All Essentia Health hospitals conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and adopt an implementation strategy to meet the community health needs identified through the CHNA at least once every three years. The process aligns with Essentia Health’s mission to make a healthy difference in people’s lives. The process also supports each hospital’s tax-exempt status. The Essentia Institute of Rural Health (EIRH) supports and coordinates the CHNA and associated interventions for sixteen Essentia Health hospitals. Links to the CHNA reports and implementation strategies are here.
Participants at a CHNA meeting at Essentia Health Ada in Ada, MN discuss intervention options.
One intervention occurring at several Essentia Health hospitals is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP). The NDPP is an evidence-based lifestyle change program for type 2 diabetes prevention. The program is based on the Diabetes Prevention Program research study, which showed that modest behavior changes can help participants lose 5–7% of their body weight and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% in people with prediabetes. NDPP participants work with a lifestyle coach in a group setting. The 1-year lifestyle change program includes 16 core sessions and 6-8 post-core sessions.
EIRH coordinates the NDPP system-wide and houses the lifestyle coach who offers sessions at the Duluth Area Family YMCA in Duluth, MN on behalf of Essentia Health Duluth and Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center. That individual was trained as an NDPP Master Trainer in March 2014 by the Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center.
The NDPP is successfully benefitting the communities Essentia Health serves. Participants have lost weight and increased physical activity and are enthusiastic to continue these lifestyle changes. Participants in Essentia Health’s communities have expressed appreciation for having the high-quality, well-organized NDPP available to them. They also appreciate the fun of a group, as well as the support and sense of community the group provides. The “From Community Health to Personal Change” story in Essentia Health’s 2013 Community Benefits Report describes the success of the program in the Brainerd, MN area.
In addition to the NDPP, an example of other activities taking place to improve the health of communities Essentia Health serves is the efforts of a coalition in Superior, WI aiming to improve mental health services for people in northwestern Wisconsin.
Members attending a Community Professionals Planning and Implementation coalition meeting at
Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Superior in Superior, WI.