Community Needs Assessment

BEH conducts Community Needs Assessments focusing on access to, and quality of, neighborhood built environment resources. Through our NIEHS funded Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) project we conducted four targeted community needs assessments projects assessing resources identified by local community residents. Under the leadership of Dr. Gina Lovasi, we have recently been funded to conduct a comprehensive community needs assessment for Rio Das Pedras, a favella in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Targeted Community Needs Assessments in NYC

Measuring park access in the South Bronx and Upper East Side

Measuring park access in the South Bronx and Upper East Side (click image for a larger view)

With funding from NIEHS we conducted a series of community outreach seminars to demonstrate to local community groups how GIS technology could be used to conduct community needs assessments. We then released a Request for Proposals to local community groups to solicit project ideas for targeted built environment community needs assessments.   Four projects were selected and we partnered with the community groups who proposed the projects to conduct the assessments and produce detailed reports and maps describing current access to the targeted resources and jointly developed plans to improve access.

Project 1. Analyzing Potential Community Garden Sites in the South Bronx. Community Partner: ASPIRA

Project 2. Mapping Existing and Potential Sites for Alternative Food Outlets in Bushwick. Community Partner: Community District 4

Project 3. Analyzing the Need for Play Streets near Public and Private Schools in The Bronx. Community Partner: Transportation Alternatives

Project 4. Analyzing Community Access to Parks and Green Space in the South Bronx. Community Partner: The Point

A more detailed description of the assessments is on our PEPH papge.

Comprehensive Community Needs Assessment for Rio das Pedras, Rio de Janerio, Brazil

The global rise of informal settlements have brought unique health challenges into the heart of urban centers. We have teamed up with an interdisciplinary group of global experts to perform an initial community needs assessment in Rio das Pedras, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to assess the feasibility of large scale data collection on health, mobility, and the microbiome in these settings.

Rio de Pedras

Rio das Pedras

Rio das Pedras is the third largest informal community in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Home to approximately 63,500 individuals, residents of the favela face seasonal flooding, vehicle traffic, improvised construction methods, and limited waste disposal. These factors, coupled with poverty and limited access to municipal services and transportation likely predispose residents to injury and poor health. However, little reliable data exists that can accurately characterize the health of residents of Rio das Pedras, and fewer data that can point out areas of intervention that will be most impactful in these settings. As a result, little is known regarding the present health risks that exist throughout the community.

Through an initial community health diagnosis, our team will map the mobility and public health resources driving population health patterns across the favela. The team will also take an initial look at the microbiome of informal settlements and analyze the quality and use of water throughout Rio das Pedras. This preliminary needs assessment will begin to create a health profile of the population and highlight the areas of intervention that can most improve the health and living conditions of the residents of Rio das Pedras and surrounding areas of Rio de Janeiro.  Ultimately, this pilot will tailor and test a set of methods so future data collection efforts will more accurately reflect the needs of vulnerable populations living in these complex settings.

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