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Resources for Population Assessments

Public Health Nursing Assessment Tool for NURS 446, 480, 485, 486

Nursing Librarian

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Peter Johnson
Mailing Address:
A.R. Dykes Library
2100 W 39th Street,
Mail Stop 1050
Kansas City, KS 66160


This guide corresponds to the PHNAT contained in the appendix of Chapter 3 of the text Public Health Nursing: Practicing Population-Based Care text book (authored by Marie Londrigan and Sandy Lewenson).


Before you begin your search for information on your community, you will want to consider some basic questions.  Specifically:

How will you define your community geographically?

What levels of government have jurisdiction over your community?

Most of the information that you will be using is collected by government agencies.  Although some information is collected by the federal (United States) government, you will need to use state and local government information as well. Early in your research, you should identify relevant government entities and locate their Websites.

Health Statistics Basics

Incidence rate- is a measure of disease frequency that describes how fast new cases (incident cases) are developing

Incidence rate equals: # of new cases ÷ person-time (a quantification of how long individuals at risk of disease are followed up, i.e., person-years)

Morbidity- is another term for illness or adverse outcomes related to a health condition. A person may have several co-morbidities. 

Mortality- is another term for death. 

Annual mortality rate equals: # of deaths due to disease ÷ total population at risk for the disease in a single year.

Prevalence- is a measure of disease frequency that describes the proportion of the population that has an existing disease at a single point in time.

Prevalence equals: total # of cases of disease in a population ÷ total population at risk for the disease.

Risk- is the probability that an event will occur. The risk of disease is also called the cumulative incidence of disease and measures the proportion of a population that acquires disease over a certain time interval.

Study design- involves the formulation of trials and experiments to conduct medical and epidemiological research.

Vital statistics- are statistics on live births, fetal deaths, deaths, marriages, and divorces. This data is publicly available and is commonly collected via civil registration.

Kansas Health Matters

The Kansas Health Matters website contains community health-related statistical data, local resources and a wealth of information. The site gives communities the tools they need to read and understand the public health indicators that affect the quality of our residents’ lives and help set goals and evaluate progress.

Healthy People 2030

Healthy People 2030 provides a comprehensive set of 10-year, national goals and objectives for improving the health of all Americans.

Sections include: 

Leading Health Indicators

Data Sources

Evidence-Based Resources


State and Local Government

This guide focuses on Kansas and Missouri. If you are assessing a city or town in another state, use similar resources listed in this guide, but based in that state or location. You can find many resources through a search engine such as Google or Bing.


This guide was created by Jennifer Rosenstein, Pace University.  Enhanced and maintained by Julie Zimmerman.