About CHNA Toolkit


CHNA Process
CHNA Process Map
(click to see full map)
Adapted from the work of Kaiser Permanente
Initial support for the CHNA toolkit is being provided by Kaiser Permanente and IP3, with technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are grateful to the many leaders and organizations across the country who are generously investing their time, talents and resources in this unprecedented national partnership and resource.
The CHNA toolkit is a free web-based platform designed to assist hospitals (with particular attention to critical access and other smaller facilities), non-profit organizations, state and local health departments, financial institutions, and other organizations seeking to better understand the needs and assets of their communities, and to collaborate to make measurable improvements in community health and well-being.
Overview video
Overview Video
CHNA Vision
The CHNA toolkit is developed and operated in trust for the social and economic well-being of the nation. It supports collaboration and action to improve health and health equity by providing informative, detailed and easy-to-understand data on the health of communities that are available to all organizations and individuals.

Our vision for the CHNA toolkit is that all community members--regardless of training, expertise, and experience--can ask and answer questions about health and quality of life at the local and regional level. Realizing this vision will require ongoing work towards a common language and values among stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and experiences. It will also require commitment and actions to advance public and institutional policies that reinforce and sustain improvements at the community level.
CHNA Mission
The CHNA platform provides an array of resources that:
  • Democratize the community health needs assessment process by bringing a broad array of publically available data into one site, dramatically minimizing duplication of efforts and reducing costs to communities;
  • Inform robust civic discourse by supporting community members in developing a shared understanding and common agenda for addressing the realities of their communities;
  • Enable community stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to create, implement, and invest in strategies that have been shown to produce measurable improvements in community health and well-being; and
  • Support hospitals and health systems to conduct quality Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) that meet governmental standards for nonprofit hospitals, public health departments conducting CHNAs and pursuing accreditation, and the requirements and needs of other community sectors.
What is CHNA Toolkit?
The tools and resources on this site support a rigorous assessment of the determinants of health1 and current health status of our communities, the identification of resources that exist in communities, and the fostering of public dialogue and collective action at scale. Answers to inquiries are available in multiple forms, including narrative, graphic, and mapping format, building a more complete and easy to interpret set of findings to share with others.

The central goals of CHNA toolkit are to:
  1. Reduce the financial burden and time investment in the collection and analysis of data.
  2. Shift the emphasis in the assessment process from data collection/analysis to stakeholder engagement, priority setting, intervention design, and collaborative resource investment.
  3. Encourage advancement of shared ownership for health among a broad spectrum of stakeholders from all sectors of the economy.
  4. Increase investment in geographic communities where a concentration of inequities in economic, social, physical infrastructure, and timely access to quality health care combine to produce health disparities.
  5. Encourage collaboration within and across city and county jurisdictions, enabling the pooling of resources and expertise and capturing the natural flow of health care utilization in rural areas, as well as ensuring access and coverage in larger urban metropolitan areas.
The CHNA toolkit site will offer these capabilities:
  • An easy to use, intuitive platform
  • Basic reporting functionality on prioritized needs
  • The ability to select area geography in different ways
  • Ability to identify and profile geographic areas with significant health disparities
  • Feedback functionality
  • Access to technical support
  • Adaptability and development for future learning and versions
  • Integration with the Community Commons
  • Links to a range of implementation support resources and services to translate data into priorities and meaningful implementation and action plans
CHNA toolkit adheres to a set of core values developed by its founding partners:
  • Transparency: Open and inclusive, allowing for a traceable path to data and results.
  • Discovery: Encouraging of learning, discovery, and respectful discourse on issues in the field and priorities to improve population-based health in communities.
  • Fairness: Non-preferential to any one sector, field, association, organization or group; non-commercial.
  • Relevancy: Applicable across an array of settings (rural, suburban, urban, regional, state).
  • Responsive: Adapting to the needs of users over time.
1 Examples of determinants of health include, but are not limited to housing quality, food access, job status, neighborhood safety, K-12 school quality, and exposure to environmental toxins.
HOW does CHNA toolkit work?
CHNA toolkit offers support in these areas:
  • An orientation and resources for conducting community health needs assessments.

  • The ability to create a community health needs assessment report.
    • The ability to see your selected area's demographics and performance on a core set of community indicators linked to evidence-informed interventions. The default is to the "core outcome and action indicators framework" associated with The County Health Rankings/Roadmaps to Health, The Community Guide, Healthy People 2020, and other widely used sources of indicators and evidence-informed program activities. The framework is also derived from the shared national priorities identified in the National Prevention Strategy, The Community Transformation Grant Program and the Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020.
    • Learn more about the core outcome and action indicators framework:
    • The ability to see your selected area's performance on other "common indicators" drawn from the robust Community Commons/CARES data engine.
    • CHNA indicator sets can be drawn from the following sources*:
      • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
      • Catholic Health Association
      • County Health Rankings
      • Kaiser Permanente
      • Healthy People 2020
      • Health Resources and Services Administration
      • National Quality Forum

  • Offers ease of connection to other resources that can provide benchmarks for comparison and foster community engagement and dialogue.

  • Linkages to a range of support services to help make meaning of community data and translate assessments into effective public health implementation strategies.
(Hover over to magnify the process diagram)

Adapted from the work of Kaiser Permanente.

