Community Health Needs Assessment

Children’s National is committed to conducting a community health needs assessment (CHNA) every three years to understand the health and healthcare status of Washington, DC, residents. The assessment will guide the hospital in targeting its resources to achieve the greatest impact on health and wellness at a population-level. 

The most recent assessment was released in June 2013. This assessment was sponsored by the DC Healthy Communities Collaborative: a consortium of DC hospitals and community health centers that have joined forces to reduce health disparities and increase healthy equity for the most vulnerable DC populations. Children’s National is a founding member of the DC Healthy Communities Collaborative.

The DC Healthy Communities Collaborative partnered with the RAND Corporation to conduct this study. It is a first-of-its-kind citywide assessment that provides a comprehensive report of the health and healthcare of residents in the District. The assessment relied heavily on data within the DC Health Matters portal. The assessment is a unique blend of both quantitative data and qualitative community perspectives that provides a comprehensive and grassroots view of the state of health in the District.

Summary Findings

The CHNA revealed six priority areas: asthma, obesity, mental health, sexual health, stress related disorders (e.g., headache, back pain), and general access to health services. Priority areas were determined using a combination of quantitative (administrative, survey) and qualitative (focus group) data analysis, as well as considering broader national health priority areas, paying particular attention to issues that have persisted over the last decade or experienced a recent increase in the District. 

Despite high insurance rates, health care services are not evenly distributed by ward, creating significant challenges to access. There is a need for the expansion of these services, as well as greater care coordination between health and social services to help residents navigate the system and obtain needed services. 

Planning for Action

To respond to the findings of the needs assessment the DC Healthy Communities Collaborative, with input from community stakeholders, developed a community health improvement plan. To engage our community stakeholders in this process, the DC Healthy Communities Collaborative conducted a community forum that provided an opportunity for health professionals, public and elected officials, non-profit organizations, academia, businesses, parents and families, and individual citizen-advocates to review the findings from the assessment. 

Forum participants then assisted with developing and supporting a citywide community health improvement plan that responds to the findings of the assessment. The community health improvement plan provides a targeted and coordinated approach to addressing the priority areas with the ultimate goal of improving local health and quality of life for DC residents. 

As the only pediatric focused member of the DCHCC, Children’s National identified two additional health priorities—oral health and injury prevention. Using the DCHCC Citywide Community Health Improvement Plan as a basis, Children’s National developed a Community Health Improvement Plan approved and adopted by the Children’s National Board of Directors.

Telling Our Story

Children’s National provides an annual Community Benefit Report. We are pleased to present We Stand for Children., the community benefit report for fiscal year 2013. Our vision has been the motivation behind a number of forward-focused initiatives, highlighted within the report, aimed at creating a lasting standard for prevention and community education, coupled with top-notch treatment and continuous improvement. 

We hope you enjoy the online report while learning about important programs that exemplify our commitment to our community. If you would like to receive a printed executive summary of the report, please contact

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