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  • Jun 22, 2023

CHA Raises over $660,000 at Its Annual Art of Healing Award Dinner

CHA honors Marylou Sudders, former Mass. Secretary of Health and Human Services

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), an academic community health system serving Cambridge, Somerville and Boston's metro-north region, honored Marylou Sudders, former secretary of Mass. Health and Human Services, with its annual Art of Healing Award on June 14 at The Charles Hotel in Cambridge. Secretary Sudders was honored for her role in expanding mental health services across the state of Massachusetts. Former Mass. Governor Charlie Baker and CHA CEO Assaad Sayah, MD, presented Secretary Sudders with the award, and professional auctioneer Cathy McPherson led the event’s Fund-a-Need. Special thanks to CHA’s outstanding partner and Leadership Sponsor, Cambridge Savings Bank.

Over the past decade, mental health services stretched beyond capacity, reaching a crisis with children and adults boarding in emergency departments across the state for months. The Mass. Executive Office of Health and Human Services partnered with CHA to respond, ushering in a new approach to providing mental health services across the state. Secretary Sudders was instrumental in supporting CHA’s new child and adolescent units, as well as launching 25 Community Behavioral Health Centers, one of which is at CHA Cambridge Hospital.

"It was an honor to recognize Marylou Sudders for her unwavering commitment to CHA and Behavioral Health in Massachusetts," said Susie Posner-Jones, Cambridge Health Alliance chief development officer. "Marylou has been a critical partner for a long time; most recently through the pandemic and the growing mental health crisis. Art of Healing, which highlights the vision and work of CHA and Marylou's support, made for a remarkable gathering in support of CHA."

The award was presented during CHA's signature fundraising event, which raised more than $660,000 to support the health system’s vision of equity and excellence for everyone, every time. The Art of Healing Award celebrates visionary people who transcend boundaries, embrace humanity and inspire the healing of body and spirit. Past honorees include Dr. Noubar Afeyan, founder and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence, former Mass. Governor Michael and Mrs. Kitty Dukakis, and Donald Berwick, MD, former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The focus of this year’s event was mental and behavioral health. For eight years, Marylou Sudders oversaw 12 state agencies and the MassHealth program, with a combined budget of over $27 billion and 22,000 public employees. EOHHS programs and services represent 53 percent of the state’s budget and provide treatment, care, and support to one in every three residents.

Earlier this year, CHA opened a new Community Behavioral Health Center (CBHC) at CHA Cambridge Hospital, with a second site to follow in Malden later this year. In June 2022, CHA opened the Center for Inpatient Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, which includes a 24-bed Child Psychiatry Unit for children ages 3-12, a 21-bed Adolescent Psychiatry Unit for youth ages 13-17, and a 24-bed Neurodevelopmental Unit which provides multidisciplinary and specialized care to children and adolescents with a variety of clinical needs.

In his remarks, former Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker said, "When looking for Community-Based Behavioral Health partners, we knew Cambridge Health Alliance would be a star if allowed to play. You undoubtedly did, and you continue to shine."

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