Our commitment to community health

Together with community partners, we’re building a holistic and equitable healthcare system designed to improve everyone’s health and wellness.


Clinical care can diagnose, treat, and often cure diseases, but we recognize health is more than that. Social and economic factors like systemic racism, trauma, access to healthy food, housing, and jobs impact more than 50% of people’s well-being.


Our community health programs are focused on making systemic changes and improving a wide range of issues that have deep and long-lasting impacts on how we live, work, and play.

Doctor giving advice to the pregnant woman in medical clinic

Our Goals

  • Achieve health equity and reduce racial disparities
  • Build relationships to enhance the experience of healthcare
  • Support individual health and well-being
  • Provide access to resources and education
  • Measure and improve community health

2023-2025 Community Health Priorities

Both North – Robbinsdale Hospital and North – Maple Grove Hospital routinely conduct Community Health Needs Assessments, working closely with partners in our community to help us identify our community health priorities. The top two priorities we identified for 2023-2025 are racial disparities in health and life-impacting traumas. We are committed to focusing on and improving our community’s health in these areas.

Racial Disparities in Health

Racial disparities have a severe impact on health and quality of life and were evident throughout the assessment process. As a result of these disparities, many people in our community lack access to healthcare, do not have a primary care provider, and experience delayed care – especially for mental health. Our assessment also found that they reported higher use of emergency departments for sickness.

Some examples of racial disparities in health in our community are:

  • Chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer are more prevalent in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community members
  • Infant mortality rates are higher in Black, Hispanic, and American Indian populations
  • Communicable diseases impact BIPOC communities more severely, as shown by higher COVID-19 death rates and hospitalizations, as well as higher rates of sexually transmitted infections
  • Unintentional injury rates among African Americans, American Indians, and Native Alaskans are higher than those of white residents

“From 2014-2018, the number of Black infant deaths was consistently higher than all other races and ethnicities, except in 2016.”

– Hennepin County Public Health

Life-Impacting Traumas

The effects of COVID-19 and systemic racism have led to large numbers of our population feeling depressed, anxious, and isolated. In addition, traumas such as community violence, opioid overdoses, and suicides have left many people grieving and in need of support.

Other drivers of life-impacting trauma in our community come from triple “ACEs”:

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood and can include violence, abuse, and neglect as well as growing up in a family with mental health issues and substance use, domestic violence, and/or parental divorce or separation. People who report experiencing ACEs from ages 0-17 have more health problems, including substance use, depression, heart disease, sexually transmitted infections, and suicide attempts.
  • Adverse Community Experiences (ACE) such as violence, crime, and social unrest all impact the health of our community. Community members, particularly in North Minneapolis, report not feeling safe in their neighborhoods or being impacted by acts of community violence, which leads to higher levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
  • Adverse Community Environments (ACE) are those natural or human-caused disasters (earthquakes, tornados, wildfires, floods, terrorist acts) and threats such as disease outbreaks – like the COVID-19 pandemic – that impact many lives, straining local resources aimed at response and recovery to such disasters or threats.

“Unfortunately, my father passed away in December 2021 due to COVID. With him not knowing English and being alone at the hospital, it was very traumatic.”​

– Community engagement participant

View highlights from 2023 Trauma Symposium

What is a Community Health Needs Assessment?

A community health needs assessment (CHNA) identifies both assets and resources that support healthy communities, as well as health challenges and disparities.

The assessments gather data and community input on a wide range of health issues including:

  • the health of community members (demographic characteristics, births, deaths, chronic conditions, communicable diseases, mental health),
  • health behaviors (substance use, physical activity, nutrition),
  • accessible and affordable health care, including preventive health such as health care screenings, immunizations, and dental care, and
  • healthy and safe environments, and social and economic factors that influence health (education and employment, affordable housing, social support).

Data comes from both secondary data sources, such as health surveys that gather information on the health of youths and adults in the community, and primary data collection by intentionally engaging with community members and organizations to identify and understand significant health needs in the community and seek input on addressing gaps and barriers so community members can lead healthy lives.

Working closely with the hospitals’ Community Engagement Advisory Teams (CEAT), data from all these sources is reviewed and priority health issues are selected for action. Partnering with the CEATs, community partners, and community members, a community health implementation plan is developed that outlines strategies for addressing the priority health issues.

Service Area

The area selected for our Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) data analysis includes 75% of all patients admitted to North – Robbinsdale Hospital and North – Maple Grove Hospital in the year 2021. It includes 31 ZIP codes, 34 cities and/or townships, and 7 school districts.

