CHNA's Community Engagement

Northern Light Health’s promise is to make healthcare work for you—all the people of Maine. This starts by identifying and assessing priority needs across the state and eliminating barriers to living a healthy life.

We are proud to collaborate with Central Maine Healthcare, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, MaineGeneral Health, and MaineHealth on the Maine Shared Community Health Needs Assessment (Maine Shared CHNA).

Every three years, this collaborative develops shared community health needs assessment reports and engages communities statewide in supporting data-driven health improvement plans for Maine people.

Northern Light Health uses this assessment to turn data into action because we believe by partnering with our communities, we can help Maine become the healthiest state in the nation.

How was Community Outreach Conducted for the Maine Shared Community Health Needs Assessment?

Between September and December 2021, local Maine Shared CHNA planning committees hosted forums and conducted community outreach to ensure input and feedback from those who represent the broad interests of the community, including but not limited to individuals who identify with a minority race, ethnicity or national origin; those who are medically underserved, experience low-income, and may experience health disparities. 

The purpose of these activities was to collect data such as:

  • Community identified health priorities

  • Gaps and barriers which must be overcome to address each priority

  • Resources potentially available to address each priority

Community outreach and engagement for the Maine Shared CHNA included such efforts as:

  • 17 County Forums (Maine)

  • 9 Community Sponsored Events

  • 1,000 Oral Surveys

In 2021, forums were offered to the community

These county-level forums reviewed County Health Profiles containing critical health indicators and measures that initiated discussion. Attendees were asked to lend their voices to community health issues that are important to them while providing suggestions to address these priority issues. Forums using the Zoom platform were offered in all 16 counties in Maine.

  • Androscoggin County: November 10, 2021

  • Aroostook County: November 3, 2021 

  • Cumberland County - Portland: October 5, 2021

  • Cumberland County – Lakes Region: October 26, 2021

  • Franklin County: November 3, 2021 

  • Hancock County: September 30, 2021

  • Kennebec County: November 2, 2021

  • Knox County: December 2, 2021

  • Lincoln County: November 17, 2021

  • Oxford County: November 9, 2021

  • Penobscot County: September 23, 2021

  • Piscataquis County: September 7, 2021

  • Sagadahoc County: November 16, 2021

  • Somerset County: November 16, 2021

  • Waldo County: November 4, 2021

  • Washington County: September 17, 2021

  • York County: September 27, 2021

What was new this cycle of community outreach?

New this cycle was an expanded effort to reach those who experience systemic disadvantages and therefore experience a greater rate of health disparities. Two types of outreach were piloted. One effort included nine community-sponsored events. The hosts were chosen for their statewide reach. The communities included: 

  • Black or African American

  • Homeless or formerly homeless 

  • LGBTQ+ community

  • Older adults

  • People who are deaf or hard of hearing 

  • People who live with a disability  

  • People with low income 

  • People with a mental health diagnosis 

  • Youth

These events followed the same methodology as county forums with hosts providing input on the data presentation and leading the effort to recruit participants. Oral surveys were conducted in collaboration with 10 ethnic-based community organizations’ (ECBO’s) community health workers to better reach Maine’s immigrant population. There were 1,000 surveys were conducted in either English, Arabic, Somali, French, Spanish, Lingala, and Swahili.

Results of the 2022 Shared CHNA including extensive community input were used to inform the development of Northern Light Health Member’s Community Health Strategy that will guide efforts to address identified community priorities over the next three years (FY23-FY25).