Category: Current

Advance Equity with a Pivot to Your Philanthropic Investment

Purple box with inlaid image of a red paper airplane breaking off from a fleet of white paper airplanes, with text: Blog post - Advance Equity with a Pivot to Your Philanthropic Investment

Philanthropic organizations might view shifting investment strategies as risky and potentially resource intensive. Is it possible for organizations to mitigate risk and build confidence in new strategies? Can organizations respond to changes in the field while staying true to their mission? We believe that it is not only possible but imperative to address emergent needs… Read more »

You Can Save a Life

A man with a gentle smile with text: Blog post - You Can Save a Life. Reverse an overdose. Save a life. Health Resources in Action.

Overdose fatalities continue to climb year-over-year within Massachusetts and nationally. The CDC reported that over 107,000 people in the U.S. died of a drug overdose in 2022, with over 75% of those involving an opioid. In 2022, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health estimated 2,359 overdose-related deaths in the state – a 2.5% increase from… Read more »

Collaborating for Health: Addressing Youth Mental Health through the Community Health Improvement Process

Young people sitting in a circle with text overlay: Blog post. Collaborating for Health. Addressing Youth Mental Health through the Community Health Improvement Process.

Cities and towns approach HRiA’s Community Health Improvement (CHI) Team with specific community needs in mind. HRiA’s approach to assessment and planning processes meets the needs of our clients while also centering the voices of those most impacted by an issue. This blog post takes a closer look at the approaches we used in our… Read more »

Advancing Health Equity through Research: Announcing the 2023 Awardees of the Jeffress Trust Program

A dark gray box with 5 photos of scientists and text overlay: "Blog post: Advancing Health Equity through Research. Meeting the researchers of the Jeffress Trust Program in Research Advancing Health Equity"

The Jeffress Trust has announced the 2023 recipients of its Awards Program in Research Advancing Health Equity. Congratulations to the awardees! Below, we share highlights about each of the awardees. For full awardee project descriptions, click here. Partnership/Collaborative Establishment Awards Impact of Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) Collaborative Upon Social Determinants of Health of Low-Income Individuals in… Read more »

Advancing Housing Equity in Massachusetts

Looking up at multilevel apartment building on a sunny day. Above, a purple box with periwinkle text: Blog post: Advancing Housing Equity in Massachusetts. Logos for HRiA and the Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA)

Housing access in Massachusetts is at a crisis level. A two-bedroom apartment in MA, the third most expensive state for housing, requires an annual household income of over $86,000. These costs are exacerbated by low housing inventory, especially among affordable units. The deficit of affordable and available housing for extremely low-income residents has grown to… Read more »

Champions of Human Connection: How the Helpline Champions are changing the conversation on recovery

A peach-color square with a photo of two people embracing, with text overlay: "Blog post: Champions of Human Connection: How the Helpline Champions are changing the conversation on recovery"

September is Recovery Month, bringing awareness to the recovery journey of those affected by substance use. It’s preceded by International Overdose Awareness Day, on August 31st. During this time of the year, we honor those in recovery, remember loved ones lost, and hold ourselves accountable for keeping everyone safe and well. This time of awareness… Read more »

Engaging Science: Meet the Inspiring Researchers of the Smith Family Foundation

Purple box with inlaid image of two researchers looking at a computer screen, with text: Blog post - Engaging Science: Meet the Inspiring Researchers of the Smith Family Foundation. By Health Resources in Action.

Biomedical researchers need strong scientific communication skills to combat rising skepticism and misinformation. Robust communication skills also help secure funding, support recruitment of research staff and study participants, and increase the impact of research findings on human health. Yet few researchers are afforded the opportunity to formally build these skills. The Richard and Susan Smith… Read more »

Building Power to Achieve Healthier and More Just Communities

a group of colleagues smiling with a green box frame and deep purple text: Blog post - Building Power to Achieve Healthier and More Just Communities

Power lies at the heart of health and racial justice, shaping our society’s structures. It determines access to resources, who makes decisions, who thrives, and who is left behind. Those who hold formal power within a system, such as elected or appointed officials, can leverage, shift, or build power. Historically, those “outside” of a governmental… Read more »

