Needs Assessment and Cultural Competence: Questions to Ask

Communities implementing SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) are required to assess epidemiological data—including the consequences of substance misuse and consumption patterns—as well as their resources and readiness to address identified problems. The following questions will help to ensure that your assessment process is inclusive and culturally relevant.

Assessing Epidemiological Data

  • Are sub-populations experiencing different consequences?
  • Do sub-populations exhibit different consumption patterns?
  • What is the magnitude—versus impact—of the problem in particular sub-populations?

Assessing Resources

  • What resources are available to or used by diverse populations?
  • Does coalition membership reflect the cultures present in the community?
  • Are existing prevention programs offered to the community’s sub-populations? Are these programs culturally relevant? Are they offered by culturally competent staff?
  • To what extent do stakeholders from across the diverse community participate in planning activities?
  • Do culturally competent organizations exist that can deliver the necessary services?

Assessing Community Readiness

  • What tools does the community currently use to assess readiness? Are these appropriate for diverse communities?
  • Has anyone assessed readiness levels within diverse communities? If so, how do they vary across communities?
  • Is your “priority problem” viewed differently within or across racial or ethnic communities?
  • If so, what types of cultural differences might explain why your priority problem is viewed differently across racial or ethnic groups?

Learn more about SPF Step 1: Assess Needs. Access existing epidemiological profiles for states and jurisdictions to help inform your prevention planning efforts.

Last Updated: 09/24/2015