WHO are the people of CHNA toolkit?


CHNA toolkit is offered to organizations, communities, and agencies responsible for developing community health needs assessments to guide the design of effective implementation strategies for improving the health of their communities:
  • Hospitals and health systems, with a particular relevance for critical access hospitals
  • United Ways and community-based organizations (CBOs)
  • State and local health departments
  • Community investors, including philanthropy, community development finance institutions (CDFIs), and commercial banks and savings institutions
  • Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and other social service agencies (e.g. child care and senior services)
  • Grassroots civic organizations (e.g., neighborhood associations)
  • Community action agencies (CAAs) dedicated to empowering low-income and underserved populations
Value Proposition
CHNA toolkit is intended to serve as a resource for a broad spectrum of community stakeholders. A brief listing of shared and stakeholder-specific value propositions are as follows:

For All Local Stakeholders
  • Access to data/information in a format that is easy to understand.
  • Opportunity to build common understanding of major health concerns.
  • Opportunity to leverage resources and develop strategies that are mutually reinforcing and focused in specific geographic communities.

  • Substantial reduction in costs and staff time for CHNA data collection, analysis, and development of reports.
  • Access to the 'evidence base' that highlights shared ownership with stakeholders from other sectors to address the root causes of persistent health problems in communities.
  • Increased resources/staff time available for program design, implementation, and evaluation.
Local Public Health Agencies
  • Leverages limited resources to fulfill assessment core function through partnerships with local hospitals and other stakeholders.
  • Provides an evidence base and means to build broader public support for public health functions and strategies to address health inequities in local communities.
  • Creates the opportunity to build shared ownership for community health improvement with other sectors (e.g., business, financial institutions, law enforcement, faith community, etc.)
Community Members/Community-Based Organizations/Advocates
  • Provides an evidence base that enables community members to engage public and private sector institutional stakeholders in terms that are more equitable.
  • Increases understanding of determinants of health and ability to make a compelling case for shared investment.
  • Enhances ability (combined with other public reporting mechanisms) to assess the roles and relative contributions of organizations, initiatives, and public policies.
Community Health Centers
  • Leverages limited resources to fulfill Section 330 assessment through partnerships with local hospitals, public health agencies, and other stakeholders.
  • Builds broader understanding of determinants of health in communities served by CHCs.
  • Provides evidence base and imperative for more explicit coordination of services with other health care providers.
  • Leverages limited resources for periodic community health assessments and investments.
  • Provides evidence base to validate broad definition of health and collaboration across economic sectors.
  • Offers a tool that enhances the opportunity to provide leadership as a non-biased convener of diverse stakeholders.
  • Provides a means to track impact and outcomes of investments over time
Finance Institutions
  • Informs investments and activities related to the Community Reinvestment Act
  • More explicitly connects the work of banks, trusts, Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI’s) and other related entities - to the work of hospital community benefit and health and social well-being initiatives.
  • Provides a means for alignment and outcomes tracking of investments made across different fields and sectors.


CHNA toolkit is powered by IP3, the Institute for People, Place and Possibility, a not-for-profit organization based in Columbia, Missouri. IP3 also powers the Community Commons and an array of data, learning, and performance improvement platforms for leading national organizations, philanthropies and governmental agencies. The CHNA toolkit data engine, is the product of over a decade of site development and refinement by the Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES) at the University of Missouri, Columbia. In the last two years, the IP3 team, and scientists at CARES have partnered with a broad spectrum of public and private sector stakeholders at the national, state, and regional level to bring this impressive GIS data platform and associated tools to the general public.

Current collaborative partners include:

  • Kitty Hsu Dana, United Way Worldwide
  • Jean Nudelman, Kaiser Permanente
  • Jim Pearsol, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
Scientific Leads/Technical Advisors:
  • Bridget Catlin, University of Wisconsin/County Health Rankings & Roadmap
  • Kevin Barnett, Public Health Institute
  • Paul Stange, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Workgroup Members:
  • Andrew Bazemore, MD, Robert Graham Center
  • Michael Bilton, Association for Community Health Improvement, American Hospital Association
  • Jessica Curtis, Community Catalyst
  • Dave Dyjack, National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
  • John Gale, University of South Maine
  • Charlotte Kahn, Boston Indicator Project
  • Charlotte Kent, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Bill Kassler, MD, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
  • Tyler Norris, Kaiser Permanente
  • Rashid Njai, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Gianfranco Pezzino, Kansas Health Institute
  • Mary Pittman, Public Health Institute (PHI)
  • Julie Trocchio, Catholic Health Association
  • John Whittington, MD, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • Vondie Morre Woodbury, Trinity Health
  • Andrew Webber, National Business Coalition on Health
  • Project Management: Roxanne Fulcher - Institute for People, Place, and Possibility (IP3)
  • Site Development/Technical Leads: Chris Barnett, Yan Barnett, Chris Fulcher - Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES)
Initial support for CHNA toolkit is being provided by Kaiser Permanente and IP3, with technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are grateful to the many leaders and organizations across the country (see list above) who are generously investing their time, talents and resources in this unprecedented national partnership and resource.