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Brigham and Women’s Hospital issues request for proposals for Health Equity Grants

Brigham and Women’s Hospital - Health Equity Grants available

Sponsored by Brigham and Women’s Hospita
Brigham and Women’s Hospital issues request for proposals for Health Equity Grants
An online game called “What Matters for Health” was launched by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Emerson College to determine what services residents wanted to improve the health of their community. Promoting community psychological wellness and well-being was one of the three key areas that resulted from the game. (Photo: Photo: Thinkstockphotos.com/Siphotography)

According to the Boston Public Health Commission’s Health of Boston 2014-2015 report, the city’s residents of color experience poorer health outcomes, higher rates of chronic diseases and lower life expectancies than its white residents. Health inequities have been a major challenge within the Boston community for many decades. That is one of the reasons why Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is deeply committed to working with the residents of Boston’s diverse neighborhoods to break through the barriers to health, often encountered by individuals in our communities.

“In the past decades, there have been ground breaking research and cutting edge technologies that have advanced health care by leaps and bounds,” said Wanda McClain, vice president of the Center for Community Health and Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “However, significant health inequities persist for communities of color and vulnerable populations, much of which is attributable to the social and economic conditions in which people live.”

On the web

For more information regarding the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Health Equity Grants, including the full request for proposals, send direct emails to bwhhegrants@partners.org.

With the approval of the determination of needs application (DoN) for two of the hospital building projects, BWH was provided with a great opportunity to further its ongoing investment in community health in its priority neighborhoods of Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill and Roxbury. Over a seven year period, BWH is making $4.45 million dollars in health equity grants available to community organizations working closely and effectively with residents in these five neighborhoods.

Provided with the feedback received from its latest community health needs assessment and public health research, BWH and its DoN planning partners, which include the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Boston Public Health Commission and representatives of two ten-taxpayer groups comprised of community leaders and residents, sought to obtain broad and diverse input from local residents of the five priority neighborhoods. Working with the Institute for Community Health and the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, BWH launched an innovative online game called “What Matters for Health” to learn more about the programs, services and policies that residents felt are important to health and well-being. The game allowed players to contribute and share ideas and opinions with other residents.

“We knew it was imperative for us to partner with people in our priority neighborhoods, many of whom have solutions that we may not have considered. They have provided extremely valuable input as we determine our funding priorities,” McClain said.

By the end of the three-week game period, about 500 residents had contributed more than 8,000 comments on what it means for their communities to be healthy. Their responses helped narrow down the list of key focus areas for grant funds. On April 27, BWH released a request for proposals for health equity grants to fund programs in three key areas: promoting community psychological wellness and well-being, strengthening employment and job skills development opportunities for community residents and addressing health inequities issues with a racial equity “lens”.

It is anticipated that up to 10 grants will be awarded in the fall 2016. Awards will range from $20,000 to $100,000 per year for up to three years. The deadline for applications is June 10, 2016. We anticipate funding an additional cohort of grantees in 2019.