GREENFIELD — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced LifePath among the inaugural recipients of the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds.
As part of these awards, DPH and its implementing partner, Health Resources in Action Inc., will join with LifePath and 31 other organizations across Massachusetts and more than 35 of their community partners, including nonprofit community-based organizations, municipalities, and regional planning commissions.
LifePath and the other awardees “have committed to leading efforts to address the root causes of health inequities by disrupting systemic barriers to health and tackling institutional and structural racism head on,” said Associate Public Health Commissioner Lindsey Tucker. “These efforts also include working to ensure that our communities are age-friendly by creating healthy community environments for people of all ages. During the pandemic, the need to support such efforts is even more imperative.”
Through this grant, LifePath aims to support existing networks of older people, professionals, and community members who care about healthy aging to build capacity to tackle major barriers around housing, transportation, social isolation, and access to services in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region. LifePath will do this by encouraging and assisting service-area towns to go through the age-friendly process, which includes enrollment in AARP’s Age-Friendly Communities Network, conducting comprehensive needs assessments, and creating action plans to address the identified needs.
“We are excited to be moving forward on achieving a vision of communities that support each person as they age,” said Barbara Bodzin, executive director of LifePath. “This will be a collaborative effort by the community, for the community.”
The grant received by LifePath falls under Healthy Aging, one of three funding streams that make up the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds, with the other two being Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change (PSE), and Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) Processes. The Healthy Aging Fund is designed to support organizations and communities in the development of age-friendly communities and invests in strategies that focus on the eight multi-sector domains defined by the World Health Organization and AARP.