Equity-Based Community Health Assessments (UNITE)

The Unified Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan Team Engagement (UNITE) Group, launched in 2015 by the region’s largest non-profit hospitals, works to identify and address community health needs, including the social determinants of health, in order to advance public health and health equity.

Achievements

In 2012, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea published a community health needs assessment with a list of actions the hospitals would take to address those needs. In 2013, Michigan Medicine did the same.

In 2015, these hospitals—in some ways competitors—forged a new partnership designed to leverage all of their resources to have a greater impact on community health and to advance health equity. Their June 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment Report and their November 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment Implementation Plan outline shared findings, goals, and investments.

Ongoing work

In the summer of 2019, the UNITE group published an updated community health needs assessment for Washtenaw County. This assessment will be used to inform the hospitals’ implementation plans, which will be released in the fall of 2019. The implementation plan will include a list of steps each hospital will take, and a list of steps all hospitals will take jointly, to address community health issues with a special focus on health equity.

Members

The UNITE group is co-chaired by Alfreda Rooks, director of community health services for Michigan Medicine, and Elisabeth Vanderpool, director of community health for St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Livingston. Members include dedicated volunteers from the county’s three non-profit hospitals, Michigan Medicine, Saint Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, and St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea, as well as staff leaders at the Washtenaw County Health Department.

For more information

  • Contact the committee co-chairs:
    • Alfreda Rooks, Director of Community Health Services, Michigan Medicine, arooks@umich.edu
    • Elisabeth Vanderpool, Director of Community Health for St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, elisabeth.vanderpool@stjoeshealth.org
  • Contact the committee’s staff representative:
    • Karin Teske, Health Care Analyst at the Center for Health and Research Transformation, teskekm@umich.edu