Real-World Experience: Windshield Survey: A Community Assessment Strategy Clinical Activity Overview

You should drive, walk, or take public transportation to move about in your selected community (or zip code area) to make systematic observations that will help you understand more about the characteristics and health status of the community.

During the tour, you should look for and consider the following:

  • Who are the people in this community? In other words, who do you see? Consider age, ethnicity, and family types.
  • How do people travel and get around in this community? Do they use a car, train/bus (public transportation), bike, or walk? Are there safe biking/walking paths?
  • What sorts of businesses and places of employment are in this community? What sorts of jobs are available?
  • Where do people get their groceries? What types of restaurants are available? Where do people shop? Chain stores? Locally owned stores?
  • What types of organizations provide services for children and families (e.g., schools, churches/places of worship, youth centers, daycares, HeadStart programs, libraries, places of higher education)?
  • What types of housing are available in this community? Describe the housing conditions.
  • What healthcare services and resources are available in this community? Full-service clinics? Retail clinics? Specialty clinics? Hospitals? Dental services? CAM (complementary alternative medicine)/CAT (complementary alternative therapy)?
  • Look for the recreation and exercise opportunities in this community? Are there parks/green spaces/playgrounds? To what extent are these areas maintained?
  • As you traverse through this community, consider the community’s assets and factors that impact the overall health of this community and its members. What characteristic(s) are the most influential to the PHN who works within this community?