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Health Equity & Community Health

Working together to improve health outcomes and eliminate health inequities in the communities we serve.

A nurse listens to a pregnant woman's stomach with a stethoscope.

Under Mass General Brigham’s system-wide initiative, United Against Racism, Health Equity & Community Health aims to make measurable, impactful, and sustainable improvements in clinical equity for our patients, along with better health outcomes for the communities we serve. 

We are focused on the health conditions that are the greatest contributors to premature mortality and reduced life expectancy in these communities — cardiometabolic disease (including hypertension and diabetes), substance use disorder, cancer, and maternal-child health.

We are committed to addressing the root causes of health disparities by building and strengthening our community-based partnerships to make the greatest impact on issues such as food insecurity, housing instability, limited economic mobility and educational opportunities, and barriers to accessing care.

A data-driven, community-informed approach

Our system-wide health equity and community health strategies are data driven, evidence informed, and focused on performance and accountability. Using interventions shown to have proven effectiveness, we approach our work with a strong commitment to partnership, collaborating with both community and clinical stakeholders. 

We have established system-wide leadership roles and committed new data analytic resources devoted to anti-racism work to more effectively address inequity in patient care and remove the inappropriate use of race in clinical decision tools and policies.

To further understand the range of needs of the community, Mass General Brigham conducts triannual community health needs assessments (CHNAs) aimed at identifying the most pressing social, economic and health issues in our community.

View our most recent assessments:

Investing in the community

Mass General Brigham invests hundreds of millions of dollars yearly to improve health in the communities we serve. In 2021, we announced a multi-million dollar investment in a new, comprehensive community and mental health strategy. In partnership with 20 community-based organizations, the initiative targets programs to improve mental healthcare capacity, workforce development, chronic disease management, as well as nutrition security and equity. 

We have committed a $67 million+ investment in housing, mental health, economic mobility, and food insecurity through our Mass General Brigham Community Health Impact Funds, including the largest Determination of Need (DoN) investment in Massachusetts history.

We have also invested $25 million in the Massachusetts Community Health & Healthy Aging Funds. These grant opportunities are designed to reduce health inequities in communities across Massachusetts by addressing the social determinants of health. The funds are focused on communities that have not routinely benefitted from DoN funding. Learn more about these grant opportunities.

$67 million

funding committed for housing, mental health, economic mobility, and food insecurity

Line drawing of a family.

$25 million

invested in the Massachusetts Community Health & Healthy Aging Funds

Meeting patients where they are

Our Community Care Vans are expanding access to health care services across the diverse communities in the Greater Boston area served by Mass General Brigham. Community Care Vans bring a broad menu of mobile medical services — including screenings and interventions for chronic health issues like hypertension, diabetes, and substance use disorders — oftentimes provided by staff of similar backgrounds and shared lived experiences with our patients.

Kraft Center for Community Health Innovation

True to our mission, Mass General Brigham seeks innovative solutions to the most vexing problems faced by the communities we serve. For more than a decade, the Kraft Center for Community Health has been a leader and trailblazer in innovative programming, including mobile addiction services, cancer care equity, community health leadership training and more. Their signature Community Care in Reach program brings together partners in preventive care, addiction services, and harm reduction to serve individuals not well-connected to health care, experiencing homelessness and/or living with addiction.

Community engagement and partnerships

Through our integrated community health strategy, we are expanding and building stronger relationships with local leaders, residents, and community-based organizations to advance our targeted efforts to reduce health disparities. Here are just a few of our most recent collaborations:

Mayor Michelle Wu, Boston Public Schools, Mass General Brigham, and Bloomberg Philanthropies announce partnership to expand the Edward M. Kennedy Academy.

Bloomberg Philanthropies and Boston Public Schools

Supported by a $37.8 million dollar grant by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the largest in Boston Public School history, Mass General Brigham will collaborate with Edward M. Kennedy Academy Health Careers (EMK) to add new health career pathways in surgery, medical imaging, and biotech-medical lab science to complement existing pathways in nursing and emergency services, and offer work-based learning, summer and after school placements, and career counseling to every student.

LaColaborativa Survival Center, Green Roots Teaching Kitchen, Phoenix Food Hub and the MGH Revere Food Pantry

With support from Mass General Brigham, three community-based organizations in Chelsea, Revere, and Lynn opened state-of-the-art teaching kitchens with the goal of increasing access to healthy, affordable, and nutritious food along with bolstering economic mobility for local entrepreneurs. In addition, we opened our own teaching kitchen at the MGH Revere Food Pantry, serving local families with nutritious plant-based food weekly while promoting delicious, economical ways to prepare their meals.

LaColaborativa Survival Center

Green Roots Teaching Kitchen

MGH Revere Food Pantry

Phoenix Food Hub

Mass League of Community Health Centers

Together with the Mass League of Community Health Centers, Mass General Brigham is awarding $4.8 million in grants to support six substance use disorder (SUD) programs in the greater Boston area. Our goal is to support health centers in their efforts to increase access to, and retention in, SUD treatment and recovery support services for Black, Hispanic or Latine, and Native and tribal-identified people.

Outreach Program with Native American Communities

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) individuals face significant health disparities compared to the general U.S. population. Through partnerships with community agencies and the Indian Health Service (IHS), Mass General Brigham supports IHS provider specialty care training and education, as well as the enhancement of health care access to Native American communities.