The Full Frame: Widening the Lens on Community Health

Apricot background with partially obstructed lens graphic in foreground, with text: "Blog post: The Full Frame - Widening the Lens on Community Health"

The Community Health Improvement (CHI) process can surface important information and initiate the action needed to create healthy and equitable communities. While most organizations successfully complete their assessments and plans, they often get “stuck” when it comes to prioritization, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. What strategies can your institution use to successfully complete the full cycle… Read more »

Transforming systems for trans lives: taking action for trans equity

Trans rights in this country are under attack. As of April, the 2023 legislative session has seen nearly 500 anti-trans bills introduced across 49 states. The rise in legislative and judicial actions designed to harm trans people has coincided with a rise in hateful rhetoric across political, media and social media platforms, as well as… Read more »

Community Engagement, Mental Models, and Systems Transformation

Community engagement is widely acknowledged as an essential component of public health and systems change work. Equitable community engagement: Acknowledges that decisions made about policies, public benefits, and the distribution of resources will have the most impact if made in partnership with the people they affect; Affirms that communities of focus have the skills, experiences,… Read more »

The Health Tree Metaphor and the Importance of Shared Language

The Health EquiTREE, an illustration of a tree, including leaves, branches, roots, and soil, each labeled to visualize the connection between the soil and the leaves

By Emily Breen, former Program Officer Dismantling structural and systemic racism is an essential part of promoting health equity and improving health outcomes. Yet the meaning of these nuanced concepts can differ depending on a person’s identities and lived experiences. We must develop a mutual understanding to operationalize these concepts so that they can inform… Read more »

From Toolkits to Test Strips: Exploring the HRiA Clearinghouse

Light green box with purple frame containing a photo of 3 people in a warehouse. Text overlay: Blog post: From Toolkits to Test Strips. Exploring the HRiA Clearinghouse.

HRiA has lived in several places during its 65 years. Before we opened our headquarters in Boston’s Chinatown, HRiA was based out of 95 Berkeley Street in Boston’s Back Bay/South End. Long-term partners and clients may recall our office on Washington Street in Codman Square, Dorchester. Fewer still are familiar with a suburban property located… Read more »

Beyond COVID: Four Communities on Connecting, Healing, and Building Toward the Future

In February, the Biden administration announced that they will be lifting the coronavirus public health emergency on May 11, 2023. This transition represents significant progress in pandemic recovery. From navigating the political and logistical complexities of shutdowns, masking, and vaccines to providing essential services, communities have been instrumental in the mitigation of COVID and its… Read more »

Announcing the 2022 awardees of the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds

In October 2022, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the second round of awardees for the Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds (known as “The Funds”). The Funds, established in 2017 as part of a landmark revision of the Determination of Need (DoN) regulations, are intentionally invested throughout the Commonwealth to promote health… Read more »

HRiA welcomes APHA to Boston!

Boston skyline

Our HRiA team extends a warm welcome to all visiting for the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo! We look forward to joining so many of our colleagues and partners at this exciting event. This year’s event is in our hometown of Boston, and we are happily participating in a record 17… Read more »

The Charles A. King Trust Fellowship Program Funds 21 Early Career Scientists Investigating the Causes and Treatment of Human Disease

The Charles A. King Trust Fellowship Program has announced the selection of the 2022 cohort of Research Fellows. Each fellow will receive two years of funding for research that focuses on the causes of human disease and improved treatment methodologies. Congratulations to all of the awardees! About the Trust Established in 1936, the Charles A…. Read more »

A toll on workers: A conversation with MassCOSH on workers’ health

An image of construction workers with an overlay of text: toll on workers: a conversation with MassCOSH on workers' health

Since 2001, August 31st has marked International Opioid Awareness Day, or IOAD, which kicks off September’s Recovery Month.  In recognition of both IOAD and Recovery Month, HRiA’s Geri Medina spoke with Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, outgoing Executive Director of MassCOSH and soon-to-be Deputy Chief for the first-ever Cabinet of Worker Empowerment in the City of Boston, to… Read more »

Help is always here: the critical role of helpline services

Two hands reaching for each other, with text: Blog post. "Help is always here: the critical role of helpline services." Health Resources in Action.

