Developing a congregational health needs assessment: Lessons learned from using a participatory research approach

Brook E. Harmon, Emily Rose N.San Diego, Latrice C. Pichon, Terrinieka W. Powell, Fedoria Rugless, Lauren McCann, Lottie L. Minor, Rachel Davis, Christina Underhill, Bettina Campbell, John B. Smith, Sterling McNeal, Jean Evans, Veronica Calvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Health needs assessments help congregations identify issues of importance to them and the communities they serve. Few tools exist, with little known about the processes needed to develop such tools. Objective: Develop a congregational health needs assessment tool and implementation protocol with community, health-care, and academic partners. Methods: Meetings began in August 2018 to develop the Mid-South Congregational Health Needs Survey (MSCHS) and implementation protocol. Pilot testing occurred in December 2018 and feedback from 95 churches was used in modifications. Results: The MSCHS includes: demographics section, a 36-item health index, and the congregation’s top five needs. The implementation protocol includes steps for working with congregation leadership to identify members to complete the survey. Conclusions: Cross-disciplinary partnerships made the creation of the MSCHS and implementation protocol pos-sible. Successes include long-term engagement across partnership sectors, organizational “buy-in,” and development of a common language. These lessons can help others wanting to develop successful multi-sector partnerships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-58
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Disease Prevention
  • Faith-Based Organizations
  • Health Promotion
  • Mutlidisciplinary Partnerships
  • Social Determinants of Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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