Tags: community , community partnerships

With the nation’s changing healthcare landscape and shifting demographics, it is critical now more than ever that our healthcare leaders are able to design affordable and effective systems of care that work for all of us.

This is why the Kraft family generously donated millions of dollars, enabling Partners to launch the Kraft Center for Community Health Leadership. The result is a next generation of clinician leaders who have emerged from its development programs better equipped to understand and care for the underserved in our local communities.

“In order to improve community health, we have to work hard to transform the spaces we occupy to make healthy choice the possible choice,” said Monica Valdes Lupi, Executive Director, Boston Public Health Commission, during her welcome remarks at the recent the Kraft Center for Community Health Leadership Symposium.

In order to improve community health, we have to work hard to transform the spaces we occupy to make healthy choice the possible choice.

Now in its third year, the symposium convenes to celebrate the annual graduating class of Kraft Center trainees as they set out to tackle the challenge of health inequality with a shared commitment to improving the health and well-being of their patients and their communities.

This year, attendees received national kudos from keynote speaker John Auerbach, Associate Director for Policy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In his keynote, Auerbach recognized the Kraft Center as a national best practice for providing access to high quality, equitable care for underserved populations.

Also at the symposium was Tiffany Blake-Lamb, a 2016 Kraft Center graduate. She presented her project, which has positioned her as obstetrics program leader and clinician champion at MGH Revere health center for the First 1,000 Days Program, a prevention strategy to address obesity in children—particularly during their first 1,000 days of life. The program brings clinicians together with local community health and federal food programs in a collective effort to improve health and behavioral outcomes related to obesity through pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood.

For Dr. Blake-Lamb, the First 1,000 Days Program aligns perfectly with the goals that drew her to the Kraft Center in the first place. "I began my career with the desire to take care of women while maintaining awareness of how women's social circumstances affect their health and the health of their children,” she said. “My focus now is learning how to design, implement, and evaluate community-based health care improvement strategies for women that work within the social framework of their communities - and the First 1,000 Days is enabling me to do just that.”

To date, the Kraft Center, along with Partners HealthCare, has supported the development of careers for 63 community health leaders.

Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, a psychiatrist and 2016 graduate, discussed the challenges faced by the LGBTQ community and described his project which addresses transgender women’s significantly high rates of HIV. His work, based at Fenway Health, focuses on HIV prevention for male-to-female transgender women and incorporates cognitive-behavioral treatments for substance use disorders and post-traumatic stress, with strategies for pre-exposure prophylaxis adherence and sexual decision making. Dr. Keuroghlian will now serve as Associate Director for its National LGBT Health Education Center, which provides education, resources, and consultation to health care organizations with the goal of optimizing quality, cost-effective health care for LGBT people.

To date, the Kraft Center, along with Partners HealthCare, has supported the development of careers for 63 community health leaders. It has also yielded strong collaborations with 27 community health centers in Massachusetts. To date, 92% of Kraft Center trainees continue to work in a community health setting and 59% of trainees from the first 3 graduating classes are now serving in community health leadership positions.

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