Davis, director of elderly and disabled services for the Boston Housing
Authority (BHA), recently received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s
2007 Community Health Leaders Award in recognition of his dedication to
helping seniors move toward a healthier lifestyle.
One of 10 recipients honored at an event held last month in Washington,
D.C., Davis received $105,000 to further the work of his program, as
well as a $20,000 personal award.
“Alfred Davis is one of those gems among human beings who toils quietly
and effectively in a large bureaucracy expecting little recognition for
his work,” wrote the BHA in a statement. “A strong and genial man, he
is admired and is a favorite of elderly and disabled Bostonians who
live in the public housing properties his program supports.”
A leader in Boston’s public housing arena, Davis and his BHA team work
to assist seniors — especially low-income minority citizens — in
maintaining a level of activity, physical strength, energy, health and
fitness as they grow older. As a result of his efforts, elderly and
disabled residents living in Boston’s public housing have access to
high-quality health and wellness programs more frequently associated
with their privileged peers. In addition, the team’s multilingual staff
uses a broad array of programs, including aerobic exercise classes and
bowling, to attract residents of many interests, ages and abilities.
Despite limited resources, Davis’ big-picture vision has helped build
partnerships, inspired admiration from academic institutions and
organizations, and brought agencies across the country to visit and
tour his programs. He has trained non-clinical BHA staff to identify
signs of mental health issues, started food distribution programs at 15
sites and administered supportive social services to grandparents with
custody of their grandchildren.
“Al’s work is an example of the many efforts underway in communities
throughout the nation to take action to address their own problems by
creating new approaches and solutions, and demanding changes in
outdated systems and institutions,” said Community Health Leaders
Director Janice Ford Griffin.