Prescriptions for healthier communities

We’re about to release our second set of Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs)—reports that illustrate our communities’ health challenges. We invest considerable resources into identifying the health disparities that exist across our service area and how best to address them together; we interview residents and community leaders, collect and examine data, and develop strategic implementation plans for our community outreach activities. We make all these findings available on our website.

All not-for-profit health care organizations are required to provide CHNAs to the federal government to show that our community outreach activities address the most pressing health concerns in our communities. We look forward to producing these reports because we’re proud of our community outreach efforts. Our investments in community health programs help our neighbors fight diseases that disproportionately affect them.

While producing our first set of CHNAs in 2013, we found that the biggest health issues facing our communities were healthy lifestyle choices, maternal and women’s health, mental health and cancer. To address these concerns, many of our entities began or continued offering targeted community health assessments for early detection and prevention, farmers markets to ensure access to healthy food options while minimizing food deserts, childbirth classes, diabetes support groups and more. They also sponsored a number of cancer screenings and educational events with expert physicians. And our community outreach team continued to offer free primary care to the homeless through the Baptist Operation Outreach mobile health care unit.

This year’s reports will be on our website on Sept. 30. I would like to thank our finance, population health, market research and community outreach teams, along with the hospital marketing directors and everyone else who worked on these CHNAs. Their work provides a road map for all of us as we work to make our communities healthier. As health care continues to evolve and our partners look to us to keep people healthy outside of the hospital, we must understand the health challenges facing our communities and how to resolve them before they become life threatening. Thank you to all of you who are involved in this important work.

Don’t forget that you can contact me if you have a question or comment. Please email me, tweet me @jason_m_little or find me on LinkedIn.