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Our Plan

Across the country, healthcare planning often occurs without community involvement — even though most experts agree that community health is an important part of individual health and addressing health inequities.

At Hennepin Healthcare, we set out to do something remarkably different. Our planning process doesn’t simply consider community. Instead, our strategy is being developed with community insight and engagement as its core driver.

“It’s about doing our part to address the inequities and unjust realities we see in healthcare.”

— Jennifer DeCubellis, CEO of Hennepin Healthcare

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Planning Process

We began this planning process with an intensive focus on community engagement. During that period of focus, we actively sought out your thoughts, experience, ideas and boldest desires for healthcare in the community we share. We did this through several different ways, like pop-ups, creative conversations, digital forums and individual interviews.

Now, we are integrating your input carefully. Our community’s true needs and wishes are always the central focus as we develop plans for our future.


The community engagement and future planning aim to develop a bold strategy to:

  • Deeply understand the lived healthcare needs of our community
  • Build a more just and equitable healthcare system that responds quickly to the changing needs of those we care for
  • Specifically improve overall care for those who experience discrimination or increased barriers when accessing healthcare
  • Fully live our mission of providing outstanding care to everyone


Phase 1: Learning Together

July – October 2021

During this phase, we worked to understand and assess community needs. We achieved this through extensive community engagement, as well as conversations with Hennepin Healthcare employees.

Phase 2: Creating Together

October – December 2021

Using the information and insights gathered during phase one, we are defining, testing and refining approaches to future planning.

Phase 3: Planning Together

December 2021 – February 2022

We will create a bold plan to create a more just and equitable healthcare system. A draft of this plan is expected in March 2022.

Our Commitment to Our Community

Published August 2021

Hennepin Healthcare’s goal is to create a better healthcare system that provides equitable care. We will listen to our community’s input to develop a bold strategy to bring the best in medical care, training, research and innovation to improve all aspects of care.

In keeping with our commitment to health equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging, we will carry out:

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An equitable approach to community involvement:

We will learn with our community and focus on its most important issues. We will value our fellow community members’ time and input. Hennepin Healthcare will focus efforts on learning with Black, Indigenous and other communities of color, in addition to team members who reflect the communities we serve, as well as broader community voices across public and private sectors.

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Deep collaboration with community leaders:

We will not only lead a large community learning program to kick off this effort, we will also bring community voices directly to the strategy table. A design team composed of community members will co-create with us to ensure the delivery of a plan that reflects the needs and desires of those experiencing the greatest health inequities.

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A process that builds trust through transparency and technology:

As we learn, our community will learn. We will share information about this project on an accessible website and through multiple other formats. We will also communicate monthly with our community by email and on social media to share our status, learnings and voices of Hennepin Healthcare.

Learn more about our Mission and Commitment to Diversity.

Who Is Involved in Community Engagement

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Hennepin Healthcare Advisory Committee
A 15-member team committee consisting half with Hennepin Healthcare leadership and half with external Hennepin Healthcare board members.

Hennepin Healthcare Community Engagement Subcommittee
The primary workgroup guiding and monitoring the progress of engagement efforts, led jointly by senior leadership across health equity, people and culture, and public relations and marketing.

Engagement Strategy and Execution
Imagine Deliver, a local, woman- and Muslim-owned design firm is leading the community engagement work.

Common Questions

Hennepin Healthcare launched community engagement and future planning to create a more just and equitable healthcare experience in Hennepin County.

The community served by our healthcare system has been directly engaged to share thoughts, ideas and wishes for how they would like to receive healthcare. Collectively, we are now creating a vision for the future of Hennepin Healthcare that improves community benefit, access, outcomes and value.

This effort is centered around listening, learning, collaborating and creating new systems that integrate future organizational plans with the desires and goals of the diverse and vibrant community we are honored to serve.

This project welcomed and reached out to a variety of team members, including hourly workers, executive leaders, frontline care providers, patients and members of our community that have experienced discrimination or increased barriers when accessing healthcare. We also engaged broader community members representing public and private sectors who also want to build a future that includes excellent health for all.

Ultimately, community wisdom means that the lived experiences of patients, team members, families, neighbors and the community at large inform how Hennepin Healthcare cares for people in the ways they both need and want to seek and receive healthcare.

For Hennepin Healthcare to fulfill our mission of delivering equitable care — now and in the future — we must listen to and learn from you.

You know your community best. We seek to know more about you and your loved ones’ healthcare needs, experiences and challenges — as well as your boldest desires for equitable care.

We are continuing to ask for your input. Please request or download a postcard to share your insights. The drawings you create will be examined by a committee of community designers who will integrate your vision into this process.

Since beginning the project, we have learned with and from over 1,130 community and team members in English, Somali, Spanish, Lao and Hmong through five different methods. We engaged these communities using both virtual and in-person methods including: key-informant (individual) interviews, small group discussions, community pop-ups, surveys and a community forum.

We are grateful to all who shared their time, energy, experiences and insights with us. We want to specifically thank our team members for your support of this project while simultaneously caring for our patients with great dedication.

The Learning Together phase came to a close at the end of September. We are moving seamlessly into the Creating Together phase.

During this phase, we are closely analyzing what the community has shared with us during the Learning Together phase and evaluating the broader healthcare landscape and social influencers of health in Hennepin County.

The goal is to have a complete picture of what our community wants and needs — as well as how we advance health equity.

During this phase, we are closely analyzing what the community has generously shared with us to date. This wisdom will help us develop a detailed understanding of what our community wants and needs.

Our postcard project continues gathering insights from our community.

We are also convening a Community Design Team of equity experts and artists. They will help ensure we keep community wisdom central in our planning and promote creative, future-oriented thinking.

We are currently collecting, organizing and reviewing all information. We will share key learnings from the community engagement by the end of 2021.

Please see our current updates page, Voices of Hennepin Healthcare blog series and sign up for our monthly newsletter from Jennifer DeCubellis, CEO of Hennepin Healthcare.

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