Advocate Staff Report
Recently community health system Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) released the 2022 Regional Wellbeing Report: A Community Health Needs Assessment. The report examines the health of the communities in CHA’s service area, including their strengths and challenges, to improve individual and community health. This is the first time CHA has conducted a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) across its entire service area. CHA prioritized lifting up the voices and experiences of community members closest to the impact of inequities, aligning resources and working toward developing strategies to address root causes of health disparities.
Over the course of the year-long assessment process, thousands of community members were engaged to share their experiences on topics including behavioral health, medical health and social determinants of health, such as stable, affordable housing, access to healthy foods and safe transportation. This feedback was complemented by other data from a variety of sources. Together, they provided a deeper understanding of the community conditions that affect well-being and established the foundation that will inform future collaborative health improvement efforts.
“Improving the health of our communities is core to CHA’s mission, and we are excited to be part of this critical initiative to inform and inspire action in our region,” said CHA CEO Assaad Sayah, MD. “We look forward to learning together from the report about what factors are impacting the well-being of our residents. CHA is committed to working collaboratively on the next steps of this community health improvement process.”
The next step is Implementation Strategy planning which will focus on developing or supporting policies, programs and practices that foster and promote three equity principles in four focus areas to improve the conditions that impact the health of the communities that CHA serves:
- Language justice
- Inclusion of under-represented voices in leadership and decision-making
- Environments that acknowledge unique stressors of diverse communities to promote collective care
- Housing: affordability, stability, safety.
- Equitable economies: food systems, good local jobs and working conditions, caregiving.
- Equity and access to care, services and information within and across various institutions
- Climate health and justice: air and water quality and climate change preparedness.
“I am grateful for all the members of our community who took the time and shared their thoughtful perspectives on the issues that impact health and well-being,” said Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “The equity principles and the priorities identified by this assessment process align with other important work underway in Everett and we look forward to our continued partnership with CHA to improve the health of all our residents.”
“We are truly appreciative to CHA for implementing this crucial effort which will benefit so many of our residents,” said Malden Mayor Gary Christenson. “Our continued partnership in advancing the health and well-being of those in our community is a top priority.”
“Thanks to CHA for working alongside city staff, local organizations, and residents to improve the health and well-being of our communities,” said Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn. “We are excited to address what emerged from this collaborative process together.”
“The nuanced and thoughtful Community Health Needs Assessment Survey by CHA demonstrates how thoroughly the health of our neighborhood is interconnected with issues like housing stability and economic equality,” said Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “We value the deep partnership with CHA that creates spaces for Somerville residents to share their lived experiences and health needs.”
For more information about CHA’s Community Health Needs Assessment process, contact Renee Cammarata Hamilton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Laura McNulty (email@example.com). To see the report online, please access it on the CHA website: https://challiance.org/community-health/community-health-data-and-reports/community-health-data-and-reports