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Chapter Article on Community Need Assessment: why we need them and how to carry it out successfully

NU FS377 Chapter Article on Community Need Assessment: why we need them and how to carry it out successfully: Community Needs Assessment

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Nutrition and Food Sciences
NU FS377
Karena Apps Eccles

NUFS 377 – Community Needs Assessment Goal: What are the principles of program planning and the community needs assessments? Remember, the CNA tells a story. The current conditions of the individuals, families and the communities will relate to the community’s capacity for health and nutrition needs. We then have to build up the community support for implementing change to improve the health and quality of life. What are key components and elements for planning nutrition programs in the community? Key components: • Solid informational base on the health needs of the community • Involvement of community members (remember I am not the target audience so I am not the expert) • A set of priorities and an action plan to address community health needs • A plan for monitoring and evaluation performance Program planning as a whole is a very systematic approach. With constant feedback and evaluation things are always changing and that means so is our understanding. The very first thing we want to do is assess the current situation, this is the whole point of the community needs assessment (CNA) because if we don’t know where we are starting it is hard to tell where we are going. Might also be helpful to look at why this program is being developed, was it mandated, a result of research, requested by the community or a government policy? Community needs assessment: a dynamic, ongoing process to identify the strengths and needs of a community (weaknesses) in order to find a collaborative action plan directed at improving the community health status and quality of life. Why Conduct A CNA? Community needs assessments can: • Give us an overview of information both related and unrelated to nutrition • They can help guide policy and program development • Help provide insight into things such as the pathway/cause of diseases and illness • Provide population based and health status information ex. BMI charts, disease prevention opportunities & health protection Overall, a CNA sets priorities in order to address the most pressing needs of the community 1 . st How Do You Prepare for A Needs Assessment? • Research your region • Be realistic • Distinguish needs and wants in terms of outcomes • Ensure proper resources
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