Hennepin Healthcare’s 2023 Health Equity Report marks year of change, opportunities

by Hennepin Healthcare

Hennepin Healthcare’s Health Equity Report has been released for the year 2023. The 34-page report by its Health Equity Department explains their ongoing work and progress to attain a culture of inclusion and belonging, reflect the communities they serve, promote equitable opportunities, eliminate health disparities, and have a measurable social impact.

“Every road worth traveling has unexpected twists, turns, and bumps – and the journey towards health equity is unquestionably worth the trip,” explains Dr. Nneka O. Sederstrom, Hennepin Healthcare’s Chief Health Equity Officer. “This builds on the success of last year’s inaugural report and how our Health Equity team members are impacting the culture of Hennepin Healthcare.”

One of Hennepin Healthcare’s many goals outlined in the report are to expand the percentage it spends on small, women-owned, and minority-owned businesses. In 2023, Hennepin Healthcare increased its diverse vendor spend to $34.6M, a 15% increase from 2022.

“We worked with a consulting firm to help us finalize a supplier diversity program,” said Dr. Sederstrom. “We wanted to see where these changes would be most impactful, so we started by reviewing existing policies, programs, practices, and procedures, and worked closely with our supply chain department. We now have a roadmap to expand our supplier diversity program and a goal to increase spending in this area by 10% in 2024.”

The report also highlights the roles of Cultural Navigators as they integrate needs into patient care. For example, in 2023, navigators actively participated in an organization-wide breast cancer outreach for American Indian patients that involved personally calling patients to schedule mammograms and rides to appointments. One of the navigators responsible for contacting patients took her advice to heart and scheduled her own appointment, resulting in a breast cancer diagnosis. Out of 13 patients they contacted, Community Health Worker Paula Brown was one of 3 who ended up having results with abnormal findings.

“I wasn’t even prioritizing my own health,” she said. “My job saved my life.”

From the continued work of the “Collective” affinity groups to help support a deeper sense of belonging for diverse employees – to its home-grown Compass Program, where team members explore and reflect racial inequities in healthcare systems, the comprehensive report contains many innovative projects developed by the Health Equity team, including its Talent Garden. According to the report, 300 youths of color attended four Talent Garden Youth Summits, including the first American Indian Youth with Stethoscopes event and the second Latine Youth with Stethoscopes Summit to introduce them to a variety of healthcare careers.

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About Hennepin Healthcare
Hennepin Healthcare is an integrated system of care that includes HCMC, a nationally recognized Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and acute care hospital, as well as a clinic system with primary care clinics located in Minneapolis and across Hennepin County. It is operated by Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., a subsidiary corporation of Hennepin County. Learn more about Hennepin Healthcare’s commitment to health equity at hennepinhealthcare.org/health-equity


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