Applied health research project



You are very close to completing all requirements for your Master’s Degree. This semester you will

“Apply to Graduate”

(online) and submit your completed

Candidacy Form

to your advisor at least one week before the University deadline. You will also finish your coursework, complete your

Applied Project

and your

Comprehensive Exam

s. Be sure to stay in close contact with your advisor throughout the semester.


During this project, students will demonstrate their ability to…

prepare for the development of a community heatlh profile and assessment

· Identify and describe a neighborhood or ‘community’ and priority population

· Describe the scope and focus of the assessment (specific health problem and behaviors that may lead to that problem).

· Describe data collection methods and sources

· Identifying acquisition process and sources of demographic information

· Identifying specific programs, initiatives and/or policies

· Identifying and scheduling interviews with key informants

· Developing interview questions

· Identifying method for recording and documenting interview

IDentify, collect, analyze and interpret community health information in different settings

· Identify and interpret secondary information (demographics, health trends, etc.)

· Identify, interview, analyze and interpret related attitudes and perceptions of community resident(s)

· Identify, review and compare processes, strategies and activities
of at least three community programs, initiatives or polices to best

· Identify, interview, analyzing and interpret interviews of at least
three program leaders and one ‘community’ member related to selected

· Review and rate data collected from a community needs assessment.

· Describe community health status

· Identify community strengths and areas for improvement

· Identify and describe excessive duplication

· Identify and describe potential gaps in services and resources

· Identify and prioritize potential strategies for improvement

Communicate health, resource and program informaiton through oral, written, digital, and visual presentation

· Summarize information through use of written text, tables, figures and graphics.

· Present HPRO faculty with a comprehensive paper clearly explaining
all aspects of project planning, implementation and outcomes.

· Present HPRO faculty with a brief presentation (powerpoint with
audio or video) of all aspects of project planning, implementation and


A three credit hour Applied Project may be completed in one semester
if students stay focused and submit high quality products during each
phase of the project at the scheduled times. To meet University
deadlines the project must be defended and comprehensive finals must be
completed approximately three weeks prior to the end of the semester. To
encourage students to stay on track and successfully complete the
project each phase will be submitted before a designated due date.
Students will receive advisor feedback and complete revisions before
moving to the next phase.


The Applied Project should be completed during the last semester of
the coursework for the master’s degree. At least 21 credit hours of
required courses must have been completed prior to registering for the
Applied Project.

Community Assessment OVERVIEW


What is a “Community” ?

Communities are typically defined by a geographic area; however,
they can also be based on shared interests or characteristics such as
religion, race, age, or occupation. People within a community come from
different backgrounds and have unique cultures, customs, and values.
Before you conduct a community assessment you be able to clearly
identify and describe the community or neighborhood of interest.

What is a Community Health Assessment?

community health assessment provides a snapshot of local community
health status, health behaviors, policies, systems, programs and
strategies currently in place aimed at improving the health of community
residents. It also helps to identify areas for improvement. With this
information, plans can be made to develop a plan for community health
improvement by creating strategies for positive and sustainable changes
in the community.


The Applied Project Community Assessment has three phases:

PHASE I: During this phase you will describe your community,
priority population and health problem of focus. Then you will identify
ALL resources, programs, initiatives and services related to the
identified program in your community. You will conduct an observational
analysis of the community identifying characteristics resources and
services related to your project and record your findings. You will then
analyze your data and identify over-duplication and gaps in services.

PHASE II: The objective of Phase II is to gain more insight into
at least three of the programs or initiatives identified in Phase I.
During this phase you will conduct key informant interviews with leaders
of at least three programs or initiatives identified in Phase I. You
will develop and submit a paper describing your community, the
health problem, phase I outcomes (resources, observations, etc.),
project methods (secondary data, key informant interviews, interview
questions), results (themes from interviews, etc.) and Discussion
(suggestions and recommendations for programming, policy, systems,
and/or environmental change to address the health problem in the
identified community).

PHASE III. During this phase of the project you will develop an
oral presentation of your project. This will be presented to your
advisor and ultimately to your committee as either a narrated powerpoint
(adding narration to each poweroint slide) or as a powerpoint with
video (you may use a variety of software options for this,
Screencast-O-Matic is a free screen recording software that is free (15
min limit) and easy to use. Your final presentation should be 15-20

Community Assessment Focus

Programs, Initiatives, Resources

The primary focus of the Applied Project Community Assessment is
identification of ALL programs, initiatives and resources related to the
health problem that are easily available to the priority population.
Most communities have access to a wide variety of services, be sure to
include all! It is also important to explore various factors that
influence the availability of resources such as policies, systems and


This involves laws, regulations, rules, protocols, and procedures
that are designed to guide or influence behavior. Policies can be either
legislative or organizational. Policies often mandate environmental
changes and increase the likelihood that they will become
institutionalized or sustainable. Examples of legislative policies
include taxes on tobacco products, provision of county or city public
land for green spaces or farmers’ markets, regulations governing a
national school lunch program, and clean indoor air laws. Examples of
organizational policies include requiring healthy food options for all
students, menu labeling in restaurants, and required quality assurance
protocols or practices (e.g., clinical care processes).


