Community Needs Assessment (CNA) – Yes You CAN!


Marketing Manager

The origin of the Community Needs Assessment (CNA) for CoC-accredited Cancer Programs stems back to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Future of Public Health (1988) definition which states that “An understanding of the determinants of health and of the nature and extent of community need is a fundamental prerequisite to sound decision-making about health…systemically collect, assemble, analyze, and make available information on the health of the community, including statistics on health status, community health needs, and epidemiologic and other studies of health problems.  The extent to which information will be generated directly or collected from other sources will vary depending on the size of the agency and of the population served.”

The role of the Cancer Committee in targeting community needs is to be involved in the scope of the CNA along with the design and evaluation of the tools and resources used for your particular community whether it is local, regional, state data all depends are your defined population. Keep in mind the CNA is to be completed at least once every survey cycle (3 years).

Valuable resources for many cancer programs during the CNA process may include any of the following:

  • American Cancer Society – Cancer Facts and Figures
  • The Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings and Road Maps
  • Health Indicators Warehouse
  • Healthy People 2020
  • Your state, county or city department of public health

Ensure that if your facility is developing a CNA for all health issues, that cancer care and concerns are included and addressed in that specific evaluation.   The information should outline economic issues, late stage disease concerns, alcohol and/or tobacco abuse, education levels with a focus on prevention and early detection of cancer. Keep in mind, if you do not know the problem, how can you find the solution?