Key Concepts in Public Health identifies fifty key concepts used across the discipline of public health in order to give the reader a broad perspective of the core topics relevant to training and practice. From epidemiology to health promotion, and ethics to leadership, the book offers an exciting guide to the multiprofessional field. Each entry features a snapshot definition of the concept, a broader discussion addressing the main issues and links to practice, key points relevant to the entry, case studies to illustrate the application to practice, and examples of further reading.

Assessing Public Health Need

Assessing public health need


In the context of public health, Health Needs Assessment (HNA) has a very specific meaning. It is defined by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2005: 3) as ‘a systematic method for reviewing the health issues facing a population’. Thus it is the focus on the population rather than the individual that is the key attribute. NICE continues the definition by adding that its purpose is to lead to ‘agreed priorities and resource allocation that will improve health and reduce inequalities’. Hawtin et al. (1999), in describing community profiling comment that needs assessment should be carried out with the active involvement of the community.

Key Points

Health needs assessment:

  • is focused on populations, not individuals;
  • leads to agreement regarding ...
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