This involves strategies that affects all community components
including social norms of an organization, institution or system. It may
include a policy or environmental change strategy. Policies are often
the driving force behind systems change. Examples of systems influences
are implementing a national school lunch program across a region or
provincial school system or ensuring a hospital system becomes tobacco


This focus relates to the physical, social, or economic factors
designed to influence individual and group practices and behaviors. Examples of alterations or changes to the environment include:

Physical: Structural changes or the presence of programs or
services, including the presence of healthy food choices in restaurants
or cafeterias, improvements in the built environment to promote walking
(e.g., walking paths), the availability of smoking cessation services to
patients or workers, and the presence of comprehensive school health
education curricula in schools.

Social: A positive change in attitudes or behavior about policies
that promote health or an increase in supportive attitudes regarding a
health practice, including an increase in favorable attitudes of
community decision makers about the importance of nonsmoking policies or
an increase in nonacceptance of exposure to second-hand smoke from the
general public.

Economic: The presence of financial disincentives or incentives
to encourage a desired behavior including charging higher prices for
tobacco products to decrease their use or the provision of nonsmoker
health insurance discounts.

Project Steps

In this project you will gather and assess information on community
assets and determine areas for improvement. The process is modeled after
and informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation (CHANGE). The following
steps encourage progression toward success.

1. Plan and Organize

a. Identify community including geographic boundaries (neighborhood,
county, city) or demographic characteristics. Large counties and/or
metropolitan cities should be narrowed to a specific neighborhood or
group at risk.

b. Identify priority population

c. Develop strategy or process for collecting demographic and
behavioral information (may use secondary data sources i.e. CDC, health
dept., etc )

d. Develop process for identification of existing resources

e. Develop process of observation of community resources, behaviors, etc.

f. Develop process for identification of key informants (one community resident, three leaders of programs in three different settings).

i. Settings include: Community at large, Organizations / Community Institution, Health Care, School, Worksite

g. Develop interview questions for key informants

h. Identify Key Informants

2. Gather Information

a. Data Sources

1. Existing data (i.e. CDC, health dept., websites, etc.),

2. Observation (walkability, food access, etc.),

3. Key Informant Interviews

b. Gather Secondary Information

i. Describe the specific community

ii. Describe community health status

iii. Describe the priority population

iv. Identify targeted health problem and contributing behaviors

v. Identify existing programs, initiatives, and policies related to the Health Problem

c. Conduct and document key informant interviews

i. Community resident

ii. Leaders from three different programs focusing on the targeted
health behavior and targeted population from three different settings

3. Record, Review and Analyze Information and Provide Recommendations for Improvement

a. Review, analyze and Interpret information

b. Identify and provide suggestions for improvements

4. Present Outcomes

a. Write and submit paper (follow APA guidelines)

b. Prepare and submit narrated presentation (narrated powerpoint or video ppt)

PART I: Community Health Assessment

Community Health Assessment: A community health assessment
is a collection of information about the health and wellness
characteristics of the community. It will include community
demographics, health challenges, health resources, and health
perceptions. For this first part of your project you will describe the
identified community and health problem by providing demographic and
socioeconomic information, health challenges and health resources. You


community health promotion services, programs and resources. You will provide a detailed table of all resources and a visual display of this information by creating a map of the information, programs, etc. Remember, only include programs, initiatives and resources that have a behavior change focus
and provide a specific health promotion program/service/resource
on the map. Once you have assessed your community through research,
observation and exploration please submit the following components in ONE WORD DOCUMENT.

1. Community overview that describes your community and
its health status (demographics, SES, positive health aspects, health
risks and challenges, potential causes for risks/issues, and community
health priorities);

2. Detailed table of all resources and services related to the health problem;

3. Map of services with legend that designates focus of service.

PART II: Community Engagement

During this phase of the Applied Project you will

1. conduct four key informant interviews and

2. write and submit findings in an academic paper.

Focusing on your identified health problem and priority population identify at least three different
programs, initiatives, or policies that are attempting to address the
issue. Conduct one interview with an individual (participant) in the
priority population, and the program leaders of at three different
programs from three different settings (i.e. government, school,
community, etc). Remember that each of the leaders interviewed must lead a specific program, initiative, or policy addressing the health issue. The
purpose of these interviews is to ascertain stakeholders’ perspectives
on (1) what makes a healthy community, (2) the availability and adequacy
of resources related to the identified health problem and population
within the community, and (3) how their program/policy/initiative
addresses the need.

It is critical that you are well prepared before meeting for the
interview. Prior to scheduling the interview be sure to research and
understand the initiative and be able to describe best practices for
(1) meeting the identified health need in the priority population, (2)
program, initiative or policy content and strategies, (3) program,
initiative or policy outcome potential, (4) recruitment and retention
processes, and (5) community/stakeholder engagement. Once you understand
best practices for your focus and have finalized the interview
questions (outlined below) contact the key informants and schedule the
interviews. While you certainly want to gain all insights from each
person, the interviews should be semi-structured in nature to be sure to
address all needed information. Please ask the following questions
that address the following concepts, and be sure to add in probes or
other questions as needed. Record all responses.

