and reporting process starting in 2018 by creating a fully collaborative CA with CCPHD and Chatham Hospital, done every three years.

What does it provide?

The CA is a reflection of the county’s health and well-being. In addition to helping secure funding for the Chatham County Public Health Department and Chatham Hospital, the CA guides the work of the Chatham Health Alliance and helps the organization focus and prioritize its efforts.

What is the Chatham Health Alliance?

It’s a collaborative of local professionals and community members working together to improve health and well-being in Chatham County. The Alliance brings together both traditional and nontraditional partners to work on issues affecting health in Chatham County, with a focus on the health priorities identified in the Community Health Assessment.

How is the Health Assessment used?

The surveys, interviews and research done during the CA lead to the selection of three health impact priorities, which the Health Alliance uses to shape its work for the next three years. In 2018, the Health Alliance chose Access to Comprehensive Health Services, Poverty and Healthy Eating, and Active Living as its priorities.

Data from the CA and subsequent surveys will also be used to track progress on existing efforts.

The Community Assessment is also snapshot of the county and its residents — what is needed, what challenges are faced, what strengths and opportunities exist in the community, and what can be done together to make life better.

In addition, a comprehensive written report is generated for the community. The 2018 Community Health Assessment report is 266 pages long.

How is data collected?

Organizers work with the N.C. Institute for Public Health to design the survey methodology and conduct the representative cohort survey, the cornerstone of the assessment. Collecting data for the community assessment includes the representative cohort survey, a supplemental short-form survey open to all residents, and qualitative projects, including Story Circles and the Chatham Snapshots photo project, in addition to compiling local secondary data that has already been collected by others.

The Community Survey asks questions on a wide variety of topics related to health and well-being, from nuts and bolts questions on fruit and vegetable consumption to questions aimed at understanding social drivers of health, social connectedness, and barriers to reaching optimal health. This is an unique opportunity to ask those questions that we can’t find out anywhere else.

For more information: