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Centra launches tri-annual work on Community Health Needs Assessment

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Centra recently launched its tri-annual Community Health Needs Assessment on Feb. 1 to identify the strengths and resources available to meet the needs of children, youth and families in central and southern Virginia.

Every three years, Centra conducts the assessment by surveying people in the communities about challenges they face on economic, physical and social levels. The results of this survey are then used to develop an implementation plan to address the needs identified. Most importantly, it requires involving public health leaders and engaging community members as part of the process.


Because the hospital system is not-for-profit, it has an obligation to address the social, economic and physical needs of its communities by supporting a better quality of life for those living in the Centra region which covers Farmville, Bedford and Lynchburg regions.

“Annually, for every dollar saved in taxes, Centra gives back an equal amount to the communities we serve through what is known as “community benefit,” a news release states. Community benefit includes activities provided to those most in need such as financial assistance, community health improvement programs, subsidized health services, financial and in-kind contributions such as community grants and also community building activities.

The assessments focus on identifying health disparities, gaps and unmet needs along with identifying community resources, strengths and perceptions. The assessments are conducted through focus groups and by surveying the general population.

Some initiatives that occurred as a result of the 2021 assessment include Centra increasing access to primary care in the Farmville region, opening the emPATH Unit in Lynchburg and supporting the expansion of child care services in Bedford.

Ultimately, the results of the needs assessment will guide Centra and its community partners as they develop strategic plans to address identified needs while also informing how Centra invests its money and resources back into the community to address identified needs, a news release states.

This year, Centra is partnering with the Central Virginia Health District, Piedmont Health District and Pittsylvania/Danville Health District, who are key leaders in the advancement of public health initiatives within Centra’s service area. Collaboration across the region is also occurring with cross-sector community leaders who are dedicated to addressing the health needs of these communities.

Centra is asking residents of these communities to take action and make sure their voice is heard by completing the survey before March 31. It can be completed online at or a paper version can be obtained at local health department offices.