Health care organizations are increasingly looking for ways to meaningfully partner with community members to better address specific community needs and priorities, especially for people with complex health and social needs. Health systems, however, may face a number of challenges when engaging with individuals and communities, including: structural racism that has led to systemic power imbalances between health systems and the communities they serve; lack of trust; and uncertainty of how to incorporate the feedback provided.

This webinar offered considerations for health care organizations and government entities to build effective partnerships with the individuals and communities they serve to better address their health and social needs. It shared experiences from two sites — Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis and the Los Angeles Department of Health Services Whole Person Care Program — that participated in the Community Partnership Pilot, a Center for Health Care Strategies initiative made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Sites offered insights gleaned from their work engaging those with specific lived experiences to co-develop strategies to better serve the needs of their communities. They also discussed opportunities for health systems to address the factors driving health and racial inequities in a way that places community members at the forefront of these efforts.

YouTube video


I. Welcome and Introduction

Speaker: Anna Spencer, Senior Program Officer, CHCS; Susan Mende, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A. Spencer welcomed participants, provide an overview of the Community Partnership Pilot project, and shared lessons learned across the partnership sites. S. Mende provided reflections on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s commitment to elevating strategies that meaningfully engage communities and build community power.

II. Access to Behavioral Health Services Among Somali Community Members in Minneapolis

Speaker: Amy Harris, Director of Population Health, and Patricia Schaffer, Community Health Programs Liaison, Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis, Minnesota

A. Harris and P. Schaffer shared insights from the human-centered design journey Hennepin Healthcare took with Somali community members to better understand the facilitators and barriers to accessing behavioral health services. Community Engagement Leaders from Hennepin Healthcare provided their perspectives.

III. Los Angeles County’s Reentry Health Advisory Collaborative

Speakers: Diamond Lee and Diana Zúñiga, Associate Directors of Regional Collaboration, Whole Person Care, Los Angeles Department of Health Services, Los Angeles, California

D. Lee and D. Zúñiga discussed the lessons learned during the creation of the Reentry Health Advisory Collaborative (RHAC) and explore how the collaborative has been able to address the health-related needs of the justice-involved community, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. D. Lee and D. Zúñiga also shared best practices for elevating the role that individuals with lived experience both inside and outside of organizational settings play in terms of decision-making, leadership, and building out alternatives to incarceration. In addition, members of the RHAC also provided their perspectives.

IV. Moderated Q&A

Moderator: Audrey Nuamah, Program Officer, CHCS

Posted: October 2023