tors, and health resource use, which are relevant to most communities.
The committee's proposal is consistent with the efforts of others over the past several years to identify small sets of indicators for key issues. One source of interest has been health promotion and Healthy Cities/Healthy Communities activities by the World Health Organization (WHO, 1986) and others (e.g., Canadian Healthy Communities Project, 1988; National Civic League, 1993). In the United States in particular, the inclusion of 300 indicators in Healthy People 2000 (USDHHS, 1991) led to interest in also selecting a smaller set of indicators that could be used to monitor health status (e.g., CDC, 1991; Stoto, 1992). In other work, a small set of indicators was proposed for monitoring access to health care (IOM, 1993).
The health profile can help a community maintain a broad strategic view of its population's health status and factors that influence health in the community. It is not expected to be a comprehensive survey of all aspects of community health and well-being, but it should be able to help a community identify and focus attention on specific high-priority health issues. The background information provided by a health profile can help a community interpret data on those issues.
A community health profile is made up of indicators of sociodemographic characteristics, health status and quality of life, health risk factors, and health resources that are relevant for most communities; these indicators provide basic descriptive information that can inform priority setting and interpretation of data on specific health issues.
Health profile data can help motivate communities to address health issues. For example, evidence of underimmunization among children or the elderly might encourage various sectors of the community to respond, through ''official" actions (e.g., more systematic provider assessments of patients' immunization status) and through community action (e.g., volunteer groups offering transportation to immunization clinics). Even as raw numbers, these data may be an important signal to a community, especially when small numbers of cases make it difficult to construct meaningful rates. For example, any work-related deaths, births to teenagers, or cases of measles might be a source of