Regular review of community health needs
On an annual basis, Children's conducts ongoing yet less formal means of assessment regarding community health programs. The hospital regularly reviews public health data, participates in community forums and gains feedback from patients and families.
The Office of Child Advocacy (OCA) encourages community engagement and gains feedback in several ways. Programmatically, the hospital's partners- from community health centers to government agencies, from schools to community-based organizations- play a large role in the development and execution of community health programming. The hospital has focused its efforts on Boston neighborhoods where it has affiliations with health centers and established partnerships with community organizations.
In addition, through its Community Advisory Board (CAB), which meets quarterly, the hospital has a direct link to community expertise. CAB members are instrumental in the planning and implementation of Children's community needs assessment. They are also involved in identifying program priorities, brainstorming program interventions, building community partnerships, and reviewing the hospitalâ€™s program plans for community health. The CAB also provides guidance to help implement programming and identify new community partners. OCA staff members regularly meet with staff from community health centers and community organizations to strengthen existing relationships and to help identify new partnerships. OCA staff members use the feedback and insight of these partners to shape the hospitalâ€™s community efforts.
To ensure a diverse membership the CAB includes members from community health centers, community organizations, schools, and local government agencies, along with parents and residents. All these participants bring expertise and reflect the culturally diverse community served by the hospitalâ€™s programming. OCA convenes providers and staff working on community health initiatives with the goal of bringing together the hospital's collective clinical expertise. These planning teams meet on an ongoing basis to review community health data, assess community initiatives and oversee the development and implementation of the hospital's community initiatives.
The point in all of these efforts is continued engagement- seeking community input and feedback that becomes an ongoing conversation with the community, which gives the hospital a true and current sense of local needs and challenges.