Commitment to Health Equity

Realize health equity for Minnesota

Health equity is the ability for historically marginalized and socioeconomically disadvantaged persons to receive the necessary resources needed to provide them the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

We believe equity is essential for optimal health outcomes. We are committed to partnering with our entire community, both internal and external, in achieving their fullest health potential by actively eliminating barriers due to racism, or any other consequence of social position or socially influenced circumstances experienced by Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

We will accomplish this through:

  • Collaborating with our community leaders
  • Developing strong government relations
  • Establishing equity-focused public policy
  • Abolishing barriers due to systemic racism
  • Improving access and quality of care
  • Building trust through transparency
  • Leveraging technology
  • Creating a diverse workforce and addressing pay equity
  • Ethical research
  • Creating and retaining a healthcare workforce that embraces culturally responsive and trauma-informed care strategies for all team members.

Racism is a public health crisis that affects the entire community. 

Racism is an ongoing public health crisis that urgently demands more focused attention. Our Board of Directors will work with Hennepin County to move on a shared path toward equity and justice for all Minnesotans.

The Board of Directors declares health equity a strategic priority for Hennepin Healthcare. We will advocate for relevant policies that improve health in Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color. We will support local, state, regional, and federal initiatives that advance efforts to dismantle systemic racism and will promote community efforts to amplify issues of racism and its impact on health.

A summary of the resolution of the Board of Directors of Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc. Declaration of Health Equity a Strategic Priority, August 5, 2020. 

Talent Garden

Inspiring and supporting historically excluded youth to pursue careers in healthcare

Next Step Program

Connecting youth and young adult victims of violent injury to resources and support

Health Equity Highlights newsletter

Subscribe to the Health Equity Highlights newsletter and keep up to date on our work, including opportunities to contribute and get involved! Read a past issue below.

New Law Enforcement educational module released

Hennepin Healthcare is releasing an updated educational module that will be made available to law enforcement agencies and shared online for public viewing. The new module explains advancements in understanding patient behavior and offers a clear and complete rejection of the diagnosis of excited delirium, instead providing information that supports a more accurate assessment of agitation in the prehospital setting.

The new module uses an anti-racist context and foundation and highlights findings in the Dec. 2021 Colorado Dept. of Public Health comprehensive report that says criteria for the assessment of “excited delirium” have been “associated with racial bias against African American men” and that the diagnosis “lends itself to discriminatory practices that result in systemic bias against communities of color, its lack of a uniform definition and specific, validated medical criteria allows for the possibility of inaccurate assessments.”    

The intent of this ongoing education is to equip all first responders to be able to do their part in ensuring that EMS is able to provide the best care possible for the safety of the patient.

This module replaces the version that was shared with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) in the fall of 2021 that was released without adequate internal review. The updated module – EMS and Law Enforcement – was created with input and review from multiple internal and community partners, including the Hennepin Healthcare Health Equity and Academic Affairs departments, Emergency Department and Emergency Medical Services leadership, along with members of the Community Advisory Board and Minneapolis and MPD leadership.

This is intended to be a transitionary educational module to explain the change, understanding that Law Enforcement will seek additional education on symptoms and the need to engage EMS quickly when there is a medical emergency.

We recently notified the MPD that we are terminating our contract to provide medical direction services. Also, last week we announced that physicians will no longer be allowed to be dually employed by Hennepin Healthcare as a medical staff member and by a law enforcement agency. These steps clarify our relationship with law enforcement and other first responders to focus on the provision of care to the patients we serve. We will continue to collaborate with public safety agencies to ensure that we are able to provide the highest level of care to our patients.

Statement on medical training
February 13, 2022

The fall 2021 iteration of medical training provided to MPD failed to follow through on our promise to no longer teach excited delirium and to be intentional in addressing systemic racism. We are extremely sorry for the further harm this has caused to our community. Systemic racism is deeply imbedded in law enforcement and health care systems, including ours. We failed to address it here when we had the opportunity and, in doing so, have caused further pain and mistrust.

We worked hard on listening to the community, on acknowledging the pain caused, especially on Black and brown communities, and on making it clear to our internal teams that Hennepin Healthcare does not support the direction reflected in this training. We are disappointed that this training, and our internal vetting mechanisms, do not appear to reflect this commitment. This was a breakdown in our oversight. We thought we had alignment and we clearly did not.

The one-hour medical training provided by the Hennepin EMS physician covers a full range of conditions police officers encounter, including carbon monoxide poisoning, traumatic brain injury, and many others. The intent of the training is to provide medical awareness so police officers know - This may be a medical emergency- Call EMS. EMS intervention and appropriate supportive care should be provided to anyone having a medical emergency to provide the best outcomes for patients. There are patients who have severe agitation and need our help in the community. These patients can be seriously hurt by themselves or by others, like the police, who may not know how to recognize a medical need and call for help.

As the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Health Equity Officer, and Chief Medical Officer, we are committed to working with every member of our team to make sure we get back on track and in alignment, and this message reaches every member of our team, so we can better address the resulting and continued distrust from our community.

We understand that these are words on a page, and action and change are what matters. We have made many mistakes, but we are dedicated to getting this right.

Our immediate next steps:

  • Release a revised training with urgency that demonstrates our commitment to these words and our mission to be antiracist in our practices. We will ensure it is vetted through the Health Equity Department, as well as with members of our Community Advisory Board to address the partnering we promised would occur with community. This will replace the current training.
  • Immediately review and amend or terminate the medical directorship contract with MPD to ensure we can provide medical directorship and education in a way that the community expects and deserves.
  • Advance our internal education on systemic racism and how it shows up in our various clinical practices to better equip our team members with the tools, perspective and support needed to truly advance our care to where we need it to be.
  • Connect with our community leaders to ensure they hear this promise from us and can address any additional concerns they may have moving forward.

Maya Angelou wrote “Do the best you can until you know better. When you know better, do better.” We will do better.

Jennifer DeCubellis
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Daniel Hoody
Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Nneka Sederstrom
Chief Health Equity Officer