Community Health Needs

Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)

To understand health and social needs in our community, Boston Children’s conducts a comprehensive community needs assessment (CHNA) every three years. The findings inform the direction of our community health improvement plan to address those needs and how the hospital can best address issues through its community mission. It also helps to ensure that we are utilizing our resources and leveraging community partnerships in the most effective way.

Our formal and comprehensive needs assessment is only one part of our approach to understanding the complex health needs and vital resources within our community. We are constantly listening and learning from youth, parents, neighborhood residents, other health providers, city leaders and many others-about what concerns them the most.

For the 2016 CHNA, Boston Children’s used a participatory, collaborative approach and examined health in its broadest context. As part of the CHNA, Boston Children’s sought input from its Community Advisory Board members and engaged youth to design, collect and analyze data on youth perceptions of needs and opportunities. The assessment process also included reviewing existing data on social, economic and health indicators in Boston. Stakeholder interviews and focus groups with community residents were also conducted to explore health and social challenges for children and families, and recommendations for how to address these concerns. Additionally, Boston Children’s collaborated with other hospitals through the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals to gather information on community needs via four focus groups hosted by community coalitions.

Boston Children’s also gathered information on challenges faced by children with special needs and their families by attending a focus group listening session facilitated by Health Care for All. Lastly, the CHNA was informed by results from the community engagement process completed for the Boston Children's Collaboration for Community Health. This process, which was guided by an Advisory Group that met in person six times, included seven facilitated open community engagement sessions across the city of Boston. Four targeted small group discussions were also held with communities that were under-represented in the larger community sessions.

Some of the key themes from the CHNA included the impact of poverty on child and community health, issues around stable and affordable housing, concerns about food access and insecurity and the importance of prevention and focus on early childhood. Health issues of concern include asthma, obesity and mental/behavioral health

2016 Community Health Needs Assessment Materials


For a copy of the CHNA report click here. For a summary of our process and findings, click here. For a copy of the evaluation report about our community engagement process, click here.

For the 2016 Community Health and Benefits Strategic Implementation Plan, click here

Boston Children’s welcomes comments on its most recently completed CHNA and implementation strategy.  Comments may be submitted by email to or by mail to Boston Children’s Hospital, 300 Longwood Avenue, BCH 3173, Boston, MA 02115.  Attention: Shari Nethersole, MD, Executive Director, Office of Community Health.

Past Community Health Assessments

Click here for a copy of the 2013 CHNA report and click here for the 2013 Community Health and Benefits Plan.

 Click here for a copy of the 2009 CHNA report.