North Memorial Health Community Health Service Area Map

Click map for expanded view

2023 Trauma Symposium

Highlights from our 2023 Trauma Symposium “Cultivating Trauma-Informed Care through Growth, Healing, and Knowledge”

View our opening presentation featuring North Memorial Health’s Dr. Ryan Van Wyk speaking on “Dysregulation & Disconnection – Understanding the Legacy of Trauma.”

Traumatic experiences, whether single events, repeated episodes, or chronic conditions, when left unacknowledged and the subsequent symptoms untreated, can result in persistent dysregulation that disrupts behavior, relationships, and daily functioning. When these experiences happen early in life, it can significantly alter a person’s developmental trajectory and mental health.

This presentation explores the neurobiology of both trauma and resilience, discusses different forms of experiential and environmental adversity, and discusses the importance of a trauma-focused approach to care.


More than 1,800 team members were trained on “Make it Okay” messaging to reduce stigma around mental health.

We empowered team members to feel comfortable addressing mental health issues with their patients, family, friends, and community members.

In 2021, we purchased 4,200 Deterra Medication Disposal bags, and in 2022, we distributed the bags at many community events.

The Deterra medication disposal pouch makes drugs safe for disposal in household trash. The Deterra bags get unneeded, expired, and unused prescription drugs out of homes and disposed of safely by immediately and permanently deactivating and disposing of unneeded pills, patches, liquids, creams, and films.

The Deterra bags were distributed to patients through the hospital pharmacies and through numerous community events including Lakeview Terrace and Maple Grove Farmers markets, the North Market Health Fair, and events such as North Minneapolis’ Live Your Healthy Lyfe and Brooklyn Park’s Living Well Resource Fair.

Naloxone is a medication used to reverse or reduce the effects of opioids. Narcan is the nasal spray form of naloxone that can be sprayed directly into a person’s nose. Our community paramedics provided education on how to use Narcan on people experiencing an overdose and handed out overdose prevention supplies such as Narcan and fentanyl test kits at community events.

We continued to provide virtual support groups for patients, caregivers and community members who are experiencing specific health issues:

  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Loss support (hospice and perinatal)
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • “Coffee and Conversation” for stroke survivors suffering from Aphasia

With support from a range of team members and leaders, our objective is to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels that they belong.

Increasing our Intercultural Competency

More than 180 leaders completed the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). We have provided an intercultural development plan, training, and additional resources to move our leadership team from a monocultural mindset to an intercultural mindset where leaders understand their own culture, its influence on world views, their interactions with other cultures, and building a culture of belonging.

Nurturing Future Diverse Leaders

In 2022, we launched an Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) which the first cohort was for team members of color. The curriculum included recognizing and building on dimensions of difference and diversity within a team, demonstrating how systemic racism contributes to creating healthcare disparities, and understanding the importance and benefits of DEI. We developed a learning lab for New Leader Orientation (NLO) to allow participants the opportunity to practice having courageous conversations around race. To increase the number of BIPOC providers and increase access to care providers who represent and reflect our community members, North Memorial Health established an annual $5,000 BIPOC Mental Health Academic Scholarship. The first scholarship was awarded in 2022. Through our sponsorship of UNCF’s MLK Breakfast and scholarships to local colleges, we also supported academic scholarships for Black students. Finally, we partnered with an organization called Mossier to increase our community outreach and recruitment as well as provide team members resources to ensure equitable care to our LGBTQIA+ community.

Investing in Our Community

Between 2020-2022, North Memorial Health committed over $160k to organizations and events that serve or are led by BIPOC individuals to improve health outcomes, increase educational opportunities, and build relationships. Organizations we have supported include Live Your Healthy Lyfe, Northside Achievement Zone, CEAP, Capri Theater, Northside Economic Opportunity Network Minneapolis, and the Annex Teen Clinic. Additionally, North Memorial Health continued its support of TC Pride in 2022 by participating in the Pride March and sponsoring both the Power to the People of Color (P2P) Stage” and “Handwashing Stations.”

We hosted two events at Maple Grove Farmer’s Market as part of Senior September that provided health information on falls prevention and choking interventions, two injuries prevalent in our older populations. We also promoted Healthy Aging at the Living Well Resource Fair in Brooklyn Center—promoting safe, well-lit environments, Stepping On exercise classes, and falls prevention education.

As part of our Community Health Needs Assessment work, we engaged directly with local community members and organizations to identify and understand significant health needs in the region. In 2022, we enlisted Susan DeSimone Inc. to conduct 50 key informant interviews and gather community feedback through communitychat.com. We also partnered with Cultural Wellness Center as we gathered input on community health from more than 580 community residents through community engagement events, such as dinners and dialogues and in-person surveys.