The Important Role Hospitals Have in Serving Their Communities

Hospitals and health systems and their teams have been on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years. Despite the many challenges they have faced, the dedication to patient care has never been stronger and all members of our hospital teams have remained steadfast in their commitment to provide care and improve health.

Hospitals and health care workers have stood strong for their communities, and they have a vital role in our society to keep communities healthy.

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

  • Share your stories with AHA: AHA wants to help elevate the impactful work you do in your community. Please consider submitting examples of the many ways your hospital/health system benefits your community via this form.
     
  • Share your pandemic experiences: Are you a caregiver that has worked through the COVID-19 pandemic? If you are willing to share your important perspective, please consider joining your fellow health care employees who have shared their experiences during the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic #WeAreHealthcare initiative. If interested please email AHA for more information.
     
  • Identify a hospital ambassador: AHA is working to amplify the field’s collective voice by creating a group of hospital and health system ambassadors to tell their hospital story through op-eds, audio news releases and other AHA-supported media opportunities. Sign up for more information about how your hospital can join us in balancing the narrative with a stronger chorus of hospital examples and voices. If interested please add an ambassador via this form.
     
  • Deploy your social media channels: Tag the @AHAhospitals, and use the hashtag #myhospital so we can send a collective message about the work you do on behalf of patients and communities. Hospitals and health systems can help tell their story by sharing messages on social media using new graphics and other resources from the "Stories Behind the 'H'" digital toolkit.

Hospitals and health systems can help tell their story by sharing messages on social media using graphics and other resources from AHA's online toolkit.

#WeAreHealthcare

#WeAreHealthCare hashtag over composite image of health care workers

Workforce Campaign

Tell us how hospitals have provided care and supported health in your community throughout the pandemic.

Share Your Hospital Story


Case Studies

Benefits to Your Community

UMass Memorial Prioritizes ‘Anchor Mission’ Work in Its Community. Clinicians from UMass Memorial stand on the steps of their mobile medical and dental clinic.

Addressing the social drivers that influence health is a strategic imperative at UMass Memorial Medical Center, the four-campus academic medical center that’s part of the larger health system of the same name. The medical center — the largest safety net hospital in Massachusetts outside of Boston — is located in Worcester, which has a high poverty rate and the poor health outcomes and barriers to accessing health care that come with it.

Benefits to Your Community

Texas Health Resources. An adult helps a group of children plant a garden.

When the community needed it most during the pandemic, Texas Health Resources, located in Arlington, Texas, reallocated $5.2 million in grants to address hunger, housing and other social needs in the communities it serves — when individuals and families needed it most. The financial move was made in response to the economic consequences caused by COVID-19, which exacerbated the disparities in health outcomes for marginalized people, including low income families and older adults.

Benefits to Your Community

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As an anchor institution, University Hospitals (UH) is in a unique position to influence population health and advance economic opportunities for their communities. They have made great strides in contributing to the health and welfare of Northeast Ohioans as well as addressing social determinants of health. UH provided $3.24 billion over the past decade in community benefit through the deployment of targeted programs and initiatives, including $483 million in 2020 alone.

Benefits to Your Community

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Cincinnati Children’s values it’s partnerships in all the communities it serves, and in particular Avondale, the place they call home. They are making investments and connecting with Avondale neighbors in meaningful ways through a primary focus areas to reduce infant mortality and prematurity, improve kindergarten readiness and third-grade reading and improve the community’s health.

Benefits to Your Community

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Silver Cross Hospital has been committed to taking care of those in need of healthcare. Every day, the hospital tries to fulfil the promise to treat all patients The Way They Should Be Treated while continuing to provide added benefits to the communities they serve. They do this in many ways including community partnerships, education, volunteerism, donations and subsidizing much-needed programs and services.

Benefits to Your Community

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Northridge Hospital is dedicated to improving community health and delivering community health benefits through engagement in specific programs and services designed to address identified significant community health needs including:

  • homelessness and affordable housing
  • obesity
  • mental health
  • substance use
  • diabetes and other chronic disease wellness
  • child and adult violence prevention
  • COVID-19 community support

Benefits to Your Community

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Virginia’s hospitals and health systems provided more $3.1 billion in community benefit and other types of community support in the Commonwealth in 2020, in addition to accounting for $45 billion in positive economic impact for the state.

Access to Care

ChristianaCare Brings Quality Health Care to Students. Students wearing masks from Kuumba Academy Charter School cut the blue ribbon to open their new health center.

