Building healthier communities

In communities across America, our health is our common thread. At CommonSpirit Health, we know that the conditions in which our patients were born, grow, work, live, and age impact their health status and our ability to effectively care for them.

That’s why we partner with a variety of community service organizations to help us address the social and economic needs of our patients, aided by advanced technology and dedicated community health workers. Together, we can care for the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.

our values

Community grants and initiatives

CommonSpirit’s Community Investment Program offers below market rate housing loans at favorable terms to support the infrastructure for health.

We also fund community development financial institutions (CDIFs) that invest in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and provide small business loans in communities of color. 

How do we know what our communities need from us? We ask them.

Every three years we conduct Community Health Needs Assessments in partnership with county departments of public health and other agencies that are invested in improving health and wellbeing.

To assist in this work, we employ a tool we developed called the Community Needs Index to pinpoint the areas of greatest health need by zip code. 

Homeless health initiatives

The CommonSpirit Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) works to co-locate, coordinate, and integrate health care, behavioral health, safety, and wellness services with housing and other social services. Across California, we have committed to invest a minimum of $20 million through FY 2024 in programs that address two focus areas:

  • Housing insecurities and homeless prevention for individuals and families who are at-risk of experiencing homelessness; and 
  • Coordinating care, services, and resources for populations experiencing homelessness with local community partners and government agencies. 

Connected community network

CommonSpirit Health is working with many other organizations to build networks of health care and social services that increase access to community resources for any patient in need. We call this model the Connected Community Network (CCN).

A CCN is a network of community service organizations that have the ability to make referrals using a shared technology platform among hospitals, clinics, and the social service and government agencies that provide vital services. These resources meet a variety of social and economic needs, including stable and affordable housing; maternal, infant, and child health; chronic disease management programs; healthy food; and mental health and substance abuse counseling. 

Since 2017, we’ve helped assemble CCNs with our technology partner naviHealth in 19 communities in Arizona, California, and Nevada. In 2019, we began piloting an expanded CCN approach powered by Unite Us in California’s Central Valley. We are continuously extending the CCN model to other communities throughout CommonSpirit.

Total health roadmap

The Total Health Roadmap helps us understand and address the impact of social determinants of health in order to provide equitable, effective, and high-quality health care.

Within pioneer communities in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, and Minnesota, we have developed a model for universal screening for social needs and the integration of community health workers in primary care teams to help individuals and families find the resources they need. What we learn from this effort informs enhanced collaborations to address needs in the fabric of our local communities.

Jessica Hoskins grew up in rural Kentucky as one of four siblings. Her mother, a single parent working two jobs, did everything in her power to make ends meet, but was forced to make difficult decisions every morning—save for the monthly utility bill or buy gas to get to work.

COVID-19 community response

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, Dignity Health has provided nearly $2.6M in support across California. With our support, our community partners have been able to provide the following services and resources during the past 18 months: 

  • $991,500 in food access/meals including delivery of 138,634 meals and 5,223 boxes of non-perishable boxes of food in communities experiencing food insecurity
  • Expansion of shelter services including Project Roomkey and Project Homekey to ensure that even those who are experiencing  homelessness can shelter in place
  • $200,000 toward technical assistance for rural communities with Project Homekey funds
  • $386,441 in direct/indirect relief for rural communities, youth experiencing homelessness and undocumented immigrants
  • Distribution of hygiene supplies to unsheltered persons
  • Disbursement of flexible funds to non-profit organizations to fill gaps in services within their community such as childcare, personal protective equipment, or community education

Dignity Health’s Homeless Health Initiative (HHI) stays dedicated in our efforts to serve California communities alongside our local partners as the impact of COVID-19 persists. We will uphold our stance in supporting our communities right to housing, food security, and other needed resources during this unprecedented time.