MHD504_SLP 2


Module 2 - Background

Planning Health Promotion Programs: Needs Assessment

Required Reading

The Community Toolbox-University of Kansas. Retrieved from

Assessing Needs [PowerPoint presentation]. (n.d.). PowerPoint presentation about Assessing Needs, including primary and secondary data collection.

Optional Resources

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2018). General format. Retrieved from

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2018). In-text citations: The basics. Retrieved from

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2018). Reference list: Basic rules. Retrieved from

Module 2 - Home

Planning Health Promotion Programs: Needs Assessment

Modular Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, the student will be able to satisfy the following outcomes:

· Case

· Discuss what a needs assessment is, the steps involved in the needs assessment, and why it is important for public health planners to conduct a needs assessment before embarking on any health promotion program/intervention.

· Describe and discuss the 5 phases of assessment in the PRECEDE-PROCEED model.


· Discuss the behavioral, predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing factors for a specific health problem for a specific population from a public health perspective.

· Discussion

· Discuss what some of the most important health problems in the population are and the potential for change.

Module Overview

Needs assessment constitutes the first step in planning any health promotion initiative. It is the process of identifying and analyzing the priority health problem and the nature of the target group for the purpose of planning any health promotion action.

Needs assessment purposes are to identify as much relevant information as possible to guide the development of best practice programs and activities, to ensure that programs and activities are planned, are as effective as possible and are most likely to achieve their goals and objectives, and to ensure that communities are engaged in identifying their needs.

The needs assessment attempts to understand the setting and the people and the relationship between the two. We have to analyze the population before determining the health problems.

The Needs Assessment in the PRECEDE-PROCEED Model

In the PRECEDE-PROCEED program, the needs assessment corresponds to phases 1 to 5:

Phase 1: Social assessment (or diagnosis, diagnosis and assessment are used interchangeably in PRECEDE-PROCEED) assessing quality of life and referring to subjectively defined problems and priorities of individuals or communities.

Examples of social indicators: absenteeism, comfort, self-esteem, votes, welfare. These may be more relevant to individuals and communities than the abstract notion of health.

Phase 2: Epidemiological assessment assessing health indicators.

Examples of indicators: disability, morbidity, mortality

Phase 3: Behavioral and environmental assessment consists of identifying the specific health-related behavioral and environmental factors that could be related to the health problems chosen as most deserving attention in Phase 2.

Examples of behavioral indicators: self-care, consumption patterns, physical activity, service utilization. Examples of environmental factors: economic, social, physical, and services.

Planners need to be rigorous in identifying and ranking the lifestyle and environmental factors that the program will influence.

Phase 4: Educational and Ecological assessment deals with the factors that can influence behavior and the environment. These factors are: predisposing factors (knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, values, and perceptions), reinforcing factors (the rewards received and the feedback the learner receives from others following the adoption of the behavior), and enabling factors (availability and accessibility of resources, skills). These are the factors your interventions will target.

Phase 5: Administrative and Policy assessment: assesses organizational and administrative capabilities and resources for the development and implementation of a program.


Not all of these following approaches need to be used in a needs assessment, but they serve here as a checklist to assure all points have been addressed or covered:

· Develop a general statement of what the program is expected to accomplish

What are the goals and objectives?

What are the expected ends (outcomes) of the program? Are these only the expectations of the institution or do they include that of the client as well and/or society?

Are they measurable? What are the units of measurement?

This necessary first-step is to establish agreement between those being evaluated and those doing the evaluation. It provides the scope of that evaluation.

If program administrators do not understand what the outcomes of their program are, the task of evaluation is made infinitely more difficult, but may add added importance to the process.

· Determine the degree and nature of the problem that the program is expected to address and determine the level of accomplishment that might actually be realized

Does a problem actually exist for which the service is intended?

What is the level of service actually provided?

What is that level of service's impact on the problem?

Determining the level of the problem is important for two reasons:

Assures that a verifiable baseline of information against which the program can be assessed is provided, and

It provides a critical assessment of whether the assumed problems are indeed real problems.

· Determine the strategies that should be employed by the program to attack the problem.

What are the real problems? (re-stating the problem)

What are the proposed strategies for solving the problem (preferably in prioritized order and aside from those identified in the program)

What is the understanding or perception of the clients of the outcomes or objectives of a new/amended program?

What is the feasibility of implementing those other/different/amended strategies?

· Specify criteria that are to be used to assess successful realization of the objectives.

What are the criteria to realize success in achieving the objectives or strategies for solving the problem?

      Are the criteria assessable and measurable?

· Construct a conceptual causal chain that describes the process by which the program intervention is expected to influence the desired outcome.

By establishing a logical sequence of events by which the problem can be solved, the evaluator can determine whether or not the solutions or objectives need to be re-thought.

It also provides a clue to providers that suggested changes will actually improve the program for realization of goals and objective