HCN News & Notes

Health New England Joins Western Massachusetts Anchor Collaborative

SPRINGFIELD — Health New England (HNE) has joined the Western Massachusetts Anchor Collaborative (WMAC), a coalition of anchor institutions — businesses, educational institutions, and government entities — that aim to increase spending on regional businesses owned by women and members of historically underrepresented groups in economically disadvantaged areas. They also aim to hire more people from these groups and locations and ensure pathways to advancement for them. The collaborative is specifically focused on Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee.

WMAC is a program developed by the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council and Baystate Health, which have established multi-year targets to increase local investment with historically underrepresented groups. Member anchor institutions collaborate to help their communities become more healthy, safe, vibrant, and stable through intentional investment in local businesses, hiring and promoting, purchasing, and enacting policies that address disparities.

Health New England’s mission is to improve the health and lives of the people in the communities it serves. During its nearly 40-year history, it has strived to meet the healthcare needs of individuals and organizations who have been historically underrepresented. Health New England also provides employment and advancement opportunities for those from this demographic. In addition, as a Springfield-based not-for-profit, HNE invests in its local community. Now, as an anchor of the collaborative, it will be able to have an even greater impact on the community through collaboration with other anchor institutions.

“The health of individuals and communities is directly linked to economic well-being,” said Richard Swift, president and CEO of Health New England and a board member of the collaborative. “By ensuring a path to hiring and career progression for people who are sometimes passed over due to bias or institutional racism, and by increasing procurement from organizations they run or own, Health New England strengthens our community and our company. We are proud to work with this group of organizations and further improve the economic vitality of our region.”

Other members of WMAC include some of the region’s largest employers, such as Baystate Health, Big Y Foods, the cities of Springfield and Holyoke, Bay Path University, Springfield College, UMass Amherst, and Holyoke Community College.