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​UMass Memorial Health- HealthAlliance Clinton Hospital announces $717k investment in local community initiatives to address  social determinants of health

Leominster, Mass – UMass Memorial Health- HealthAlliance Clinton Hospital recently invested $717,000 to fund community-based initiatives aimed at tackling the urgent health challenges of food insecurity, substance abuse, and workforce development.  To date, the hospital has committed more than $820,000 in resources, including emergency COVID response funding.  

This funding was made available by the Massachusetts Determination of Need (DoN) process regulating community investment as hospital capital improvement projects are approved.  As a result of HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital’s new Emergency Department, the hospital agreed to invest more than $2 million over a five-year period.   Once the hospital completes an updated community needs assessment this Fall, another round of funding will be made available to address health equity using a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

In this most recent round, ten proposals were chosen which feature a wide range of programmatic investments, upstream policy and systems change approaches addressing the social determinants of health. Priorities were determined by the community-driven process outlined in the 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan which highlighted: 

“The lack of affordable housing, training opportunities, youth services and access to healthy food options disproportionately affect many of our local neighborhoods, particularly communities of color, leading to increased health disparities,” said Steve Roach, CEO of HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital. “We thank our Community Advisory Board and Allocation Committee for their dedication, and mindful approach to equitable investment to help make sustainable, long term investments to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.”  

Those investments include the following projects:

Tier 2 (One-time awards up to $25,000)

LUK, Inc:  Awarded $12,500 to expand the scope of their Youth Development Services to begin

addressing Teen Dating Violence. The proposed project includes the delivery of nationally recognized prevention curriculum, peer-led workshops, and peer support training.

GAAMHA: Awarded $25,000 to cover the costs for seven substance use professionals to receive Family-Focused Addiction Support Training (FAST).  The additional training will provide them with the additional capacity needed to begin offering both Community Meetings and Individual Family Recovery Coaching Services in the North Central area. 

Growing Places & WHEAT: Awarded $22,5600 to Growing Places and WHEAT Community Connections propose a collaborative approach to address the disproportionate rates of preventable chronic conditions in North Central MA (NCMA): activating a Mobile Fresh Food Pantry in four diverse communities (Clinton, Fitchburg, Leominster and Lancaster) with compromised access to healthy eating opportunities. The primary aim of this request is to build their capacity to transition the region’s most vulnerable populations up the food security continuum from Stage 1) short-term relief to Stage 2) capacity building strategies.

Spanish American Center: Awarded $25,000 to improve the delivery of healthcare to under-served Latinos by using trained community-based peers and trusted neighbors (Promotores) to bridge the gap between Latinos and healthcare providers.

Aids Project Worcester: Awarded $25,000 to provide transportation resources to clients with access barriers to services.

Tier 3 (Multi-year awards up to $100,000 annually)

Clinton Public Schools: Awarded $100,000 to open a Family Welcome Center in the Central Office.  The funds will be used to hire a Family Outreach Coordinator to assist families as they navigate the school system and help them to access community resources such as food and housing assistance.

Germinemos & Sprout Change (Somerville Hispanic Assoc. for Community Development, Inc.): Awarded $127,660 to offer 3 health-building products and services benefiting the individual, community, and environment including Individual consultations;  Community organizational wellness programs on Food as Medicine & Natural Remedies workshop series and environment education open to the public or private with No-Dig Garden workshop series. SHACD is the nonprofit entity that is contracting with two Clinton based private entities, Germinemos and Sprout Change to conduct the work locally. Germinemos is a plant-based healing foods culinary institute where students learn step-by-step how to improve or reverse lifestyle illnesses. SproutChange is a social enterprise that assists customers change their lives using food as medicine, natural remedies, and herbs.”

CHNA-9: Awarded $200,000 to convene 6 local institutions, including Community Health Connections, Fitchburg State University, Gardner Public Schools, Heywood Healthcare, and LUK to form the North Central Massachusetts Anchor Collaborative.  Anchor institutions are large place-based nonprofits that play a vital role investing in their local communities and economies. The goal of this effort is to develop a cohesive collaborative of local anchor organizations that can systematically have direct impacts on growing and sustaining local economic and social wealth as well as healthy communities.

MWCC: Awarded $99,600 to pilot and launch an English Language Learners (ELL) Health Care Training Academy on its Leominster campus. The academy will create a pipeline that removes socioeconomic barriers with health care training, education, and employment opportunities in north central Massachusetts.  Partnering with local community, faith-based, and state organizations in UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton’s region, this training academy would recruit and train approximately 48 of the region’s most vulnerable limited English proficient learners annually once fully operational.

Salvation Army: Awarded $80,000 to support their Comprehensive Basic Needs (CBN) Program including rent & utility assistance; emergency disaster services; case management and food pantry resources.

Tier 1: Since October of 2019, Health-Alliance Clinton Hospital has awarded 29 local organizations with Tier 1 awards (up to $5,000 grants) totaling more than $100,000 in resources to address local community need.  The awards have a rolling application process.

About UMass Memorial Health- HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital

UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital is a full-service, 163 bed community hospital serving communities in North Central Massachusetts and surrounding cities and towns with a team of over 400 physicians across 40 health care specialties. We provide a full complement of services on our three campuses in Clinton, Fitchburg and Leominster including two 24-hour state-of-the-art emergency departments; an urgent care center; primary care, behavioral health, a complementary care center and specialty care such as the Simonds-Sinon Regional Cancer Center, home health and hospice, physical therapy centers, and geriatric psychiatry programs and services. Visit our website for more information.