The Tennessee Department of Health WORKshops on Use of Secondary Data for Community Health Assessment, 2012
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The Tennessee Department of Health WORKshops on Use of Secondary Data for Community Health Assessment, 2012

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    • Alternative Title:
      Prev Chronic Dis
    • Description:
      Community health assessment is a core function of public health departments, a standard for accreditation of public health departments, and a core competency for public health professionals. The Tennessee Department of Health developed a statewide initiative to improve the processes for engaging county health departments in assessing their community's health status through the collection and analysis of secondary data. One aim of the Tennessee Department of Health was to position county public health departments as trusted leaders in providing population data and engaging community stakeholders in assessments. The Tennessee Department of Health's Division of Policy, Planning, and Assessment conducted regional 2-day training workshops to explain and guide completion of computer spreadsheets on 12 health topics. Participants from 93 counties extracted data from multiple and diverse sources to quantify county demographics, health status, and resources and wrote problem statements based on the data examined. The workshops included additional staff development through integration of short lessons on data analysis, epidemiology, and social-behavior theory. Participants reported in post-workshop surveys higher degrees of comfort in interpreting data and writing about their findings on county health issues, and they shared their findings with health, hospital, school, and government leaders (including county health council members) in their counties. Completion of the assessments enabled counties and the Tennessee Department of Health to address performance-improvement goals and assist counties in preparing to meet public health accreditation prerequisites. The methods developed for using secondary data for community health assessment are Tennessee's first-phase response to counties' request for a statewide structure for conducting such assessments.
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