Module 7: Priority Setting for Health Programs

Data generated from the CHNA inform community decision-making, the prioritization of health problems, and the development and implementation of community health improvement plans.

Once the CHNA is complete, the next step is to determine which identified needs can be addressed through a health promotion, prevention or interventional program. In most cases, needs outstrip resources. Health planners and strategists must determine which priority health needs to address with the available resources, a process which requires asking the right questions.

  1. Which identified needs have the greatest impact in terms of:

• Premature mortality
• Morbidity
• Disability
• Activities of daily living
• Days lost from work
• Family suffering
• Quality of life
• Healthcare costs
• Community costs

  1. Which problems are the most changeable?
  2. Which problems have the greater potential for a positive yield in improved health status, economic savings or other benefits?
  3. Are there inequities associated with the problem? Are certain sub-populations at risk, such as teenagers, the elderly or immigrants?
  4. Which problem is not being addressed by other providers in the community?
  5. Is there a problem you identified in the community which is also ranked as a regional or national health priority?
  6. Which problem focus best aligns with your organization’s mission or strategic agenda?
  7. Considering dollars, people and time, how likely is it that an intervention will be successful?
  8. What is the evidence-base on interventions targeting this problem?


Criteria to consider when allocating scarce resources:

• Magnitude of the problem
• Importance of the problem
• Effectiveness of interventions
• Feasibility of implementing interventions