Assessing health in an urban neighborhood: community process, data results and implications for practice

J Community Health. 1998 Jun;23(3):211-26. doi: 10.1023/a:1018720515644.


This article examines the community process and data results of a health assessment conducted in an urban neighborhood of a middle-size city in Western Massachusetts. It describes the four-stage development process of the Health Assessment Project (HAP), a collaboration of the UMASS School of Public Health faculty and students, community based organizations and youth residents: (1) planning with a contemporary participatory approach, (2) implementing the data collection with traditional survey methodology, (3) tailoring the data analysis for a presentation at a community forum and report, and (4) incorporating the community's reaction to data results. In addition, it presents selected data results on health conditions of individual household members and perceived community health concerns and resources. Salient data results include high rates of chronic health conditions such as asthma and other respiratory problems among residents 0-18, back pain and other musculoskeletal among younger adults 19-54, and high blood pressure and other cardi-circulatory problems among older adults age 55 and older. The three most prevalent perceived community concerns are substance abuse, gangs and drug dealing. Identified community resources include sources of (1) providers of primary care, (2) health information as family/friends and Spanish media, (3) social activity such as churches and schools. Finally, this paper concludes by discussing implications for community health practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community Health Planning / methods*
  • Community Participation
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Support
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data