Research and Evaluation

Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)

The goal of the CHNA is to understand and document health status, health behavior and priority needs of the community. The Saint Francis approach is to develop a model that highlights community input, includes an iterative data collection process, and is defined by a broad health equity agenda in line with the mission of the hospital.

Results from the 2013 CHNA (which included collaboration with the Hartford City Health and Human Services Department, CT Children’s Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, and UCONN Health Center) were used to create a Saint Francis Strategic Implementation Plan for Community Benefit. The issues outlined in that document include:

  • Improving Communication
  • Addressing Barriers to Care
  • Focusing on Specific Health Outcomes
  • Collaborating on Social Determinants of Health

View CHNA 2016 (pdf).

For 2016, the CHNA is now embedded in our Center for Health Equity which allows for continuous community engagement and an iterative and ongoing data collection process. Saint Francis has contracted with Data Haven CT to complete a Wellbeing telephone survey of community members within our catchment area which includes a broad agenda of health equity issues. View model and timeline (pdf).

Operation MEN (Medical Experience Narratives) -A Qualitative Research Project to Investigate the Primary Care Experiences of African American Men (November 2013-October 2014)

The purpose of this study is to obtain a better understanding of African-American men’s experience with the healthcare system with the goal of learning, from these men, what should be done to improve the services they receive. Participants over the age of 18 were recruited at Saint Francis Hospital emergency department, clinics, and churches that primarily serve African-Americans as well as community partners around the Hartford area through posters on bulletin boards advertising the study. After the analysis, factors such as cost, availability of doctors, the length of time to get an appointment, and long wait times were frequently mentioned as barriers that prevent these men from getting regular primary care. Among men who have not gotten primary care in over 2 years, it was frequently reported that using emergency room for care was easier than seeing a doctor regularly. Over half of the men reported that they had health conditions that had gone untreated because they did not seek medical care. The findings support the need to implement a strategy that brings PCPs and patients together to assess the health needs of African-American men.

A Photovoice Diabetes Project- A Qualitative Research Project to Investigate the Experience of Individuals Impacted by Diabetes (June 2015-Present)

Photovoice is a highly flexible participatory action research technique wherein participants use cameras to record and reflect their viewpoints, and translate those perspectives as a vital source of expertise on salient topics. Researchers have used photovoice with communities and individuals to address health topics such as obesity prevention, food security, access to care, health disparities, and to conduct needs assessments, which is most relevant to our study purpose. The purpose of this study is to use qualitative participatory action research methods to obtain a better understanding of our community’s experiences with diabetes. The specific aims are:

  1. Explore the range and ways diabetes impacts the lives of a sample of individuals living in Hartford, Connecticut.
  2. Explore the health seeking behaviors, including experiences with primary care providers and emergency departments, used by these individuals to manage their experience with diabetes.
  3. To obtain insight on the barriers that members of this community face when attempting to receive care, treatment, and live with diabetes.


In November of 2010, Tuskegee University, one of America's most distinguished, historically black universities, and the Men's Health Institute at Saint Francis, entered into an historic partnership. Under this partnership, research teams will study African-American prostate biopsies in order to identify biomarkers relating to prostate cancer. The identification of these biomarkers will be an important step toward the development of effective means for preventing prostate cancer. This partnership, with its research, analysis, and outreach projects, will benefit not only African-Americans, but all who might fall victim to this silent killer.