LOS ANGELES– Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) completed the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), part of the hospital’s continual commitment to better understand the health of its primary “neighborhood” – Los Angeles County – and the people who live there. The CHNA takes a deep dive into the community’s health and social needs enabling the hospital to implement strategies to address the key areas of the report’s findings.
“Embedded within the DNA of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a longstanding tradition of responding to the health and social needs of our community,” says CHLA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul S. Viviano. “We know all too well that our mission – creating hope and building healthier futures for children – is inextricably tied to the health of our greater community. The Community Health Needs Assessment allows us to identify areas of need, and we look at where CHLA has strengths that may be able to address those needs and where we can influence change or identify the best partners to take the lead.”
The 2022 CHNA tells a story of a population further stressed by an unprecedented virus. In 2016 and 2019, CHNA survey participants identified mental health as the top community priority. That need became even more urgent in the tumultuous COVID-19 years. In 2021, 46.1% of adult Californians reported experiencing anxiety or depression, the 2022 survey revealed. Over a quarter of teens (27.5%) in L.A. County reported needing help with mental and emotional health.
“CHLA’s 2022 CHNA revealed that mental health is a significant concern for many community stakeholders, especially for children, adolescents and young adults,” says Lara Khouri, CHLA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. “At CHLA, delivery of mental health services for patients by behavioral health specialists embedded in multiple CHLA specialty divisions has been a longstanding hospital commitment.”
Recently, CHLA has built on this foundation by launching new initiatives tied to the behavioral and developmental health of children, including the formation of the Behavioral Health Institute, the Department of Psychology, the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, the Developmental and Behavioral Outpatient Center. “These programs were inspired by the growing need for these types of services in the community and we shifted our priorities accordingly to help meet those needs,” Khouri says.
To assemble the 2022 Community Needs Health Assessment report, which is required of all nonprofit hospitals every three years by state and federal law, CHLA’s Office of Community Affairs joined with the Center for Nonprofit Management to conduct extensive data research about communities across L.A. County, home to 85% of its patient population. The team engaged a range of stakeholders, including nonprofit organizations, government and social service agencies, local neighborhood groups, schools and colleges. Also surveyed were 350 community members of all ages—from middle-school students and teenagers to adults and seniors, as well as more than 260 CHLA team members.
Other community priorities noted in the 2022 report include homelessness/housing, economic security/poverty, patient/family-centered health care, obesity, food security and the impact of communicable/infectious disease. At least 1 in 5 households reported experiencing food insecurity—a top concern in previous years’ CHNA’s as well.
The findings also help guide development of CHLA’s Community Benefit Implementation Strategies—just as CHNAs in the past have resulted in successful community-centric programs.
The 2022 CHNA report can be found in its entirety here.