Community Health Network Areas (CHNAs) are volunteer coalitions of public, nonprofit and private sectors working together to build healthier communities through community-based prevention planning and health promotion.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) established CHNAs (pronounced chah-NAH) in 1992. Today, CHNAs involve each of the state’s 351 towns and cities through 27 networks.
CHNAs play an important role in addressing DPH’s statewide public health priorities:
- Eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities and their social determinants
- Promoting wellness in the home, workplace, school, and community
- Preventing and managing chronic disease
CHNAs collaboratively identify local and regional health priorities, design community-based prevention plans, and track success in achieving healthier communities. CHNAs develop new health improvement projects as initial projects are completed.
All CHNAs embrace these core principles:
Principle #1: Community Health Networks are committed to continuous improvement of health status.
Principle #2: Community Health Networks are focused on tracking area health indicators and eliminating identified disparities.
Principle #3: Community Health Networks are consumer oriented.
Principle #4: Community Health Networks are inclusive of key stakeholders in health improvement: consumers, local government, businesses, and providers of community-based education, and human services.
Principle #5: Community Health Networks are reflective of the racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and linguistic diversity of the area.
Principle #6: Community Health Networks are working partnerships between DPH, consumers, and local service providers.