In PH4002, you identified a public health problem that is occurring in your community, which you will use as the subject of your practicum project.

In addition to conferring with public health professionals and synthesizing data surrounding your public health problem, you also need to gain a clearer picture of the community and population involved. To do this, you will analyze the community first-hand by driving or walking around within it, noting the resources that are available in the community, and identifying possible contributing factors present in the community. Before embarking on your community assessment, read through the Report Template and Chapter 18 of the Stanhope and Lancaster textbook to ensure that you understand what is expected. You may also choose to search for examples of windshield surveys and community assessments on the Internet to gather ideas for your assessment.


After completing your community assessment, you will prepare a report that itemizes each of your observations and offers findings and conclusions. To aid in developing this report, there is a Community Assessment Report Template provided as a guide. This template is just a basic tool. You may need to add, delete, or modify the topics included based on your individual public health problem and community.


The Community Assessment Report Template includes the following sections and topics:


Section 1: Introduction


Explain the purpose of a community assessment and why you are performing it.

Explain how specific social determinants within the community might impact the overall health of the community.

Give a background of the health problem that you identified in PH4002 and describe any information that you have already gathered on the topic.

Define the section of the community that you are assessing:

The section of the community should correspond to the population selected for the practicum problem in PH4002.

Example 1: A lack of vaccination among elderly could focus on senior housing projects in a specific area.

Example 2: A lack of vaccination among low-income children and might focus on low-income housing situations in a specific area.

It is preferred that the selected area has specific boundaries if possible.

It is not feasible to perform the windshield survey of large areas such as the City of Chicago or Atlanta, the State of Wisconsin; you must select bounded areas such as from 99th Street North to 108th Street West, etc., since you must either walk around or drive around. Selecting a ZIP code is a common way of setting boundaries.

Note: It is not advisable to perform your windshield survey in an area that is unsafe. Also, perform your survey in daylight hours, and take any and all precautions to keep yourself safe.

If a specific target area cannot be identified because the problem is widespread throughout the area, then a section of the community that is new to you should be selected or a section that is home to a specific population (e.g. Chinatown, Manhattan, or The Fillmore District, San Francisco).

Give a description of the size and density of the population with which you are concerned. Include any appropriate demographics (e.g., race, ethnic groups, gender, age) both current and historically.

Section 2: Perform a Windshield Survey


The windshield survey should reflect that which is described in the Community Assessment Report Template and as noted in your readings. As each community is different, topics on the Community Assessment Report Template may need to be tailored to fit the needs of the selected population. It is critical for this part of the project that you actually drive or walk around the community that you are investigating.

Be sure to capture pictures of some observations to include in your report.

Section 3: Findings and Conclusions


Based on the information that you have gathered:

Explain your overall impression of the community and population.

Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the community and population.

Evaluate the overall healthiness of the community and population.

Analyze the safety of the community.

Make inferences about which elements that you observed may contribute to the health problem with which you are concerned.

Be sure to consider the social determinants of health, the cultural factors that apply, and any other specific observations regarding your population and community.

Support your responses with evidence from health data, literature, and observations.

Include a references page at the end of your report.

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