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About the Community Health Assessment Board

Linking Community to Academe through the HSRR

The CHAB and the HSRR share the common goal of improving community health and well-being using evidence-based decision-making known as applied or translational research.  Many community providers lack the resources to have in-house evaluation and research support. One of CHAB’s three goals is linking community practitioners such as government, health care, social service providers—with academics who have expertise in translational research. The HSRR is uniquely suited to fill this role through inter-institutional collaboration leading to the creation of interdisciplinary research teams. HSRR faculty can partner with CHAB members to address numerous community needs.  Here are a few examples:

  • Measuring trends in health status, access, and behaviors.
  • Prioritizing areas of greatest need.
  • Researching, implementing, and evaluating health interventions.
  • Measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of programs and services.
  • Developing evidence-based policy and program recommendations for local and regional policy makers, public health, and health care administrations.

What is the current focus of the CHAB?

The CHAB’s current project is to implement a systematic and periodic community and sector-wide community needs assessment. Assessing the needs of our communities and using data to drive decision-making is mandated for many CHAB member organizations. Historically, many of these assessments were completed individually.  Yet, most identified the same priorities—like mental health and substance use. A collective approach may have allowed for cohesive decision-making, local and regional prioritization of health problems, quicker implementation of improvements and increased funding through grants focused on evidence -based outcomes.

Spokane County’s next community based needs assessment is scheduled to begin during the first quarter (January – March) of 2018. We are now preparing for this needs assessment. Through the systematic review and prioritization of population-level data from multiple stakeholders, the needs assessment is anticipated to produce a set of sub-priorities within each of the six areas identified below.  This assessment will also yield a final set of cross-cutting priorities to guide decision makers.

  • Housing and transportation
  • Health
  • Education
  • Economic Development
  • Environment
  • Community Safety

Ideally, with the assistance of HSRR faculty, a community research agenda can be developed to accelerate achieving the identified priorities.

For more information please contact Stacy Wenzl at or 509.324.1698.