Outreach Evaluation Series:Community Assessment Susan Barnes and Alan Carr National Network of Libraries of Medicine Outreach Evaluation Resource Center April 29, 2008 Tucson, AZ
Objectives By the end of the session, participants will be able to: • Describe the goals of a community assessment • Identify methods for gathering information from local participants and stakeholders to better plan an outreach project • Collect community assessment data for proposal writing
What is Community Assessment Building a picture of a community
Why Do Community Assessment? • Investigate whether your project is necessary and viable • Convince stakeholders of the need for your project • Make decisions about how to conduct your program • Find resources and community partners for your outreach project
What you already know What other community members know and do What Information to Collect What is available in public documents What key informants know
Evaluation Data What are your evaluation questions? • What are community • members… • Ideas? • Concerns? • Beliefs? • Opinions? • Experiences • How many? • How much? • What percentage? • How often? • What is the average • amount? Quantitative Qualitative
How to Collect It Quantitative Qualitative • Existing textual • information (reports, • meeting minutes) • Observations • Interviews • Public forums • Focus groups • Existing numerical • information (e.g., • census data) • Questionnaire data
Phase 1: Inventory what you know What you already know
Inventory What You Know Team brainstorming: • What issues, problems, behaviors particularly interest you? • What information resources are available to help you address these problems/ issues/behaviors? • What community relationships have you formed that can be helpful? • What existing studies can help you? • What experts are available to you?
Information Needs Team brainstorming: • What do we need to know about our “issue” and our target community • What information do we need that will convince our funders our project is necessary? • What resources can we use to answer our questions and build our case?
Phase 2: Work With Existing Data What is available in public documents
Community Assessment Robeson County, NC What do you know from this profile? Worksheet 1
Identifying Community Needs • Community statistics about: • Medically underserved areas • Special populations • Prevailing health problems • Computer literacy and Internet access • (individuals; physicians)
Existing Data • Community statistics about: • Age • Poverty • Health problems • Ethnicity • Educational level • Primary care physicians per capita • Primary care providers per capita • Computer literacy and Internet access
Where to Find Existing Data • Scholarly literature • Health data tools and statistics • US Census data • Health and social service departments • State centers with health or economic • statistics • Federal agencies • Boards of education • Foundations and community-based • organizations
Where to Find Existing Data Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce http://phpartners.org/ http://phpartners.org/
Community Assessment Robeson County, NC Next steps: What questions do we want to pursue next in our community assessment of Robeson County
Identifying Community Assets • Community leaders • Health coalitions and partnerships • Libraries that serve the public • Health care organizations • Nonprofit agencies • Churches • Businesses • Lay health advisor programs
Where to find it • Chamber of Commerce • Internet searches • Newspapers • Networking
Phase 3: Collecting Local Information What key informants know What other community members know and do
Important Local Information • Opinion leaders • Innovators and early adopters • Health information and computer access for residents • Computer experience of residents • Community assets and resources
Levels of “Community” Assessment Target Community Larger Community
Innovators and Early Adopters • Who in the community needs better access to health information resources ? • Who has had habits or experiences that prepared them for using this resource? • Who seems most motivated to learn to use the resources?
Innovators and Early Adopters • Who in the community has experience with and access to technology? • Who is most likely to see tangible results from using the technology?
Types of Information – Attitude toward “Innovation” Stages of change: • Pre-contemplation • Contemplation • Preparation • Action • Maintenance
Types of Information – Attitudes and Behaviors • What resources do people currently use for health resources? • What is their opinion of the information they receive? • How much do they use computers and the Internet?
Resources and Assets • Community events • Educational activities that can incorporate health information • Community training facilities
Partnership Resources • Partner organizations’ time, financial support, and other resources • What resources are available in the partners’ organization to support health information outreach? • Are there any anticipated resources that can be leveraged? (e.g., grant funding)
Methods • Key informant interviews • Review of existing data • Observations • Questionnaires • Focus groups • Public forums
Key Informants People who have specialized knowledge and unique perspectives about the community of interest. Find them through: • Networking • Groups and organizations • Recommendations (you can ask key informants to suggest other key informants)
Qualities of Good Key Informants • Opinion leaders in the community (the people who can “get things done”) • Innovators and early adopters – who in the community needs your information?
Data from Individuals Interviews Observations Questionnaires Data from Groups Observations Focus groups Public forums Examples of Data Collection Methods