Holyoke Health Center Receives $300,000 Grant To Establish Cardiovascular Disease Program

HOLYOKE — The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) Foundation has awarded $3 million in grants to 10 non-profit health care organizations across the state in an effort to reduce racial and ethnic health care disparities in Massachusetts, including $300,000 to the Holyoke Health Center.


Modeling this new program on its successful diabetes and weight loss programs, the Holyoke Health Center will provide a series of interventions tailored to the psychosocial and cultural needs of Holyoke Latinos who have or are at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

The cardiovascular disease(CVD) program will focus on:

  • Engaging in collaborative goal-setting between patients and providers
  • Improving nutritional education about food choice/meal preparation and improving food availability/access
  • Improving access to physical activities/exercise facilities by implementing and expanding appropriate classes
  • Reducing the level of tobacco use in patients with CVD through cessation, education and advocacy
  • Establishing and improving access to long-term support groups and support behavioral change with counseling and stress-reduction techniques
  • Establishing direct referral process from Holyoke Medical Center to HHC programming for patients with CVD diagnosis
  • Creating community-wide awareness of cardiovascular disease, prevention, and HHC programs.

The foundation’s Closing the Gap on Racial and Ethnic Health Care Disparities grants will support initiatives that take a comprehensive and innovative approach to improving access and reducing barriers to health care and support services for racial and ethnic minorities.

The recipients and their proposed initiatives are as follows:

  • Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention Inc. will launch an initiative to address the high levels of untreated mental health problems and the pervasive presence of traumatic stress among African American, Latino and Somali youth in the Grove Hall neighborhood of Dorchester and the surrounding areas.
  • Boston Medical Center will help to reduce infant mortality by addressing disparities that affect pregnant and postpartum African American women in Boston inner city neighborhoods.
  • Caring Health Center Inc. will reduce diabetes-related health disparities affecting African American and Hispanic residents in the Greater Springfield area by addressing patient, provider and system-level issues.
  • Cape Cod Free Clinic and Community Health Center will develop a continuum of services to identify and coordinate care for African American, Latin American, and Native American residents that have untreated and poorly controlled diabetes.
  • Center for Community Health Education Research and Services (CCHERS) will implement a clinical pharmacy intervention program in Dorchester and Roxbury community health centers to reduce persistent health care disparities among African American and Latino children with asthma.
  • DotWell, a collaborative effort of Codman Square Health Center and the Dorchester House Multi-Service Center, will implement a comprehensive program that targets African American residents who have diabetes or are at risk for developing the disease to prevent acute incidents and complications, and help patients address the lifestyle issues related to diabetes.
  • Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Inc. will address the disproportionate prevalence of asthma among Latino adults and children in Lawrence through an intensive nurse case manager program and comprehensive patient action plan.
  • Partners in Health/PACT will partner with two Greater Boston community health centers to improve health outcomes among African American and Latino HIV positive patients.
  • Tufts-New England Medical Center Inc. (NEMC) will partner with two Boston Public Schools in Chinatown to create a comprehensive initiative that addresses the extremely high incidence of asthma among Asian American children.