Faith support for families experiencing trauma offers comfort, builds trust in health care system

Prime Together Foundation grant helps Hennepin Healthcare expand cultural competencies by embedding Muslim clerics in care teams

November 23, 2022

Anyone who’s ever landed in the emergency department knows the experience can cause common reactions such as fear, uncertainty or the inability to make decisions. Now, imagine being a new U.S. citizen with limited English proficiency and no knowledge of the health care system – suffering trauma or illness – and still being required to read paperwork, trust the health care team and decipher how/where to practice their faith.

Providing exceptional care without exception

As innovators in influencing the health of its community, Hennepin Healthcare is known for giving each patient the highest level of care regardless of who they are, where they come from, what language they speak or their financial ability. They strive to meet the challenge of providing health care for all. And they serve a diverse group of patients with complex needs including those with chronic illness, people experiencing homelessness or severe mental illness and those addicted to substances. Most of Hennepin Healthcare’s patients receive financial support through Medicaid and Medicare.

“As part of our health equity growth journey, the organization identified the absence of Muslim faith support and the Foundation answered the call by raising funds to employ two clerics with the goals of supporting the faith of patients and building trust in the health care system among the Muslim community,” said Amy Carlson, senior director, marketing and donor engagement for Hennepin Healthcare Foundation. “For our African refugee community, their experience with us builds bridges that lead to better health outcomes for all. When one member of their community is treated with respect, there’s a ripple effect.”

The Prime Together Foundation gave a grant to the Hennepin Healthcare Foundation to help enhance faith support and spiritual care for patients and families of the Muslim faith receiving care in the Hennepin Healthcare system. Hennepin Healthcare is an integrated system of care that includes HCMC, Minnesota’s largest level one trauma center, safety net and public teaching hospital, as well as primary care clinics located in Hennepin County. Hennepin Healthcare Foundation helps remove barriers to health care access, enhance the patient and family experience, teach the workforce of tomorrow and advance medical research.

 Carlson added, “Familiarity during one’s most traumatic times can be lifechanging. Our clerics are embedded in the care team to provide a more cohesive patient experience. As ambassadors for the Muslim faith, they help the staff understand patient needs and the intricacies of language and prayer,  creating the inclusive vision to which we all aspire.”

Hennepin Healthcare Cleric Shukri Salah provides spiritual care for patients and families of the Muslim faith

“The Prime Together Foundation gift has tangible and sustainable outcomes,” said Carlson. “To date, the consistent support of our clerics has touched at least 2,000 families, giving 25-30 Muslim patients each day a way to connect with their faith community during a challenging time.”

Prime employee reflects on board service and extending Hennepin Healthcare’s vision of transforming the health of its community

Rich Daddi, principal architect, information technology for Prime, served on Hennepin Healthcare Foundation’s Board of Directors for six years. After a friend asked him to apply for board membership, Daddi visited HCMC and saw incredible acts of service that stuck with him. The care he witnessed being given to diverse, vulnerable patients and their families – including a physician stopping to give directions to a mother with small children – underscored Hennepin Healthcare’s vision of transforming the health of its community through exceptional care without exception.

Daddi nominated the organization for a Prime Together Foundation grant. “Like Prime Therapeutics, Hennepin Healthcare is fully committed to putting its patients first at every level of the organization,” said Daddi. “Hennepin Healthcare Foundation is deeply rooted in social justice, which closely mirrors our Foundation’s mission to work with our communities to address inequality and injustice in all its manifestations, particularly racism, poverty, health and hunger.”

While Hennepin County pays for uninsured county citizens, that only makes up 2-3% of Hennepin Healthcare’s revenue. Donor generosity elevates Hennepin Healthcare’s clinical care, community health, medical education and research efforts. Gifts help ensure all patients receive the access, experience and dignity of care everyone seeks and deserves.

Daddi added, “The Hennepin Healthcare Foundation relies heavily on philanthropy. One grant makes a distinct impact and really changes individuals’ lives. So, there’s a big opportunity for giving to help provide exceptional care to all.”

Read more about the Prime Together Foundation’s inaugural grants on Prime’s Foundation webpage.

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