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Whittier Street Health Center receives grants to support its medical services

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Whittier Street Health Center, one of the region’s leading community health centers, has been awarded $1.48 million in grants in support of the expansion of its medical services. A grant of $500K was awarded by The Office of Community Services (OCS) to aid the health center’s construction of a new Medical Fitness Facility. OCS awarded 26 organizations across the country with its Community Economic Development (CED) grant and Whittier was the only Massachusetts non-profit recipient of this grant. The center is also the recipient of two other grants, $750K from The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to support the expansion of its HIV program and $230K from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), to support the health center’s Boston Health Equity Program (BHEP). BHEP serves as a primary care delivery model that combines care coordination, community outreach and wellness support.

Whittier is one of more than 20 community health care centers in Greater Boston providing services to some of the city’s most underserved populations. In January 2012, the center opened the doors to its brand new state-of-the-art health center to serve up to 40,000 patients per year. Since then, Whittier has continued to expand the breadth and depth of its services.

“It is Whittier’s commitment to eliminate health disparities and their associated costs. We are at the forefront of changing the health care delivery system from one that is expensive and episodic to one of being proactive, wellness-and prevention-focused, and a less costly model,” said Frederica M. Williams, President and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center. “With the support of the Office of Community Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, we are fulfilling Whittier’s mission to promote wellness and prevention and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care.”

In the lower level of Whittier, a Medical Fitness Center has been mapped out and is designed to provide integrative medical services to address the physical, emotional and mental health of Whittier patients. The $500K grant from OCS, which supports community economic development and healthy food financing initiative projects, will assist Whittier in getting closer to ground breaking. Another $600K is needed to be raised and with the OCS investment, Whittier is getting closer to realizing that vision.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded Whittier with a grant of $750K to expand its medical capacity and HIV program and services. Whittier was one of 22 health centers in four states to receive such a grant to expand its HIV services. HRSA provides funding to organizations that proactively acknowledge the needs, plans, and efforts to enhance health care delivery and access, particularly in relation to facilitating patient access to wellness and fitness activities.

Through HRSA’s Partnerships for Care program, the funding will allow Whittier to expand its HIV primary care program to integrate HIV screening, counseling, and care for all Whittier patients ages 15 and above, and to connect new HIV-positive clients to Whittier’s services.

The Boston Health Equity Program has been a successful initiative of Whittier’s since its inception in 2013. BHEP stratifies patients according to the severity of their condition and provides services through multidisciplinary teams of health care professionals to include physicians, nurses, nutritionists, case managers, licensed therapists, community health workers and many others. The $230K grant from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services will support BHEP in promoting disease prevention and utilizing best practices to provide integrated care which supports all the needs of the patient, not just one aspect.

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