2014-2019 Community Needs and Assets Assessment & Action Planning Process


You are invited review the Needs and Assets Assessment and Action Planning Process for the City of Fall River and the towns of Somerset, Swansea and Westport, MA.


Read the description to the right for details of what has been done to provide input into the final Plan.

Click here to see a 20-minute video of Dr. Weed describing the Action Planning Process.


The final five-year Action Plan was published on June 30, 2014 and will extend until June 30, 2019.


Every five years, Greater Fall River Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc. (Partners) conducts a community-wide health needs and assets assessment upon which an Action Plan for the following five-year period is built. The process occurred first in 2004 with the creation of the Healthy City Fall River initiative that used a citywide survey to create the first five-year Action Plan for the City. It was enlarged again in 2009 with the addition of the Mass In Motion initiative that shifted to a focus on system, policy and environmental changes to support healthier lifestyles.

The most recent Action Planning Process began in September 2013 with the designation of eight short-term Task Forces (see chart, below) mobilized around a subset of issues related to the health of the community. These groups of between five and twenty people were convened to review the available data on both needs and assets, including 129 Data Sources and 30 Videotaped Key Informant Interviews, and were then be asked to come up with a list of no more than ten recommendations, listed in order of priority. A comprehensive data assessment for the four-town area was published in January 2014, and additional meetings were then held in January, February and March with representatives of populations who are at greater risk including: 1) youth, 2) seniors, 3) persons whose native language is not English, 4) persons with behavioral health diagnoses, and 5) members of racial and ethnic groups in Fall River. Finally, two special meetings were convened to consider behavioral health issues from a systems perspective.

The findings were reviewed at a series of Community Health Assessment Forums in April and May where representatives of all eight Task Forces were invited to present their findings. This group then prioritized the top 59 recommendations that constituted the Proposed Action Plan. This Plan was then reviewed for final input at:

  • a public forum in the Hearing Room at Fall River Government Center from 4:30 to 5:30 on June 10, 2014
  • at a table display at the Kick-Off to Summer event from Noon to 3:00 p.m. at Ruggles Park on June 21st, and 
  • through on-line input and feedback materials at each pubic library in the four communities between June 10th and 21st. 

Following a review of the public input from the above sources, the final 2014-2019 Action Plan was approved at the June 26th Design Team meeting of Partners for a Healthier Community. The Plan will be reviewed annually by the Design Team and revised and updated as needed.

2014-2019 Planning Task Force Leadership

Health Factors

Task Force Co-chairs

Specific Measures


1:  Diet & Exercise

Amanda Raposo
Nicky D'Abrosca

Poor diet, inactivity, knowledge of and access to healthy food

Lower diabetes, heart disease, some cancers rates

2:  Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drug Use Prevention

Marilyn Edge
Mike Aguiar

Smoking, prescription and illegal drug use

Less drug or alcohol addiction, overdose

3: Sexual Activity and Infectious Diseases

Lynda Sampson
Bob Hitt

STDs, HIV, teen pregnancy

Less infertility, AIDS, premature parenting

4:  Access to Quality Dental, Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care

Betty Nunes
Steve Merrill

Insurance coverage, waiting times, lack of support outside medical settings

Less delayed or inappropriate treatment, oral pain, stress, depression

5:  Education, Employment, Income and Disability

Lynn Creamer
Kate Politono

Low graduation rates, job creation, adult education

Lower unemployment, health illiteracy, economic stress

6: Community Safety and Violence Prevention

Christian McCloskey
Michaela Hetzler

Crime, abuse, bullying

Less PTSD, premature death

7:  Family, Cultural and Social Support, and Housing

Wendy Garf-Lipp
Tim Burke

Language, race, ethnicity, cultural values, maternal care, single parent households, homelessness

Decreased racism, stress, disconnection from community resources

8:  Environment and Infrastructure

Julie Kelly
Al Lima


Increased physical activity

An outline of the entire process is available at: 2014-2019 Action Planning Process Outline Tables