Cambridge, MA - Dennis D. Keefe, CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and Commissioner of Health and Hospitals for the City of Cambridge, and Barbara Kibler, Executive Director of The Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House (MFNH), are pleased to announce funding from the Federal Office of Minority Health. The unique partnership that they have formed has been awarded $250,000 annually for three years with MFNH as the lead grantee. The grant's consortium will be called Men's Community Health Connections.
The main goal of the grant is to examine whether a partnership between grass-roots community organizations and a health system can be effective in reducing health disparities. CEO of CHA, Dennis D. Keefe said that: "We will work with our collaborators in Cambridge to build a partnership that is effective in developing and implementing programs to reduce health disparities."
Barbara Kibler, Executive Director of The Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, lead grantee, says: "We will work as a team to coordinate health education, screenings and connection to primary care to men of color in Cambridge by holding community health outreach events in churches, community centers and worksites."
Mayor Kenneth E. Reeves of Cambridge concurs: "I have full confidence that Cambridge Health Alliance and its community partners will continue to improve health outcomes for men of color in the City of Cambridge."
An exciting feature of the collaboration will include engaging men in behavioral change by enrolling them in the Fitness Buddies Program, a social support exercise promotion program within the Cambridge Public Health Department. This program recently received an award from the National Association of County & City Health Officials as a model practice program. According to Claude-Alix Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer of the Cambridge Public Health Department (CPHD), the health department will play a vital role in managing the Men's Community Health Connections program.
CHA has had a Men of Color Health Improvement Initiative (MOCHI) since 1993. MOCHI will be integrally involved at the community level in implementing the goals of the Men's Community Health Connections program.
Dr. Gregson Pigott, a physician at CHA's Windsor Street Health Center, said it is critical to focus on men of color because of the burden of morbidity and mortality experienced by this group: "Black men face higher mortality rates for diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancers and homicides compared to other groups," said Pigott.
Nancy O'Brien, President and CEO of The Cambridge Family YMCA welcomes further projects with this consortium: "We already enjoy excellent relationships with all of these institutions and have found that the initiatives here for men of color have been well received."
The Institute for Community Health will provide evaluation services to the project.
The Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House (MFNH) is located in Area IV, one of the most densely populated and diverse neighborhoods of Cambridge. Founded in 1902, MFNH is a settlement house which has provided critical information and services to immigrants to successfully assimilate into the American culture. It is also the birthplace of Margaret Fuller, a famed author, feminist, transcendentalist, and social critic. MFNH provides services to over 1,500 children, youth, families, and individuals each year, offering positive role models, support for basic needs, opportunities for community gatherings, and outreach to underserved populations. For more information:www.margaretfullerhouse.org.
The Cambridge Public Health Department strives to improve the quality of life of residents and workers by reducing sickness and injury; encouraging healthy behaviors; and fostering safe and healthy environments in homes, schools, and workplaces. For more information: www.cambridgepublichealth.org.
The Cambridge Family YMCA is a non-profit community service organization whose mission is to build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities by offering programs that develop a healthy spirit, mind, and body. Centered on core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility, the Cambridge Family YMCA practices inclusion for all ages, incomes, abilities, races, religions, ethnicities, and genders. The Cambridge Family YMCA strives to identify and assess the needs of its community in an effort to provide programs that address identified gaps in services for kids and families. For more information: www.cambridgeymca.org.
The Men of Color Health Initiative is a comprehensive program that focuses on the unique health needs of men of color. Our aim is to reduce the overall number of deaths due to heart disease, stroke and other illnesses and to raise awareness of men's health issues. We do this through community education, risk reduction and direct intervention services. Through our efforts, we believe that vast numbers of men can be saved, and that racial inequities in health can be eliminated.
The Institute for Community Health (ICH) is a unique collaboration among three Massachusetts health care systems to improve the health of Cambridge, Somerville and surrounding communities. ICH, which is based at Cambridge Health Alliance, was founded in 2000 by Cambridge Health Alliance, Mount Auburn Hospital, and Partners HealthCare. For more information:www.icommunityhealth.org.
Cambridge Health Alliance is a regional healthcare system with three hospitals and more than twenty primary care practices in Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston's metro-North communities. As a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, Cambridge Health Alliance offers medical residency/training programs and undergraduate learning experiences in hospital and community settings. Cambridge Health Alliance also includes the Cambridge Public Health Department, CHA Physicians Organization (CHAPO), and Network Health, a managed Medicaid plan. For more information: http://www.challiance.org