A framework and process for community-engaged, mixed-methods cancer needs assessments

Todd Burus, Jessica R. Thompson, Caree R. McAfee, Lovoria B. Williams, Jennifer Redmond Knight, Bin Huang, Sarojini Kanotra, Natalie P. Wilhite, Elaine Russell, Melinda Rogers, Connie L. Sorrell, Christine Stroebel, Rachael King, Pamela C. Hull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Community health needs assessments are required for most state and local public health agencies and non-profit hospitals. Typically based on community health improvement planning models, these assessments encompass overall community health and multiple diseases to inform program planning. National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Centers and community-based cancer-focused programs share the goal of reducing cancer burden in the catchment areas they serve. However, to date, no published models exist to guide cancer-specific needs assessments for a determined geographic area that can inform both public health and research initiatives. The purpose of this article is to outline a cancer needs assessment (CNA) framework and community-engaged, mixed-methods process, along with a case study of how we applied it in Kentucky. Methods: We convened a steering committee of key organizational partners to provide input throughout the process. We developed a conceptual framework of multi-level determinants affecting cancer-related outcomes. We incorporated both quantitative and qualitative data gathered through a variety of means, including a novel application of group concept mapping to guide definition of priorities. Results: The resulting CNA has helped guide strategic planning and priorities for Kentucky’s Cancer Action Plan, Markey Cancer Center, state agencies, and community-based organizations. Conclusion: This framework and process can be used collaboratively by cancer center Community Outreach and Engagement offices, public health agencies, oncology programs, and community partners to plan impactful cancer control programs and research in their catchment areas. Universities can also use them to inform the planning of community engagement and health equity research efforts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Causes and Control
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Catchment area
  • Community outreach
  • Needs assessment
  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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