Original article| Volume 22, ISSUE 6, e527-e534, November 2012

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Conducting a Needs Assessment for Women and Girls Using a Gender Analysis Framework: The Philadelphia Ujima Coalition for a Healthier Community Experience

Published:October 08, 2012DOI:



      Despite a century of work toward gender equality, sex and gender disparities in health remain. Morbidity and mortality rates as well as quality of care received differ between men and women. The Philadelphia Ujima Coalition for a Healthier Community is composed of 23 academic, social service, wellness, faith-based, governmental, and healthcare organizations. The coalition, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health, used a community participatory framework to conduct a gender-informed needs assessment of priority areas for women's health.


      A four-tiered approach was used: 1) Coalition members identified priority areas; 2) we analyzed data from the Southeastern Pennsylvania 2010 Household Health Survey to identify gender differences in health; 3) using a gender analysis framework, we conducted interviews with “key informant” stakeholders; and 4) we conducted a community health assessment including 160 women. We used a participatory process to rank priority areas.


      Sex and gender disparities in health outcomes and behaviors were observed. Data were used to identify gender barriers and norms that influence health practices and behaviors, defining priority areas for the health of women and girls. Effective health promotion strategies were also identified.


      A gender-integrated needs assessment of girls and women can reveal priority areas and gender-related objectives that should be included in health promotion programming for girls and women.
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      Ana E. Núñez, MD, is the Director of the Women's Health Education Program, and professor of medicine, at Drexel University College of Medicine. She is a nationally recognized medical educator whose research interests include girls, women's, and minority health and culturally effective care.


      Candace Robertson-James, DrPH, MPH, is the research manager at the Women's Health Education Program, Drexel University College of Medicine. Her research interests include health disparities, particularly those issues affecting women, minorities, and adolescents; relationship violence; and health promotion interventions.


      Serita M. Reels, MPH, is the Research Associate at the Women's Health Education Program (WHEP), Drexel University College of Medicine. Ms. Reels has participated in numerous community-based participatory research projects focused on health disparities impacting women, minorities, and adolescents.


      Rose Malinowski Weingartner, MPH, CPH, is a research associate at Public Health Management Corporation. She manages large-scale surveys in and around Philadelphia and is interested in research methodology and the role of population data in public health programming.


      Barbara L. Bungy, MPH, CHES, is the HIV Program Manager, Prevention Services at Dorothy Mann Center for Pediatric & Adolescent HIV, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. Her research expertise includes HIV prevention in minority populations and health disparities among youth.