Convening communities and expanding public health capacity
PIH-US began partnering with the New Bedford Health Department in early 2021 to support all aspects of the city’s COVID-19 response—from designing operational plans for vaccine clinics to conducting door-to-door community outreach. Now, we’re working across sectors to connect health departments, community organizations, and healthcare providers to center health equity, expand community input into decision-making, and improve health outcomes across New Bedford and elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In New Bedford, we are supporting our partners to reimagine and rebuild a public health system that is truly community-centered and equity-driven. This system will empower the health department to advance evidence-informed and equity-focused policy and programming; elevate the community-based workforce; and support culturally appropriate and antiracist approaches to health and social services. Working closely with the New Bedford Health Department, community organizations, and local leaders, we’re bringing together diverse stakeholders to advance equity through trainings, quarterly community convenings, and targeted working groups; advocating for the deployment of community health workers to directly reach vulnerable populations; and supporting the development of a coordinated, equity-driven community health improvement strategy.
As we expand our impact beyond New Bedford, PIH-US is partnering with a collaborative of five local health departments in the greater Brockton area (Abington, Avon, Brockton, Stoughton, and Whitman) to improve equitable public health service delivery to their communities by supporting more diverse hiring, the expansion of community outreach activities, and standardization and documentation of processes and materials. And in and around Boston, we are training non-clinicians at five community organizations with the skills to identify and respond to common mental health conditions, while improving access to culturally relevant mental health care services.
Trained community outreach workers to conduct surveys for the New Bedford Health Department’s community health needs assessment. This workforce collected over 800 surveys from historically excluded communities offering a deeper understanding of demographics for the community improvement plan that will follow.
Convened quarterly meetings of New Bedford’s Health Equity Community of Practice, a cross-sector initiative to advance community-driven policy changes and best practices. Participants also attend trainings, discussions, and networking events focused on racial/ethnic and health equity.
Supported strategic projects for five public health departments including upgrading department equipment, facilitating access to trainings for staff, and digitizing existing department archives.