How are Healthy People 2020 standards used?

Section B: Healthy People 2010


The Healthy People 2020 initiative is a national approach that identifies high priority health issues and establishes objectives to reduce the impact of these public health threats. To understand the significance of data on your own community, you have to be able to compare it to another standard. The questions in this section ask you about other standards that can be used.

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  1. How are Healthy People 2020 standards used? What are advantages and disadvantages to applying them at a local community level? (Note: you may use the Healthy People 2010 standards if the 2020 standards are not reported.)


  1. What other standards (national, state, or local) can be used?








Section C: Health Indicators


For this exercise, you will use an indicator approach to develop a community health assessment. A community health assessment involves three-step feedback loop.


The first step in such an assessment involves identifying important health indicators. The second step involves matching those indicators with available data. In the third step, standards such as those explored in Section B are applied to the data gathered in the first two steps to transform it into useful information about health needs of the population.


Health indicators are measurable health outcomes, such as death rate, insurance coverage measures, immunization rates, or other data items that are relevant to the health of a community. Indicators are thoughtfully selected data points that provide useful information about the health of a community.


Note that each indicator should be:

  1. An important health problem.
  2. Prevalent or common in the community of interest.
  3. Measurable on a community or population basis. There should be population data on a local level that is easily available—this cannot be collected from health facilities or providers because these data sources do not apply to the entire community.
  4. Ideally, because we want to use a limited number of indicators, the indicator should not be redundant—not measure the same thing—as another chosen indicator.


To organize indicators, it is helpful to identify major areas of focus. For this case, we will refer to these broad categories of public health concerns as domains. Please refer to Table 1 below for examples of domains. For each domain, an example of an indicator is provided.






Table 1: List of Domains to Assist Developing a Community Health Assessment


Domain: Example of an Indicator:
Communicable Diseases(including Sexually Transmitted Diseases) Incidence of Gonorrhea
Chronic Diseases (including Cancer) Incidence of Diabetes
Injury and Violence Homicide rate
Maternal and Child Health Childhood immunization rate
Environmental Health Rates of Lead Poisoning
Access to Health Care Rates of Uninsured





  1. How you would obtain data for these indicators. What sources might you use? Select 2 of the indicators above and provide specific sources of information on them (including URLs) for your own community or state.

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