Health care organizations differ on how to staff community benefit programs. However, there is agreement that a point person should be named and made responsible for the community benefit program, keeping in mind that other persons from throughout the organization also will be involved.
Most hospitals find they need a full-time staff member to coordinate efforts within the organization. A growing number of hospitals and health systems are developing a full staff of public health and other professionals to work in community benefit and community health improvement.
Competencies needed by community benefit professionals include:
- Experience carrying out community benefit and/or public health and community health improvement initiatives, particularly assessment and program planning, implementation and evaluation.
- Understanding of public health, such as knowledge of health status of populations, health disparities, determinants of health and illness, prevention and health promotion strategies.
- Ability to work collaboratively with community members and other organizations.
- Ability to work collaboratively with the other departments or groups in the organization that are essential to carrying out the organization’s community benefit work, including finance, planning and communications.
- Ability to use technology to increase effectiveness of community benefit efforts, including use of Web-based public health resources in assessment and planning, software for tracking and reporting community benefit and social media to share information about the organization’s community benefit work.
- Knowledge and experience in working with minority and vulnerable populations.