General Interview Questions

1. From a health perspective, how would you describe your community?

a. What are its strengths?

b. What are its most significant challenges?

2. How would you describe a ‘healthy’ community?

a. In what ways is your community healthy?

b. In what ways is your community less healthy or unhealthy?

3. What resources are available within the community that promote healthy living? Please describe.

a. Are there enough available resources? Why or why not?

b. What other resources are needed?

4. Please give me an overview of this program/initiative/policy.

a. What are the mission, goals, and objectives of this program or
initiative? OR What is the purpose of the policy? Who will it reach?
What are the anticipated outcomes?

b. What are the strengths of the program?

c. What are the challenges that you have encountered?

d. Make sure to probe about the best practices categories if not already identified in the above questions.

i. How do they meet priority population need?

ii. Why did they select the adopted strategies? How did they develop program content and strategies?

iii. What are the recruitment and retention processes?

iv. How did they engage community/stakeholders?

5. What outcomes have you seen from the program/initiative/policy?

6. What impact do you feel this program/initiative/policy has on the community at large?

7. Do you feel this program, initiative or policy is sustainable? If so how? If not why not?

Report the information by summarizing your findings as follows:

· Health Problem (prevalence, contributing factors)

· Individual in the Priority Population

· Overview, Community Strengths, Community Challenges, Observations and Recommendations

· Leader 1 (Government)

· Overview, Description of Strategy (program/initiative/policy),
Major themes and supporting quotes, Observations and Recommendations

· Leader 2 (Organization)

· Overview, Description of Strategy (program/initiative/policy),
Major themes and supporting quotes , Observations and Recommendations

· Leader 3 (School)

· Overview, Description of Strategy (program/initiative/policy) Major
themes and supporting quotes, Observations and Recommendations

· Reflection and Synthesis of the individual programs and the potential multi-level influence these programs may have on community health

· Lastly, address the following question

· “
How did conducting the key informant interviews increase your awareness of your community’s health and the available resources?”

· In the appendices, attach the names, organization, and contact
information of the three key informants, as well as all of your
interview questions.


APA Format

I. Abstract (250 word limit)

a. Background

b. Methods

c. Results

d. Conclusions

II. Introduction and Background

a. Community Overview and Description

i. Defining the Community (location, population, health and cultural characteristics)

ii. Health Problem, (Prevalence, Costs, Contributing Behaviors)

iii. Priority Population (characteristics, predisposing, enabling, reinforcing factors, etc).

b. Community Resources addressing Health Problem

i. Resources

ii. Barriers

iii. Associated Risks

c. Priority Population

III. Methodology

a. Collection of Secondary Data

i. Community Characteristics

ii. Demographics

iii. Health Resources

b. Development of Resource Map

c. Conducting Key Informant Interviews

d. Analyses

IV. Findings

a. Community Health Status and Services (Table)

b. Community Map of Resources (Figure)

c. Duplication and Gaps

d. Individual in the Priority Population

i. Overview, Community Strengths, Community Challenges, Observations and Recommendations

e. Leader 1 (Government)

i. Overview, Description of Strategy (program/initiative/policy), Major themes and supporting quotes, Observations and Recommendations

f. Leader 2 (Organization)

i. Overview, Description of Strategy (program/initiative/policy), Major themes and supporting quotes, Observations and Recommendations

g. Leader 3 (School)

i. Overview, Description of Strategy (program/initiative/policy), Major themes and supporting quotes, Observations and Recommendations

h. Summary of Key Findings (common themes, etc)

V. Conclusions

a. Summary of Key Findings

b. Conclusion and Recommendations

VI. Bibliography

VII. Appendices

a. Appendix A: Key Informant and Contact Information

b. Appendix B: Key Informant Interview Questions

c. Appendix C: Resident and Key Informant Interview ANWERS


The final step in the Applied Project is to summarize your findings
in a narrated powerpoint (or video) presentation that is informative,
integrative and reflective. The presentation should be comprehensive in
scope and reflective in nature. It should synthesize your efforts,
approaches, and findings, but should be no more than 20 minutes in
duration. Slides may include (but not limited to) the following….

1. Introduction

a. Community Overview

b. Positive Health Aspects

c. Health Risks, Challenges, Causes, Priorities

d. Highlighted Health Problem

2. Methodology

a. Demographics (how collected)

b. Health Resources (how identified)

c. Key Informant Interviews (how selected, how conducted, etc.)

d. Analysis (How resources and interviews were reviewed and analyzed)

3. Results

a. Community Health Status and Services TABLE

i. Duplication of Services

ii. Gaps in Services

iii. MAP (Figure 1)

b. Community Map of Resources FIGURE

c. Targeted Initiatives

d. Interviewees

e. Interview Common Themes

4. Conclusions and Recommendations

a. Summary of Key Findings

b. Recommendations

5. Bibliography

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