Shared Community Health Needs Assessments

Learning what communities need for better health.

young-man_standing_insetSince 2010, the Partnership’s health system members have committed to share funding and design of Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) in six southeastern Wisconsin counties in collaboration with 18 local public health departments. The CHNAs serve as the foundation from which hospitals and local health departments develop their respective community health improvement strategies.

Milwaukee County

In 2015 – 2016, a coordinated, multi-factorial CHNA was conducted by the five health systems in partnership with the Milwaukee Health Department and 11 other municipal health departments located in Milwaukee County.

Key Findings

The 2015 – 2016 CHNA key findings for Milwaukee County were compiled by the Center for Urban Population Health. They include:

  • Top health issues: chronic disease, alcohol & other drugs, mental health and violence
  • Top health care issues: access to care (especially oral health and behavioral health) and care coordination
  • Top public & community health issues (requiring broader community participation): behavioral health; obesity, nutrition and physical activity; chronic disease; violence; sexual health; health literacy; poverty, racism and other social determinants


This comprehensive CHNA was comprised of three data sources:

  • Milwaukee County Community Health Survey  — An 18 minute, phone based survey of 1,967 Milwaukee County residents that addresses adult and child health risk factors, health behaviors and perceptions of pressing community health needs. Conducted in the region since 2003, it is based on the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, which includes questions related to health care access, routine screenings, immunizations, injury prevention, communicable diseases, mental health, chronic disease, women’s health, tobacco and alcohol use, diet, physical activity, and other health behaviors.
  • Key Informant Interviews — Conducted with 41 civic and health leaders, and 4 focus groups to identify community health needs, contributing social factors and organizations best suited to address those issues.
  • Secondary Data Analysis — A review of Milwaukee health indicators taken from local, state and national sources and studies.