Reflections on a Community Needs Assessment

RWJF inspires Annarelly McNair, Community Needs Assessment manager at Palisades Medical Center, and intern Niki Bannister to pursue lifetimes of learning, leadership, and service.

As we reach the midpoint of our Community Needs Assessment, funded by the New Jersey Health Initiatives program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we can already project that the outcomes and lessons learned will exceed the original purpose.

Upon its completion, our needs assessment will be a call to action. This will guide us in our efforts to develop short- and long-term strategies that meet the health care needs of our community. Our research and results will meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, but more importantly reinforce our mission and commitment to improve the lives of all of those who live and work in our community by providing the highest quality health care.

On a personal and professional level the RWJF inspires us to pursue lifetimes of learning, leadership and service as our needs assessment team leaders can attest.


As a high school student, I volunteered for my local hospital, Palisades Medical Center, because I was interested in health care professions and making a positive impact in my community. After my graduate training, I spent 16 years working as a public health professional. Thanks to RWJF, I have gone full circle, returning to PMC and having the great fortune of working in my own backyard. I have had the opportunity to connect with other health care professionals and interact with hundreds of individuals to learn more about their health care needs. My goal is coordinating the resources PMC has to offer, and working with our partners to meet those needs and improve the quality of life of residents in northern Hudson County and lower Bergen County. Thanks RWJF, for making my childhood dreams come true.
—Annarelly McNair, manager, Community Needs Assessment

As a graduate student in public health at Columbia University, I have learned a lot about theory and statistics, but through this internship at Palisades Medical Center on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Community Health Needs Assessment, I have been exposed to the real-world complexities and challenges involved in creating a healthier community. Through this experience I have learned the importance of fostering partnerships and understanding and listening to the community in order to affect change in the delivery of health care for all.
—Niki Bannister, intern, Community Needs Assessment