Updated February 16, 2024. The pandemic has exacerbated the growing behavioral health crisis in the U.S, with disproportionate impact on communities of color and young people. Those in need of services deserve and require empathy, advocacy, and support. When someone needs services for substance use and problem gambling—that’s where the Helplines come in. What is… Read more »

HRiA supports reproductive choice, including abortion rights

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court finalized their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, eliminating the federal constitutional right to an abortion. This is a significant moment in history. HRiA fully supports reproductive choice, including abortion rights Protecting the reproductive rights of women and birth-capable people is an urgent and critical public health… Read more »

The LEAH Project and partners aim to increase diversity in STEM fields with launch of the STEM Exploration Internship

In summer 2022, the Leaders through Education, Action and Hope (LEAH) Project launched the STEM Exploration Internship, a new paid summer internship program for twelve Boston area high school students with backgrounds historically underrepresented in STEM fields, facilitated in partnership with MassBioEd and hosted by Lab Central. With a shared imperative for increasing representation in… Read more »

The ARPA-tunity of a lifetime

Do you have a story to tell about your community’s ARPA work? We want to hear from YOU about how you are advocating for equitable recovery through ARPA funds at the local or state level. Send us an email and share your story! Massachusetts is on the precipice of transformational change. The American Rescue Plan… Read more »

Strategies for inclusive grantmaking: increasing diversity and equity in the biomedical workforce

A purple box with inlaid image of many umbrellas of different colors, with text: Strategies for Inclusive Grantmaking

A recent publication in Nature Medicine, co-authored by two of our staff members, Kim Lezak and Lindsay Redman-Rivera, explores grantmaking practices to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the biomedical workforce. The collaborative team of authors from the Health Research Alliance offer recommendations in demographic data collection and use, increasing the diversity of the applicant… Read more »

A Public Health Approach to Problem Gambling

Blog post: A public health approach to problem gambling

Original publication date: March 31, 2022. Updated February 23, 2024. In this piece, we explore the issue of problem gambling from a public health perspective, specifically through a health equity lens, and share important considerations and action items as we work to reduce stigma and address the disproportionate impact of problem gambling on Black, Indigenous,… Read more »

HRiA presentations at the Annual Meeting of APHA 2021

In October 2021, HRiA staff members and sponsored programs participated in the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in Denver, CO and virtually. These presentations illustrate some of our work in training, capacity building, community engagement, and evaluation around topic areas including COVID-19, violence intervention and prevention, mental health, harm reduction, substance… Read more »

MassHealth Provider Access Improvement Grant Program (PAIGP) awards grants to help MassHealth providers improve accessibility and outcomes for patients

Boston, MA (November 10, 2021): The MassHealth Provider Access Improvement Grant Program (PAIGP) recently announced the 61 recipients of the PAIGP 2021 Cycle 3 grant awards. PAIGP award funding, which totaled over $1.84M, will be distributed among these eligible MassHealth Fee-for-Service providers to help increase access to healthcare and improve outcomes for patients with disabilities,… Read more »

MA COVID-19 Community Grants issues Request for Proposals (RFP) for Tribal and Indigenous Peoples Serving Organizations

On behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Health Resources in Action has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to Tribal and Indigenous Peoples Serving Organizations (TIPSO) serving Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hawaiian Natives, Pacific Islanders, and Indigenous Peoples as a part of the Massachusetts COVID-19 Community Grants Program. Specifically, this RFP seeks proposals that will… Read more »

Engaging Communities as Experts throughout the Assessment Process

Best practices in assessment call for thoughtful, authentic collaboration with the community at every step of the process, from project design to dissemination of findings. However, it can be all too easy to send out a survey or host a focus group and call it community engagement. That approach may elicit feedback from community members,… Read more »

Hands-On Youth Development STEM Program in the Age of COVID-19: The LEAH Knox Scholars Program

