HCN News & Notes

Health New England Honors Tania Barber with Grant to Caring Health Center

SPRINGFIELD — In honor of Tania Barber’s eight years of service on the board of directors of Health New England (HNE), the not-for-profit health plan is donating $5,000 to Caring Health Center. Barber recently retired from the HNE board and is currently the president and CEO of Caring Health Center, the only federally qualified community health center in Springfield.

The grant will focus on Caring Health Center’s new Tania M. Barber Learning Institute, which offers training for professions in the healthcare industry. The model of the Learning Institute, developed by Barber, pays students, often individuals from historically underrepresented groups, while they undergo training for jobs.

“By serving on Health New England’s board, Barber has helped enhance the company’s partnerships with community health entities to form a more collaborative healthcare ecosystem,” said Richard Swift, president and CEO of Health New England. “She helped steer the company through the COVID-19 health emergency while managing her frontline health center as it dealt directly with the ravages of the pandemic. That is exceptional work. We will miss Tania on our board and thank her deeply for her service.”

Barber’s vision for the Learning Institute is to address systemic barriers affecting BIPOC, immigrant, and refugee communities in Springfield. She prioritizes hiring from within the community to respond to workforce shortages and disparities, like racial wealth gaps and barriers to access education. During her two decades at Caring Health Center, she has been committed to lifting others up.

“This donation is so appreciated. The Learning Institute will use these funds to help us keep the doors open, transform lives, and train the next generation of healthcare professionals,” Barber said. “The work we do today will shape the future of so many people and change our community for the better. These funds will also help people from Springfield and other communities gain the skills they need to get jobs with good pay in the healthcare field. It has been a great pleasure serving on the board of Health New England, and I thank my fellow board members for their support of community health.”