Abstract Health care reform can provide opportunities for collaboration between universities and the public at large. An advanced community nursing class within a post-RN program at a university combined resources with a nearby rural community to complete a community health and social needs assessment. The partners in the project included the local hospital, health unit, and the university; funding was secured from the Regional Center for Health Promotion and Community Studies and the two health agency partners also made a financial donation. Community liaisons who were both registered nurses and residents of the community were instrumental in completing tasks and activities related to the project. The students were taught the various data collection methods and participated in class assignments refining the necessary skills required for the actual assessment. This project benefited the community by providing baseline health status and social needs data in an era of dramatic health care reform while simultaneously affording undergraduate nursing students the opportunity to apply theory to practice.