ChristianaCare has teamed up with Kuumba Academy Charter School in Wilmington, Delaware, to establish a new student-based health center that will provide onsite preventive care, mental health care and acute care services for all 637 Kuumba Academy students. It’s just one of more than 20 student-based health centers already supported by the health system. The student-based health center is staffed by nurses and doctors who provide a range of services to meet kids' and teens' health care needs. Services can include checkups, lab tests, prescriptions, counseling and care for chronic illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes.

Access to Care

A nurse assists a boy and his mother who are talking with a doctor via a telehealth system at MUSC in Charleston, South Carolina.

MUSC in Charleston, South Carolina, has developed a school-based telehealth program that contributes to improved health outcomes for children in many rural and underserved communities across the state. Data points to the program’s efficiency and effectiveness in improving health care access. For kids, the “cool” factor makes telehealth fun too.

Access to Care

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Through Ascension’s Medical Mission at Home events, the health system delivers free medical care to those with limited access and who are struggling in the communities they serve. The program provides real-time delivery of organized health and social services to those who would not have access to care with follow-up care and continuity as needed. These free community health events give low-income and uninsured populations access to needed health services.

Access to Care

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The Novant Health UVA Health System mobile mammography unit is a motorized coach that brings a mammography machine to where you live, work, and attend civic activities and faith-based services. Our goal is to ensure all women have access to high-quality breast health services, regardless of ability to pay or travel to a full-service imaging center.

Access to Care

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Holy Cross Health knows thousands of men, women and children in their region have no health insurance and few resources to obtain ongoing health services. They have established community benefit programs to help residents obtain the care needed to maintain a healthy life and to give families a healthy start, with services including: health centers that provide patients with a medical home to access primary care; OB/GYN clinics to support women before, during and after the birth of a baby; and financial assistance programs and counselors to help reduce the financial burden that health care can have on vulnerable families.

Access to Care

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Quality, accessible and affordable health care is critically important for a child’s physical and mental health, which is why Stanford Children’s is committed to improving access to primary care for children, teens and expectant mothers through transportation to medical treatment, pediatric care, education, counseling, legal advocacy and more.

Access to Care

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Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJC) invests millions of dollars and many volunteer hours in the St. Louis community each year, and the impact can be seen in the thousands of people whose lives are better today as a result. Throughout the pandemic, the need for community benefit programs and services endured. COVID-19 was not the only illness at hand, and patients still faced financial hardships to deal with unexpected or overwhelming medical events. BJC patients with a demonstrated financial need received more than $459.1 million in charity care or other financial assistance in 2020.

COVID-19 Care and Vaccine Efforts

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Omaha-based Nebraska Medicine shares stories about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, supported by analyses of 2021 COVID-19 statewide data. Nebraska Medicine is sharing this information as part of its continuing communications outreach to encourage people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and booster.

COVID-19 Care and Vaccine Efforts

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Though 80% of Rhode Islanders have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Care New England says it’s not enough until all eligible are vaccinated and boosted. Care New England, based in Providence, Rhode Island, has released a series of short videos with health care leaders thanking community members for being diligent about getting vaccinated but also urging them to “get a booster vaccine today.”

COVID-19 Care and Vaccine Efforts

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In this Advancing Health podcast, Jeffrey Flaks, CEO of Hartford HealthCare, and Rebecca Stewart, vice president of content strategy, discuss the health system’s efforts to connect with the community during the pandemic, build trust and get people vaccinated. Flaks and Stewart join Kathy Cummings, AHA’s director of communications, for a conversation about how Hartford HealthCare is changing health care for the better, connecting with people in meaningful ways and helping get more people vaccinated against COVID-19.

COVID-19 Care and Vaccine Efforts

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Vermont sits atop all other states with the highest percentage of its population fully vaccinated against COVID-19: As of early February 2022, 80% of Vermont residents have completed vaccination and 64% have received a booster. And although hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are higher this winter than during the peak in winter 2021 — largely attributed to the coronavirus delta and omicron variants — the hospitalization rate in Vermont was the lowest across the United States.

Improving Health and Wellness

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With in-person events no longer possible due to stay-at- home orders and health and safety restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Carilion Clinic’s Community Health and Outreach team found a new way to continue to bring free health education to the community. Beginning in April 2020, health educators in all hospital markets transitioned to “Take a Break” virtual education sessions to provide timely, relevant tips focused on improving well-being and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during an uncertain time.

