WIHI: Community Health Needs Assessments, Part 2: Lessons from North Carolina

Date: April 4, 2013


  • Dorothy Cilenti, DrPH, MPH, MSW, Senior Investigator, North Carolina Institute for Public Health; Clinical Assistant Professor, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • John Morrow, MD, MPH, Pitt County Health Director; Incoming President, North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors
  • Craig James, MPH, President and CEO, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital


One of the reasons it’s so hard to transform US health care into something that’s safe, value-driven, and patient-centered, but also focused on improving the health of the local community, is that the responsibilities and the responsible parties have grown up completely separately. For example, it is not a naturally occurring event for the local public health department to coordinate its efforts with local hospitals… except in cases of disease outbreaks or disaster. So, imagine how rare it is to sit down together to craft overlapping goals for population health or to hatch new initiatives to keep residents from needing expensive acute care. It helps to have a convener to bring parties together… which is why we examined one such coalition that has formed in North Carolina on this WIHI.

WIHI host Madge Kaplan invites you to hear what’s been going on under the auspices of the North Carolina Institute of Public Health (NCIPH), and the leadership of Dr. Dorothy Cilenti and her team. They’ve brought together local health directors like Dr. John Morrow of the North Carolina Hospital Association and hospital leaders like Craig James; leaders from community health centers; and many more, to lay the groundwork for the future of health and health care in the state. The effort has become especially relevant and pressing because of new federal requirements for nonprofit hospitals to engage in robust community health needs assessments, with help and input from other groups and agencies. These new IRS rules, and how to make them meaningful, were the focus of the March 21 WIHI, which we invite everyone to listen to as background and context for the April 4 discussion.

One of the more intriguing dimensions to the work in North Carolina is its explicit mission to create multiple “community health systems” throughout the state to build and model best practices for population health. The collaborative driven by NCIPH is also working on analyzing return on investment and economic impact to “create the business case for working collectively on improving community/population health.” We’ve got a great case study to learn more about on in this show. Please listen, and make your own work on population health and community health needs assessments all the richer.


Average Content Rating
(0 user)
Please login to rate or comment on this content.
User Comments