Early work of the UNITE group

In February, the Unified Needs Assessment and Implementation Team Engagement (UNITE) group began to plan an upcoming joint hospital Community Health Needs Assessment. All three of Washtenaw County’s nonprofit hospitals—St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea, and the University of Michigan Health System—would participate in the assessment, screening patients for social determinants of health. The project was co-chaired by Maria Thomas and Michael Miller.

In the first year, the UNITE team created a rubric to score health issues and multiply the score by an equity factor, to help the group determine which social determinants should be a top priority. The rubric has been shared at multiple national conferences and has received praise for being an equitable approach to evaluate health disparity data.