242269 Reporting of global health activities among U.S. nonprofit hospitals: Assessing the benefit to global communities

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Roy Ahn, MPH, ScD , Division of Global Health & Human Rights, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
Thomas F. Burke, MD , Division of Global Health & Human Rights, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Many U.S. nonprofit hospitals engage in global health activities (e.g., humanitarian relief), yet little is known about the extent to which these activities are measured or reported. Given that nonprofit hospitals are increasingly under pressure to justify their tax-exempt status from the government, global health activities represent one domain of nonprofit hospitals' commitments to underserved populations.


To systematically review nonprofit hospitals' community benefit reports for evidence of global health activities, and to create a typology of these activities.


We randomly select 100 nonprofit hospitals in the United States. (Our sampling frame comprises the 2,000-plus nonprofit hospitals in the American Hospital Directory.) We analyze these hospitals' community benefit reports in terms of their coverage of global health activities as well as the usefulness of this information in assessing each hospital's impact on global health.


We report on the breadth and depth of reporting on global health activities for each hospital, and in the aggregate for the study sample. We array these activities by type (e.g., medical education/training, direct provision of health services). We also document notable global health reporting practices in the sample. Finally, we provide recommendations for improving measurement and reporting of global health activities among nonprofit hospitals.


As nonprofit hospitals increasingly engage in global health work, improving the metrics related to these activities may help quantify and demonstrate the value of such work to policymakers, hospital leadership, and other key stakeholders.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the role of U.S. nonprofit hospitals in the provision of global health activities; and 2. Assess breadth and depth of nonprofit hospital reporting of their global health activities.

Keywords: Community Benefits, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am research director for a Division of Global Health and Human Rights, Department of Emergency Medicine, at Massachusetts General Hospital. I am an experienced policy analyst on health issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.