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Community Health Needs Assessment & Health Improvement Planning (CHNA & HIP)

At least every five years, local boards of health lead a community-wide discussion with stakeholders and residents about their community’s health needs. After identifying needs in the community, the next step is to identify objectives and strategies to address those needs. The process, Community Health Needs Assessment and Health Improvement Plan (CHNA & HIP) is a fundamental element in statewide planning. CHNA & HIP has more than a 20-year history in Iowa and represents local action to promote and protect the health of Iowans.

Federal requirements for nonprofit hospitals to conduct community health needs assessments present an opportunity for hospitals and local boards of health/local public health agencies to join forces to identify needs and craft strategies for meeting them. Working together can result in greater collaboration between hospitals and local public health departments and an initiation of new partnerships. Both groups in the health system stand to gain from the relationship. Even more important, the community benefits when data, resources, and expertise are shared to attain the common goal of a healthier community.

To integrate Iowa’s established community health needs assessment process for local boards of health with the new federal requirements for nonprofit hospitals, the Iowa Department of Public Health has developed the following position statement, which describes the department's commitment to encouraging a collaborative process, and an FAQ document about steps being taken to support this collaboration.

Resources for Implementation and Measuring Progress


  • Community Tool Box: University of Kansas resource provides tips and tools for taking action in communities.
  • Diet, Obesity, and Weight Stigma Reports and Policy Briefs: The Rudd Center, Yale University clearinghouse for resources related to nutrition and obesity.
  • Diet, Obesity, and Weight: Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity - CDC’s comprehensive recommendations to promote healthy eating and active living and reduce the prevalence of obesity.
  • Disability Resources Database: A free information and referral service for Iowans with disabilities and their families and service providers. Provides information over the phone or by email about agencies and organizations that serve Iowans with disabilities.
  • Guide to Community Preventive Services: For information on Using the Guide to Community Preventive Services.pdf, view this slide presentation on how the CDC guide can help hospitals, public health agencies, and other stakeholders make decisions about adopting evidence-based strategies for improving their communities’ health.
  • Healthy People 2020: Get started implementing Healthy People 2020 in your community with tools and resources for planning a successful public health intervention. Whether you are new to the field or just brushing up on your knowledge, the Program Planning section of Tools & Resources walks you through the basics of planning, implementing, and tracking your public health program.
  • Population Health Driver Diagram: Steps to achieve health objectives using a tree diagram framework.
  • Sexual Health Education Toolkit: Videos, community resources, lesson plans, and fact sheets to promote wellness developed by the Sexual Health Alliance of Linn and Johnson Counties.
  • What Works for Health: Comprehensive information from the County Health Rankings initiative to help communities select and implement evidence-informed policies, programs, and systems change. The identified policies and programs are organized by specific health factors of interest (e.g., alcohol use under “Health Behaviors,” access to care under “Clinical Care,” community safety under “Social and Economic Factors,” etc.), or by the primary user (e.g., by community leader, health care professional, government official, educator).
  • What Works? Strategies to Improve Rural Health provides proven and innovative solutions communities can implement locally to improve health behaviors, clinical care, the physical environment, and the social & economic circumstances that affect health.


County Data


Page last reviewed: May 7, 2018.

Page last updated: May 7, 2018.

Content source: Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Planning Services

For more information:

Jonn Durbin
Lucas State Office Building
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075
Phone: (515) 281-8936

Use the "Contact Us" page to submit questions online.