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Building a Regional Health Equity Movement: The Grantmaking Model of a Local Health Department

Baril, Nashira MPH; Patterson, Meghan MPH; Boen, Courtney MPH; Gowler, Rebekah MSW, MPH; Norman, Nancy MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0b013e318202a7b0
Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH): Translating Processes of Change and Attributing Improved Health Outcomes to Social Determinants of Health Programs: Original Article

The Boston Public Health Commission's Center for Health Equity and Social Justice provides grant funding, training, and technical assistance to 15 organizations and coalitions across New England to develop, implement, and evaluate community-based policy and systems change strategies that address social determinants of health and reduce racial and ethnic health inequities. This article describes Boston Public Health Commission's health equity framework, theory of change regarding the elimination of racial and ethnic health inequities, and current grantmaking model. To conclude, the authors evaluate the grant model and offer lessons learned from providing multiyear regional grants to promote health equity.

Center for Health Equity and Social Justice, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston, Massachusetts.

Correspondence: Nashira Baril, MPH, REACH US Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities and the Center for Health Equity and Social Justice, Boston Public Health Commission, 1010 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118 (

We are grateful to Dr Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, and the staff of the Center for Health equity and Social Justice: Erline Achille, Marycarmen Kunicki, MA, and Maura Allard, MPH, for their support in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the granting model and the writing of this article. We are especially grateful to the teams of grantees who have committed to engaging in this work with us over the past few years: Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center (Jamaica Plain, MA), The Food Project (Dorchester, MA), The Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition (Mattapan, MA), Bowdoin Street Health Center (Dorchester, MA), Sociedad Latina (Roxbury, MA), Health Careers Academy (Boston, MA), American Red Cross (Boston, MA), Youth and Family Enrichment Services, Inc (Hyde Park, MA), Central Connecticut Area Health Education Center (Hartford, CT), Ledge Light Health District (Groton, CT), New Hampshire Minority Health Coalition (Manchester, NH), North Central Massachusetts Minority Coalition (Fitchburg, MA), Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc (Springfield, MA), Southern Connecticut State University (New Haven, CT), and the Worcester Partnership for Racial and Ethnic Health Equity (Worcester, MA). We are grateful for the time and expertise of the Center's advisory team and we also thank the members of the Boston REACH Coalition for providing the impetus for conceptualizing the role of a local health department in supporting community-based approaches to health equity. This initiative was supported by the REACH US Cooperative Agreement 1U58DP000996-03 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the City of Boston and Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The financial sponsors of this work have not contributed to the design, interpretation, or manuscript preparation of this article.

Disclosure: The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Copyright © 2011 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved