In their own words: What our Hennepin Healthcare community wants us to work on together
The IRS requires that all non-profit hospitals conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) every three years. Its purpose is to hold hospitals accountable to the patient population and community they serve. At Hennepin Healthcare, this is more than just checking a box on an IRS form. We genuinely want to make sure that the services we have and the way we provide them meet our community’s health needs and build patient trust in our system.
The 2022 CHNA process was guided by a core team of community members and Hennepin Healthcare employees. We reviewed existing community data for Hennepin Healthcare’s primary service areas and patient populations. We also gathered new, qualitative data through individual interviews and facilitated group conversations with public health leaders and community stakeholders. Hennepin Healthcare serves a diverse community, and this group included Black/African American, Native American, Latinx, Somali/East African, and Hmong participants. Stakeholders also included young and middle-aged adults, elders, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, and parents of children with special needs. Interviews and group sessions were conducted in multiple languages either directly or through interpreters.
We worked with the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute (HHRI) to analyze the data and identify key themes and needs. These needs were then prioritized by our community members:
Need Number One: Access to Health and Safety as a Human Right:
- Improve access to affordable care.
- Demonstrate commitment to women’s reproductive and comprehensive health care.
- Address health and wellness issues related to people feeling chronically unsafe.
Need Number Two: Comprehensive, Equitable Education:
- Address impacts of trauma and systemic racism in health care.
- Provide more culturally tailored community health education (based locally with topics determined by the community).
- Engage in more two-way communication between Hennepin Healthcare and the community.
Need Number Three: Advocacy and Cultural Sensitivity
- Hire more multi-lingual providers.
- Have community, and cultural elders on staff.
- Improve navigation and coordination of care and access to information and resources.
- Hire cultural navigators to help patients navigate the system and help advocate for individual needs.
In addition to identifying priority areas of work, the core team also developed a guiding principle for how to do the work. This principle states that “To build and foster trust, CHNA Implementation work will prioritize working collaboratively with the communities we serve through two-way conversations, partnerships, co-creation, and transparency.”
What are we doing to advance these community priorities?
Here are some examples of ways we are working on each priority:
- Priority 1: In addition to the long-standing success of Aqui Para Ti, the Between Us adolescent health program launched this year, providing adolescent reproductive and sexual health care and education.
- Priority 2: The Compass program has launched its second cohort, providing internal staff with comprehensive equity-focused education and staff also have access to professional DEI coaches.
- Priority 3: Cultural Navigators help patients navigate our care system and serve as a resource to both patients and providers in making culturally supportive healthcare decisions. The five Cultural Navigators serve our Black/African American, Somali, Latiné and Native American communities.
You can find more information about the plan and a roundup of related news at hennepinhealthcare.org/about-us/community-involvement. We shared an update on the Community Health Needs Assessment at the Hennepin Healthcare Annual Meeting on October 25, 2023. Visit the Annual Meeting page to watch a video of the event.