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed the landscape of STEM-based youth development programs in 2020. Public health directives prohibited in-person laboratory experiences for high school students, resulting in many STEM programs significantly adjusting or cancelling their activities. This posed a challenge for the LEAH Knox Scholars (LKS), a compensated summer enrichment program that provides an immersive biology… Read more »

A Ride to Recovery: Wheels of Hope brings options to residents of the Merrimack Valley

“Wheels of Hope has been successful because of the commitment and effort of all those involved…[W]e see the impact of this month to month as rides continue to increase across the [Merrimack] Valley.” – Cindy Lopez, Program Manager for the MA Helpline & Wheels of Hope Every September, folks in the substance use space observe… Read more »

Healing is Essential to Liberation

By Mayowa Sanusi, former Research Associate. The article below originally appeared on on 6/13/2021, reprinted and lightly edited with permission from the author. As I learn more about the teachings of Black feminists like bell hooks and Audre Lorde, I see the importance of healing to the liberation — freedom of oppression and constant… Read more »

Juneteenth: Reflect and Celebrate

By Nineequa Blanding, Former VP, Grantmaking Lightly updated for June 2024 June 19th is Juneteenth, a holiday that marks a pivotal moment in our American history. This day commemorates the day the Emancipation Proclamation was recognized in Texas, specifically Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865 – more than two years after it had been enacted…. Read more »

Reflecting on the No Menthol. Know Why. campaign

a picture of Lauren Ansong dePass

Today (June 1, 2021) marks one year since Massachusetts’ flavored tobacco ban went into effect. The following reflection was written by HRiA staff member Lauren Ansong dePass, a Black woman who leads and contributes to many HRiA programs including the Fight All Flavors/No Menthol. Know Why. Campaigns that mobilized communities in support of the ban, as well… Read more »

Root Causes: Going Past Social Determinants

By Mayowa Sanusi, former Research Associate. Decades of racist policies enforcing racist systems have created an environment in which Black communities suffer from high rates of infection and death from COVID-19, police brutality, and economic hardship. Since all these issues have a direct effect on community health, public health professionals are presented with a question… Read more »

Grant Opportunity For BIPOC Communities Impacted By COVID-19. Apply by April 19th.

Grants of $10,000 to $50,000 are now available to 501(c)(3) community-based organizations and faith-based organizations (and other groups with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor) who serve the communities impacted by COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The goal of COVID-19 Community Grants is to reduce COVID-19 infections, morbidity, and mortality among Black, Latinx, and other people of color in target communities including Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Framingham, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New… Read more »

HRiA presentations at the Annual Meeting of APHA 2020

In October 2020, HRiA staff members participated in the first all virtual annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA). These presentations illustrate some of our work in training, capacity building, community engagement, and evaluation around topic areas including gun violence prevention, harm reduction, substance use prevention education, and tobacco legislation. Read the abstracts… Read more »

Announcing the Inaugural Awardees of the MA Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds

In September 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced the first round of awardees for its Massachusetts Community Health and Healthy Aging Funds (known as “The Funds”). The Funds, established in 2018 as part of a landmark revision of the Determination of Need (DoN) regulations, are intentionally invested throughout the Commonwealth to disrupt and… Read more »

How Philanthropic Investments Can Drive Progress toward Health and Racial Equity

Nineequa Blanding

“We know what works. We know what will center the humanity and dignity and ensure that Black folks are not just surviving but thriving . . . But we don’t fund it.” US Rep. Ayanna Pressley, MA-07 In this powerful quote, Rep. Ayanna Pressley is highlighting two important ways philanthropy and other sectors can drive… Read more »

Hospital investments in community health: Creating impact in a new environment

Recently we wrote about the changing health care landscape brought on by multiple factors, including payment reform and provisions of the Affordable Care Act and IRS regulations. Until a few years ago, hospitals and health systems had been charged with monitoring and improving the health outcomes of their patients, as measured by disease rates, morbidity,… Read more »

A grant program helps young people be agents of change in their community

In our daily work with young people, we know that youth today are concerned with everything from college admissions to climate change, and prom dates to politics – but where does public health and tobacco prevention fit into their world view? For those youth involved in The 84 Movement, advocating for healthier communities and policy… Read more »