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After a two year partnership with the UNC Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, five area hospitals in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania have ratified the Community Health Needs Assessment and as well as a NHNA-based Action Plan.

The CHNA platform analyzes the driving factors of health in a community, and identifies community action and investment strategies to improve health conditions.

HPDP researchers Alex Lightfoot, PhD, and Molly DeMarco, PhD, worked with the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust, to help the Lehigh Valley Health Network achieve the CHNA standards.

“The Trust contracted with me and Molly De Marco to design and implement a process in collaboration with the HCC to reach out to underserved communities and ensure their input was included in the CHNA process,” Lightfoot said.

DeMarco and Lightfoot worked with community organizer Melvin Jackson to complete the assessment.

Lightfoot and Christina Younge Hardy were first contacted by the health network to provide an overview of the CBPR model in December 2011. Since then, Lightfoot and other HPDP researchers have worked with Lehigh Valley hospitals to incorporate CBPR standards into their health research and operation.

Following the hospitals’ work with HPDP, the Health Care Council of Lehigh Valley has signed a three year agreement to continue the initiative. According to Pool Trust Program Officer Ron Dendas, the individual stock within each institution has risen, population health strategies now play larger roles in hospital business

Lightfoot said she is excited about HPDP’s work in Lehigh Valley, and hopes to continue work with the area in the future.

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