Category: Current

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

Introduction 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 both the day-to-day work and… Read more »

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

Introduction This past 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… 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

An image of a hand reaching out for another hand

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 a Helpline? A helpline… 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 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

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, and People of Color (BIPOC) and other marginalized communities. Gambling… 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 2023 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 »

Project Here substance use prevention initiative launches

The Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, along with the GE Foundation, HRiA, Epicenter Experience, and The Herren Project, launched the website and registration for Project Here on October 30. The public-private initiative will provide educational resources to schools to protect young people from substance use and address the opioid epidemic. HRiA serves as fiscal… Read more »

Assessing public health and health care trends in an uncertain time

Spending even a moment watching the news, scanning social media, or reading a newspaper will reveal a new story about the potential policy and budgetary directions of public health and health care. It is an uncertain time and even more essential now for organizations committed to population health to be innovative, flexible, and nimble while… Read more »

Peer Review Showcases the “Community” in the Scientific Community

OK, it may not exactly have the drama of a Red Sox game or the glamour of the Emmys, but scientific peer review does have a charm all its own. Fall is always a busy season for The Medical Foundation (TMF) at HRiA: it seems like every week this fall we convened a scientific review… Read more »