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DHMC Included in the AAMC’s 2017 Health Equity Research Snapshot

DHMC Included in the AAMC’s 2017 Health Equity Research Snapshot

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) was one of seven not-for-profit teaching hospitals nationwide selected for inclusion in the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) 2017 Health Equity Research Snapshot. The snapshot features videos highlighting how each of these seven AAMC-member teaching hospitals are tackling social determinants of health, such as poverty, lack of transportation and underemployment, and how each hospital utilized a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) to identify and address the health concerns and needs of local residents.

In addition to DHMC in Lebanon, NH, the sites selected include the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, VT, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, LA, the University of California San Francisco’s SFHIP program (San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership), St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, PA, and the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, NJ.

“We received a large number of applicants and selected our final seven based on innovation, community engagement and impact,” says Philip M. Alberti, PhD, the AAMC’s senior director of Health Equity Research and Policy. “We also aimed to select institutions from across the country in order to demonstrate how different communities can be engaged in these important efforts. Together, these video clips show exemplary community-partnered community health needs assessment processes that have successfully impacted the health of local residents.”

“It is an honor to be selected for this recognition,” says Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) Vice President of Population Health Sally Kraft, MD, MPH. “D-H Director of Community Health Greg Norman had the vision of leveraging a ‘mandatory’ reporting requirement as an opportunity to work together with partners in our region to create a common process for collecting data about the needs in our communities. The result is a robust assessment that we are all using to inform our improvement plans. The AAMC recognized the potential for this approach to be used in other communities since all not-for-profit hospitals are required to complete CHNA’s.”

D-H commissioned the Community Health Needs Assessment in 2015, in partnership with four neighboring hospitals in northern New England: Valley Regional in Claremont, NH, and D-H affiliates Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, NH, New London Hospital in New London, NH, and Mt. Ascutney Hospital in Windsor, VT. The D-H Population Health Council reviewed the assessment and then established the following community health improvement priorities:

  • Reducing harm related to substance use and mental health needs.
  • Providing innovative access to coordinated care.
  • Improving care and quality of life for older adults.
  • Improving social determinants of health, such as access to affordable and safe housing, transportation, and early education.

To address these priorities, D-H leveraged its Population Health Innovation Fund, which was established by the D-H Board of Trustees to support population health initiatives in the community. This D-H video, which was produced for the AAMC Health Equity Research Snapshot, details the collaborative Community Health Needs Assessment process and the resulting community health programs.

“Health systems today must do more than deliver the highest value health care services; we must also learn how to improve health,” says Kraft. “We know that 80 percent of our health is impacted by our socioeconomic conditions, race, ethnicity and health behaviors. To improve health, we must learn to partner with community organizations—employers, faith-based groups, educators, the legal systems, housing authorities and many more—to improve the conditions where we work, play and learn. At Dartmouth-Hitchcock, we are committed to learning with our communities how we can partner together to improve our health today and the health of our children and their children’s children.”