Guide to Community Assets

Your Guide to Community Assets

Compiled by Allison Hutchings

Below you will find several tools and resources from a variety of sources designed to help you identify and map assets in your community and learn from what others are doing in the field.  We hope you find this guide useful as you build partnerships and conduct outreach in your communities.



“Health Beyond Health Care: Special Report.” The Washington Post, June 25, 2014.  Excellent collection of articles profiling various communities’ efforts to improve environmental and social determinants of health.

“Managing Population Health: The Role of the Hospital.” American Hospital Association & Association for Community Health Improvement (April 2012).  Excerpt: “This guide is designed to define population health, describe strategies to improve the health of a hospital’s patient population, inform leaders why these initiatives are essential, and explore potential partnerships that can help achieve the desired goal.”

Mattessich, Paul W. & Ela J. Rausch. “Cross-Sector Collaboration to Improve Community Health: A View of the Current Landscape.” Health Affairs 33.1 (2014). [need subscription to access]  Presents the results of a nation-wide survey of members of associations and networks with an interest in strengthening community health. Profiles a selection of initiatives that seek to integrate community development and health.

Somerville, Martha H. et al. “Hospital Community Benefits after the ACA: Partnerships for Community Health Improvement.” The Hilltop Institute: Issue Brief (Feb. 2012).  “This . . . [issue] brief examines ways in which states and localities have . . . participated in diverse collaborations, or partnerships, that are centered on community health needs assessments, priority setting, strategic planning, and the implementation of health improvement initiatives. These examples demonstrate that effective partnerships among public health agencies, nonprofit hospitals, and the communities they serve can be powerful forces for promoting community health improvement and systemic change.”



“Offering a Trim, A Shave, and A Blood Pressure Test” (June 2, 2014). MedStart Health’s Hair, Heart, and Health Program empowers barbers and patient navigators to conduct health screenings and talk to patrons about their health.

“Healthy Places San Bernardino Born of Necessity” (Sept. 22, 2014). San Bernardino County Healthy Places Coalition addresses the health needs of residents in a collaborative and participatory way.

“Walk [Your City], Signs for Health” (Jul. 17, 2014). Signage campaigns encouraging people to walk to their destinations are helping many cities’ residents stay active.

“Garden on the Go®: A Fresh Approach to Nutrition” (May 9, 2014). A mobile grocery store becomes Indiana University Health’s vehicle for addressing obesity in its communities.

“From Housekeeping to Supporters of Health” (Dec. 16, 2014). Environmental Service Employees at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are providing health support to the most vulnerable patients in their own neighborhoods.



“The Barefoot Guide to Mobilizing Religious Health Assets for Transformation.” Guide that talks about ways to mobilize and work with religious assets to strengthen public health.

Participatory Inquiry into Religious Health Assets, Networks and Agency (PIRHANA).  Method of mapping religious and health assets spearheaded by the African or International Religious Health Assets Programme (ARHAP/IRHAP) and the World Health Organization. Originally refined in South Africa, the model is currently being applied to communities in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Community Tool Box.  “The Community Tool Box is a free, online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change. Our mission is to promote community health and development by connecting people, ideas, and resources.”

MAPP.  “MAPP is a community-driven strategic planning tool for improving community health . . . This tool helps communities apply strategic thinking to prioritize public health issues and identify resources to advance them.”

For other examples, click HERE.



“Hats Matter” (Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement):

“Empowering Communities” (RWJF):