What is a CHNA?
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health established the Community Health Network Area (CHNA) initiative in 1992. The original initiative involved all 351 towns and cities through 27 Community Health Network Areas. Some CHNAs are no longer active while others have morphed into different areas. These are operated under the guidance of the Office of Community Health Planning and Engagement of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

What is the purpose of a CHNA?
Community Health Network Areas are committed to continuous improvement of health. Each of the CHNAs collaboratively identifies local and regional health priorities, designs community-based prevention plans, and track success in achieving healthier communities. CHNAs develop new health improvement projects as initial projects are completed. While each Community Health Network may have a different design and composition, all Networks function as frameworks for the development of partnerships that enhance cooperation in developing a preventive, primary care health model in each community.

What are the guiding principles of a CHNA?

  • Commitment to continuous improvement of health
  • Focus on tracking area health indicators and eliminating identified disparities.
  • Involve members of their own community
  • Include key stakeholders in health improvement: residents, consumers, coalitions, faith communities, local and state governments, businesses, and providers of community-based health, education, and human services.
  • Reflect the age, racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and linguistic diversity of the area.
  • Working partnerships of among residents, consumers, coalitions, local service providers, and local and state governments.