Community Health Needs Assessment: A tool to collaborate and increase the health and well-being of our community

January 4, 2023  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Implementation Plan is a requirement for nonprofit health systems, which allows Michigan Medicine to evaluate its community-based work to see if it is aligning with both the data and the community voice. 

In short, the CHNA allows the organization to support people, projects and organizations that are impacting health equity and the social determinants of health (SDOH). The SDOH focuses on areas such as housing, education, employment, etc.

Michigan Medicine is a health care system that strives to provide high-quality care to patients so they may experience optimal health results. That means ensuring that the environments patients, employees and other community members return to give them the best opportunity to live a healthy life. The CHNA – which has been conducted since 2012 – is just one avenue utilized in making the community surrounding the institution healthier.

In 2016, Michigan Medicine formed a collaboration with Chelsea Hospital and Trinity Health Ann Arbor to conduct a joint needs assessment for the greater Washtenaw County area. Since then, the collaboration has conducted a total of three needs assessments and is working on the third joint implementation plan (IP).

The current three health priority areas are:

  • Mental health and substance use disorders
  • Obesity and related illnesses
  • Pre-conceptual and perinatal health disorders


The collaboration, named United Implementation Plan Team Engagement (UNITE). takes a holistic approach to the priority health areas and views them in relation to the SDOH. 

In 2021, UNITE identified three social determinants of health to concentrate on housing/homelessness, poverty, social Isolation and three emerging determinants: incarceration, climate change and medical debt.

In order to operationalize the CHNA and IP, Michigan Medicine has devoted monies that are distributed through a grants program to community-based organizations and internal community-based programs that target SDOH. Since 2017, the organization has been able to fund 27 projects to help increase supportive housing for foster youth, provide legal support to patients directly in a health clinic, operationalize a youth empowerment program, provide housing support to seniors and many others.

Michigan Medicine has renewed its commitment to distributing monies proactively within the community. Therefore, a new funding opportunity will be open from now until Jan. 20. 

Faculty, staff, students and community-based nonprofits can apply for funding in three categories (see link below for more details).

Also, Michigan Medicine is hoping to continue to drive more community outreach and engagement activities within the three priority areas. 

The Community Benefit and Community Health Needs Assessment team would love to talk to you about tailoring or future activity planning. Please reach out to if you are interested in learning how to increase your potential impact and align with the CHNA.

CHS funding opportunity

To learn more about this opportunity, visit the Community Benefit Website or contact