Community Health Needs Assessments

About this Project

Community health needs assessments (CHNAs), and associated community health improvement plans (CHIPs), are required for community benefit documentation by tax-exempt hospitals as well as public health department accreditation.

Non-profit hospitals are required to conduct CHNAs every three years to identify pressing community health needs and issues through a systematic and comprehensive analysis of local data. These assessments examine health needs beyond access to care and include other public health objectives, such social, behavioral, and environmental factors that influence population health. CHNAs are informed by multiple stakeholders, including providers, public health departments, and community members.

CHNA findings inform community-wide priorities and support the development of strategic actions identified in CHIPs, including how tax-exempt hospitals design their community benefit spending. CHIPs help coordinate how community partners align health improvement strategies and targeted resources. The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) also uses CHNAs and CHIPs for public health department accreditation.

The Georgia Health Policy Center aids hospitals, health systems, health plans, and health departments (state and local) in designing and conducting CHNAs, as well as facilitating strategic planning for CHIPs. GHPC has experience in collecting and analyzing primary and secondary data, conducting stakeholder focus groups and interviews, and synthesizing findings to inform CHNAs, community benefit design, strategic planning, and PHAB accreditation.

Meet the Researchers

Chris Parker

Director of Global and Population Health

M.P.H., Emory University
B.Sc., M.B.B.S., University of the West Indies, Mona


Chris Parker is the director of global and population health at the Georgia Health Policy Center. He holds a leadership role in many of the center’s projects related to public health and program evaluation. His areas of expertise include strategic planning and evaluation, with a particular interest in projects that link population health and health… more »

Amanda Phillips Martinez

Senior Research Associate

M.P.H., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A., Guilford College


Amanda Phillips Martinez is a senior research associate at the Georgia Health Policy Center. She co-leads the center’s Community Health Systems Development team. She brings strong skills in qualitative data collection and analysis, as well as experience facilitating meaningful community involvement and the development and implementation of community health programs.

On the Community Health… more »

Robyn Bussey

Research Associate II

MBA, M.H.A., Georgia State University
B.S., Florida A&M University


Robyn Bussey is a research associate at the Georgia Health Policy Center. She brings experience in community engagement and meeting design and facilitation.

Bussey works on a variety of projects including those related to public health program evaluation and strategic planning, community health needs assessments, and community benefit. She has worked on community health… more »

Michelle Rushing

Research Associate II

M.P.H., Georgia State University
B.A., Cornell University


Michelle Rushing is a specialist in Health in All Policies and the health impact assessment (HIA) method of collaborative policy analysis.

As a research associate at the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC), she conducts HIAs and provides HIA technical assistance and training. Recently, she led an HIA of the state of Georgia’s 2015… more »

Criss Sutton

Senior Research Associate

M.S.W., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
B.S.W., University of Pittsburgh


Criss Sutton is a senior research associate at the Georgia Health Policy Center. Her areas of expertise are in community health assessments and planning.

Current projects include community health needs assessments and planning for Grady Memorial Hospital, Kaiser Permanente Georgia, Mercy Care, and Clayton County Public Health Department. Sutton is also involved with the Robert… more »

Area of Expertise

Population Health