Greater Lowell Health Alliance Announces $185,000 in Community Grants
Oct 23, 2018 12:03PM
By Bill Gilman
The Greater Lowell Health Alliance of Community Health Network Area 10 (www.greaterlowellhealthalliance.org) has awarded 11 grants totaling $185,000 to community based organizations working to meet the public health needs of the region.
The grants were announced by Executive Director Kerrie D’Entremont at the GLHA’s annual meeting Friday, Oct. 19, at Greater Lowell Technical High School.
These funds are part of approximately $5 million being allocated to GLHA by Lowell General Hospital through the hospital’s Determination of Needs process for its recent campus expansion. This process through the Department of Public Health ensures that hospitals are providing a measurable community benefit to the communities they serve.
“As an organization solely dedicated to improving the quality of health in the communities we serve, we are pleased to get critically needed funds into the hands of the front-line organizations that make such a difference in our communities health,” said Kerrie D’Entremont, GLHA Executive Director.
The GLHA works closely with healthcare providers, business leaders, educators, and civic and community leaders, with a common goal to help the Greater Lowell community identify and address its health and wellness priorities. The GLHA is primarily funded by Lowell General Hospital.
Each year, the GLHA offers grants to support programs and services to improve the overall health of the Greater Lowell community. The CHIP process helped determine priority areas for grants, enabling the GLHA to distribute funds to the organizations on the front line of addressing our area’s unmet health needs. Our 2017, 2018 & 2019 Community Health Initiatives Grants were awarded around health priorities and programs that met the specific areas of focus identified by the CHIP process: Access to Healthy Food, Asthma, Mental Health, Physical Activity, Social Determinants of Health, and Substance Use and Prevention.
This year’s grant winners are:
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell. $10,000 for Emotional CPR (eCPR Training) Project
Through this project, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell will sponsor a two-day eCPR training for the Greater Lowell community, free and open to up to 20 participants. Attendees from the club will include their Youth Services Manager & Licensed Certified Social Worker, Director of Operations, and Program Director, who will then train youth development staff, teen leaders, and parents.
Clarendon Early Education Services. $13,750 for a Farm to Table Educational Program for Family Childcare Educators
This grant will help fund an educational program for family childcare educators to implement home-based Farm to Table activities by planting and cultivating their own edible gardens. It will also provide these educators and families served with resources related to nutrition and food access across the region.
Eliot Community Human Services / The NAN Project $15,000
The NAN Project will bring its mental health awareness and suicide prevention programming to young adults in the Greater Lowell area by recruiting and training 20 local young adults to become peer mentors. It will also help establish Peer Leadership groups in schools to promote mental health awareness activities throughout the school year.
Greater Lowell Technical High School - $19,000 for the Resilience in Student Effort Program
The RISE Program is in response to growing numbers of students missing school due to mental health hospitalizations. The Greater Lowell Technical High School will establish a transitional classroom where students can return to school in a structured, systematic way that better supports their acute presenting issues and overall mental health. The classroom will allow students to complete make-up work more efficiently and will be inclusive of LGBTQ topics to address the negative environment that leads to poor health and educational outcomes for this vulnerable population.
Lowell Community Health Center - $30,000 for Training Frontline Workers to Improve the Health of Our Community: Northeast Region Community Health Education Center
The Training Frontline Health Workers project will support operations of the Northeast Region CHEC, training frontline health workers to address significant Social Determinants of Health by providing effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care services that are responsive to our region’s diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy and other communication needs.
Lowell House Addiction Treatment and Recovery- $34,250 for Family Resource Coaching – A Program for Loved Ones of People in Recovery
This grant will fund a family resource coaching position with specialized training in family and social dynamics and supports. This position will provide unique interventions, including targeted family education and discussion groups that aim to strengthen support networks while coordinating access to specialized peer and family treatment, placement and other resources.
Merrimack Valley Food Bank - $5,000 for Operation Nourish.
