Community Health Needs Assessment provides local health insights

Published 12:18 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

ST. JOSEPH – Spectrum Health Lakeland recently published the 2022-2024 Community Health Needs Assessment, which provides an in-depth analysis of the health needs of Berrien, and parts of Cass and Van Buren counties. Through a variety of data collection methods, including interviews and survey responses, the following were identified by community members as priority health needs: mental health, social cohesion, health care access, nutrition environment, and safety. These five priority health needs align with, and have a significant impact on, two health outcomes identified as priorities for Spectrum Health: maternal and infant health and cardiovascular health, officials said.

Indicated in the 2019 CHNA, the 2022-2024 assessment revealed significant inequities in age-adjusted mortality rates and life expectancy. Specifically, analysis revealed a fivefold disparity in mortality rates and a 19-year life expectancy gap between the census track with the shortest life expectancy and that with the highest. This finding is an illustration of health inequities in our community that continue to shape the CHNA Implementation Strategy, which prioritizes the needs of residents in census tracts where people are dying at the highest rates and in the earliest stages of life.

“At least 80 percent of a community’s health outcomes can be attributed to the social conditions of our community, generally referred to as the social determinants of health,” said Lynn Todman, PhD, vice president health equity, Spectrum Health. “It is by addressing these social determinants of health, and the factors that shape them, that Spectrum Health Lakeland aims to advance health equity. To be effective, it is imperative to work alongside community members and partner organizations. Typically, this means going into neighborhoods, attending or hosting meetings and events, and most importantly, spending time listening and responding to the needs and desires of the community.”

The CHNA and its associated Implementation Strategy, which is required of tax-exempt hospitals under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, helps to ensure that hospitals have the information needed to effectively meet the health needs of the communities they serve. This includes information that informs and directs the allocation of the hospital’s community benefit resources, as well as the resources of other community entities responsible for the health and welfare of the community.

For more information, or to read the full CHNA, visit