Get curious. What do you hope to learn about your community? Begin by brainstorming the questions that will guide your assessment. Think about various layers of questions.
- Health Outcomes & Factors: The County Health Rankings model can help you think about additional information you might want to gather about your community. Communities we work with find the Broaden Your View section of Using the Rankings Data helpful. This section asks questions that take you beyond what the Rankings tell you. Here are some examples:
- What are the leading causes of death in our community?
- What percentage of 3-year-olds are enrolled in an early childhood program or preschool?
- What are our biggest employment sectors or industries?
- Gaps: You may see differences in opportunities for good health across county lines or between groups within communities. Look at your community's health by race, ethnicity, age, income, education or sexual orientation, among others, to reveal gaps. Here are some example questions to ask:
- How does life expectancy differ by age, race, neighborhood, etc.?
- How do graduation rates differ by race, neighborhood, etc.?
- Systems: These questions help you start moving toward root causes. To dig deeper, follow-up with “but why …” questions.
- What are the drivers of these gaps?
- What systems in our community perpetuate gaps?
- How does our community’s physical environment perpetuate gaps?
- What long-standing policies or cultural norms perpetuate gaps?
We also really like the questions included in the Equity and Empowerment Lens: 5 Ps Worksheet. This worksheet asks questions in the areas of People, Place, Process, Power, and Purpose. The questions are helpful to revisit throughout your process.
Who’s Asking? The people who you invite to help generate and answer questions bring their own lens to the conversation.
- Reach out to diverse stakeholders.
- Convene discussions on health gaps in your community.
- Create safe spaces for people to tell their truth.
Our Health Gaps Report Discussion Guide can help.
Get real. Decide which questions you’ll take action on and what you need to do.