Community Benefits Highlights
UMass Memorial Community Benefits programs are designed to respond to identified needs and address health disparities among our most vulnerable populations. Our health care system has a long-standing commitment and history of engaging with the community and working in partnerships with public health, government agencies, educational institutions, advocacy groups, neighborhood and faith-based associations, as well as state and local philanthropies to create a powerful collaborative approach.
Learn more about some of our most successful programs: (Click the headline of each to view a short video about the initiative.)
City-wide Pediatric Asthma Intervention Program
UMass Memorial Medical Center coordinates and co-leads a city-wide task force that addresses high rates of pediatric asthma and related emergency department visits. The evidence-based intervention program provides home visits performed by culturally competent community health workers who address triggers in the home and offer education to ensure medication is being administered correctly. A Policy Task Force also addresses environmental triggers in the schools.
Like most large cities, Worcester faces many issues that it can’t handle alone. UMass Memorial Medical Center recognized that fact many years ago and developed strategic partnerships with the city and its residents. One example is the establishment of a private/public First-time Home Buyer program that lead to 24 homes being purchased in Worcester’s Bell Hill neighborhood.
Established and directed by Michael Hirsh, MD, chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery, director, Trauma Services, and surgeon-in-chief at UMass Memorial Medical Center, Goods for Guns retrieves firearms from the community and educates on proper storage of guns to reduce injury and gun-related violence. Gun buyback events are held in collaboration with 16 police departments in Worcester and surrounding communities.
Developed in 2010 by the Regional Environmental Council (REC) with support from UMass Memorial Medical Center and the City of Worcester, the Grant Square Community Garden has 30 raised beds, which are maintained by REC’s YouthGROW program and neighborhood residents. The garden generates between 500 and 800 pounds of produce annually that are distributed at 15 stops in food-insecure areas across the city through REC’s Veggie Mobile, where food stamp values are doubled through hospital funding. The hospital’s Building Brighter Futures with Youth program provides inner city youth with summer YouthGROW employment opportunities each year at the garden.
Healthy Options for Prevention and Education (HOPE) Coalition
The HOPE Coalition is a youth-adult partnership created to reduce youth violence and substance use, and promote adolescent mental health. HOPE peer leaders co-chair the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force with the Worcester Division of Public Health.
UMass Memorial Medical Center supports the executive director position at Hector Reyes House, a residential substance abuse treatment program for Latino men. In addition to on-site medical care and cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce relapse and ease the transition to independent living, the program offers job training and workforce skill development at the recently launched Café Reyes, featuring Cuban food and coffee.
UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital Programs
In collaboration with Oriol Health Care and BayPath Elder, we offer programs to improve the quality of life of our community members, including the evidence-based Mi Vida, Mi Salud, (My Life, My Health) Chronic Disease Self-management program in English and Spanish, and the Matter of Balance falls prevention program for seniors, offered in collaboration with BayPath Elder Services.
Our Summer Internship Program offers high school graduates, and students currently enrolled in a college degree program, the opportunity to gain professional experience in a health care setting.
UMass Memorial – Marlborough Hospital Programs
We lead the Walking School Bus program at the Richer Elementary School in Marlborough. By actively supervising nearly 200 students in the spring and fall, hospital staff helps to make walking to school safer while promoting healthy, wellness and physical fitness.
UMass Memorial Ronald McDonald Care Mobile
Launched in 2000, the Care Mobile provides onsite medical and dental services to children, families and individuals in 11 low-income neighborhoods. It also brings preventive dental services to 20 Worcester Public Schools, where young children have a high incidence of tooth decay due to lack of fluoridation in the city water.