Improving Health and Wellness

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To help empower all members of the community to enjoy the healthiest lifestyle possible, Hunting Hospital is dedicated to providing health and outreach services to meet the needs of its community. The hospital provides free health screening, counseling, education and referrals. Staff are active all year participating in community, faith organization, and school health fairs and events, working with many community-based organizations, health clinics and schools. These interactions inform the hospital about community health needs and allow them to respond with appropriate services.

Improving Health and Wellness

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The Nuvance Health hospitals are dedicated to serving the community as a wellness resource. This includes providing health education and wellness opportunities, offering community outreach programs to promote wellness and preventive medicine. Offerings include:

  • Speaker’s bureau for nonprofit organizations and civic clubs
  • Holding blood drives
  • Hosting health fairs and a variety of community wellness events
  • Community forums on disease management and education
  • Health Talk, public education television show to promote healthy lifestyles
  • Opioid-abuse prevention initiative

Improving Health and Wellness

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Lakewood Engage is the cornerstone initiative of Lakewood Health System’s community health division and the engine that drives all its food insecurity programs. In 2020, Lakewood Health System connected more than 1,300 children, seniors, low-income individuals and patients with chronic health conditions to one of its seven programs designed to address the challenges and health consequences of hunger and food security.

Since the inception of Lakewood Engage in 2013, it has evolved from simply connecting local produce growers to patients at its hospital-based Staples Area Farmers Market to constructing a comprehensive clinic-based referral program that prescribes local produce to patients through its “Food Farmacy” market.

Improving Health and Wellness

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The lack of community mental health programs means that patients wait until their situations become a crisis before reaching out for care. Memorial Herman operated three mental health crisis clinics that operate as “urgent care” options for individuals experiencing mental health and behavioral concerns. They offer emergency medicine administration, counseling, solution-focused intervention, psychosocial assessments and safety planning. The staff work to connect patients with an outpatient providers and arrange for follow-up appointments.

Innovation and Research

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The mission of the Technology & Innovation Development Office (TIDO) is to maximize the impact of Boston Children’s innovations on patient health while enhancing the research endeavor. The work translates the laboratory and clinical research excellence of Boston Children's Hospital into products for the public benefit. TIDO uses a multi-faceted approach to promote, support and develop research, technology and clinical innovations through the protection and licensing of intellectual property, investing in Boston Children's technologies, and establishing strong research and development partnerships with industry throughout the innovation-to-product life cycle.

Innovation and Research

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The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator supports the growth and development of early-stage companies that are developing health care solutions to transform health care quality, efficiency and care delivery. Forty-seven companies from around the world have participated in the three-month program that offers mentorship and the ability to collaborate with clinicians, researchers and other Cedars-Sinai experts. The program is designed to improve care delivery by helping entrepreneurs bring their innovative technology products to market. The program is three months long and in addition to funding, offers mentorship from more than 300 leading clinicians and executives, access to Cedars-Sinai and exposure to a broad network of entrepreneurs and investors.

Innovation and Research

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The Mercy Health Research & Innovation group operates as a research and innovation hub for the health system and is integral to organization’s mission to improve the health of communities, provide patients with the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research and support and grow clinical research and innovation with the priority to drive improvements in standard of care for patients.

Innovation and Research

health workers practice on dummy

The Montefiore Einstein Center for Innovation in Simulation was established by Montefiore and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The innovation center features state-of-the-art simulation technologies and is equipped for medical education and research, combining nursing schools and physician care to foster an environment that focuses on training procedures for health care professionals at all stages of their careers.

Innovation and Research

surgeons in operating theater

The MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center was established with the goal of supporting and coordinating telehealth services. It is housed within the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2), and is a system-wide resource that provides telehealth infrastructure, best practices, subject matter expertise, project implementation, and programmatic operational support. Even more important now during the pandemic, key areas that MTIC supports include the MedStar eVisit urgent care on demand platform, video visits, ED teletriage, and more.

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By pursuing and prioritizing an anchor mission in the community, UMass Memorial works to improve the health and welfare of its community beyond the hospital’s…
Case Studies
When the community needed it most during the pandemic, Texas Health Resources, located in Arlington, Texas, reallocated $5.2 million in grants to address…
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MUSC in Charleston, South Carolina, has developed a school-based telehealth program that contributes to improved health outcomes for children in many rural and…