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Regional Community Health Needs Assessment

The NC Hospital Association and the NC Division of Public Health have publicly stated their support and encouragement for counties throughout NC to partner and implement a standardized regional approach to completing the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process.  Based on this communication, East Carolina University initiated a discussion with representatives of health departments, hospitals, and other health service providers to discuss the possibility of standardizing the CHNA process within a 41- county region in eastern North Carolina.

CHNAs are a unique opportunity for hospitals to partner with community stakeholders and local health departments to better ascertain the health needs of the people they serve. This information can then be used to provide targeted, preventative care strategies to specific populations, ultimately leading to healthier populations and lower health care costs.

The ECU Office of Health Access is currently meeting with representatives from hospitals and local health departments across eastern North Carolina to discuss the logistics of conducting a regional CHNA. Currently, there is no uniform process that health officials can employ to gather data. We are investigating how the CHNA data collection methodology can be standardized to allow for meaningful comparisons of health information across all of eastern North Carolina.

Combining the efforts of local health departments and hospitals will ultimately lead to an improvement in the quality of population health data, the ability to compare and contrast information and interventions across geographic boundaries, and reduction of costs for everyone involved while creating opportunities for new and better ways to collaborate and partner with one another.

The last meeting with representatives from health departments, hospitals, and other health service providers, currently being referred to as “The Group”, was in late April. Key discussion items included the development of a steering committee to provide leadership and the creation of three work groups to discuss various aspects of conducting a regional CHNA. These work groups are:

  1. Structure Work Group
    • Focus on organizational structure of "The Group"
    • Discuss how to best manage the flow of information, how the decision-making process should work, particularly with issues pertaining to the full group, and other topics as deemed appropriate
    • Discuss who should be involved with the full group (i.e. important stakeholders that might want to be involved that are not involved currently)
  2. Resources, Costs, and Fair Apportionment Work Group
    • Examine current costs and resources needed to conduct CHNA, develop estimates of cost and resources needs for a regional CHNA
    • Identify cost savings opportunities of a regional CHNA
    • Develop a fair method to apportion regional CHNA costs and other work of "The Group" to individual counties and hospitals
  3. Standardization and Uniformity Work Group
    • Develop regional CHNA methodology, definitions, geographic boundaries, common CHNA submission timeline
    • Work on other issues deemed within the purview of this work group

Currently, the work groups have begun meeting and will report their findings back to "The Group" at a meeting to be held in late September or October, 2015.

Cribs for Kids

In 2014, the Office of Health Access at the Brody School of Medicine and the Pitt County Health Department were awarded a grant from the Vidant Medical Center Foundation to implement an intervention in Pitt County to reduce infant mortality rates. Using grant funds, “Safe Sleep Survival Kits” are purchased from Cribs for Kids. Cribs for Kids in a nonprofit organization out of Pittsburgh, PA dedicated to preventing infant death and injury from unsafe sleeping environments. These kits include a Graco Pack ‘n Play crib, Halo Sleep Sack, a crib sheet, and a Philips Soothie Pacifier.

The Pitt County Health Department distributes the “Safe Sleep Survival Kits” to eligible parents. To qualify, the person must be receiving public assistance and be referred though Jennifer Hardee (Coordinator, Women’s and Children’s Health Education Programs at the Pitt County Health Department). In addition, parents must complete a short infant sleep education class and pay a $10 contribution. This money is deposited back into the grant fund to purchase more kits. The goal is to distribute 135 kits to Pitt County families by June 2016.

To learn more about the program or to refer a parent, please contact Jennifer Hardee at or 252-902-2424.