Applying Community Organizing Principles to Assess Health Needs in New Haven, Connecticut


The Affordable Care Act added requirements for nonprofit hospitals to conduct community health needs assessments. Guidelines are minimal; however, they require input and representation from the broader community. This call echoes 2 decades of literature on the importance of including community members in all aspects of research design, a tenet of community organizing.

We describe a community-engaged research approach to a community health needs assessment in New Haven, Connecticut. We demonstrate that a robust community organizing approach provided unique research benefits: access to residents for data collection, reliable data, leverage for community-driven interventions, and modest improvements in behavioral risk.

We make recommendations for future community-engaged efforts and workforce development, which are important for responding to increasing calls for community health needs assessments.

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Category Tags

Chronic Disease; Healthcare