Operation Nourish is a children’s feeding program in which the Food Bank partners with 15 Lowell Public Schools and Middlesex Community College to address the nutritional needs of children who struggle with hunger. Each month, teams of volunteers assemble the bags of food, which is delivered by Food Bank staff. Last year, Operation Nourish served over 1,000 students each month.
Middlesex Community College Law Center – $5,000 for Fostering Healthy Behavior through Mediation in Lowell Juvenile Court.
This grant will fund training and placement of four mediation professionals to increase their awareness of contextual, social, historical and cultural factors that influence behaviors that affect health outcomes. The goal is to spare youth lengthy court involvement and possible charges that could include jail time, obtaining a criminal record and other negative influences.
Mill City Grows - $20,000 for Local Foods, Greener Meals Initiative
The vision of the project is to combine food access points at mobile markets with broad and deep educational opportunities and incentive programs to increase access for low-income households. The initiative will also include a feasibility study for a Food Justice Center in Lowell, which will provide combined food access and food through SNAP, HIP and other benefits.
Tewksbury Police Department – $10,000 for BRIDGE/JPD Pilot Transportation Initiative.
This pilot regional program will enhance dual-diagnosis and substance use disorder wraparound services in six communities by transporting people who have no access to affordable transportation to attend detox, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, outpatient therapy, medically assistant treatment (MAT) or any service needed to improve an individual’s continuum of care.
University of Massachusetts Lowell – $23,000 for Age-Friendly Lowell: A Planning Grant.
The aging population in the city of Lowell is a high-risk and vulnerable group. Several factors, such as immigration, crime and poverty, have been identified as specific challenges for the Lowell community and can significantly impact the senior population. The purpose of this project is to build capacity and momentum to conduct an age-friendly initiative in the city of Lowell.
Congratulations to all of our grant recipients on the work they are doing in our communities.
Greater Lowell Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)
A Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is a long-term, systematic effort to address public health problems in a community. The plan is based on the results of community health assessment activities, and is part of a community health improvement process, helping to set priorities, coordinate efforts, and target resources. It should define the vision for the health of the community through a collaborative process and should address the gamut of strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities that exist in the community to improve the health status of that community. (Source: Public Health Accreditation Board)
A CHIP for Greater Lowell
With a goal to create a long-term strategy to strengthen the area’s health systems, our CHIP will be used as road map for health improvement over a three-year period, guiding the investment of resources of organizations with a stake in improving health for the residents of Lowell and the surrounding communities. Our CHIP mission: to turn data into action and working initiatives to address our community’s top health priorities. While addressing specific health priorities, the overarching goal is always one of health equity, meeting the health needs not just for some, but for all.
Who Is Involved
A CHIP’s value and significance stems from the involvement of the community. Over this past year, the GLHA has engaged hundreds of people from more than sixty community organizations to develop our first Community Health Improvement Plan, with many more partner agencies joining every day.
Our Plan in Action
In 2016 and 2017 the GLHA held two high-energy CHIP planning process meetings that enabled us to join with community members and leaders to further identify our community’s top health priorities by drilling deeper into our health needs assessment. Through those meetings, we are working to develop SMART goals and objectives — those that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound — to leverage and maximize community resources to fill gaps and avoid duplication of efforts in these priority areas. The GLHA task forces and the CHIP steering committee, comprising a small group of interested partners in each area of expertise, will continually measure health progress and indicators that will then be reported back to the community.
Although our CHIP is a working document in its early stages, it is already creating impact. The CHIP process helped determine priority areas for grants, enabling the GLHA to distribute funds to the organizations on the front line of addressing our area’s unmet health needs. Our 2017 & 2018 Community Health Initiatives Grants were awarded around health priorities and programs that met the specific areas of focus identified by the CHIP process: Access to Healthy Food, Asthma, Mental Health, Physical Activity, Social Determinants of Health, and Substance Use and Prevention.