Ranking Communities by Their Characteristics and Health Needs

The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is forcing every community to re-examine their view of health.  While most politicians and the media have primarily focused on the seminal achievement of the legislation, expanding health insurance and market reforms, there are numerous lesser known provisions within the sweeping health reform bill.  In particular, the ACA links public health and clinical care by imposing new requirements on tax-exempt hospitals, requiring a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) at least once every three years.


In the Fall 2012 Semester, the students of Political Science 310 – an upper level undergraduate health policy course at Grand Valley State University, set out to think about the overall health of Kent County, Michigan in a new way, a collaborative student effort to assess the health needs of each of Kent County’s 128 communities using publicly available data sources.  The result is Community Health Score, inspired by Dante Chinni's Patchwork Nation and  the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institutes's County Health Rankings.*  The  work continues today.   Using the table below, click any of the four links for more information.

Methodological Influences

Patchwork Nation Influences

County Health Rankings Influences