Beginning in 2017, The Kraft Center for Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital is focused on leading innovation in community health through three major programs:
CareZONE: Mobilizing care in the community:
CareZONE is an innovative mobile health program that brings together partners in preventive care, addiction services, and harm reduction to serve individuals not well-connected to health care, experiencing homelessness and/or battling addiction. In its pilot phase, the van will provide services in Dudley Square and the West End, communities with high numbers of fatal opioid overdoses.
Using an innovative partnership model, CareZONE will combat the opioid epidemic with accessible, on-demand care. Experienced staff from Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and the Boston Public Health Commission’s AHOPE program will provide a range of services on the van and connect patients to community health centers, treatment programs, or specialty care.
Cancer Care Equity:
In the communities where The Kraft Center focuses its work, there are significant cancer-related inequities in diagnosis, treatment and mortality, among traditionally marginalized populations including: those who are homeless, have a mental illness, live in poverty or belong to a racial or ethnic minority. The significance of these inequities creates an urgency to find new, out-of-the-box solutions. In 2018, The Kraft Center announced the launch of a new slate of projects aimed at reducing disparities in treatment and outcomes in cancer care in the Greater Boston area and beyond. With generous support from Pamela and Alan Trefler and The Trefler Foundation, these initiatives are led by both The Kraft Center and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center, and aim to improve cancer care equity in underserved communities through community-based engagement and interventions, with a focus on innovative, sustainable solutions.
In 2018, the Center also announced the launch of the Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants Program, which provides pilot funding to collaborative teams in Greater Boston area community health centers. These grants enable community health centers to implement innovative, sustainable strategies to eliminate barriers to cancer screening and treatment for underserved populations.
Community Health Training:
Building upon the network of The Kraft Center alumni established during The Center’s first five years, and the network of community health centers across Massachusetts, The Kraft Center launched the Primary Care Leadership Program in summer 2017. This six-week program provides training for underrepresented minority medical, nursing and physician assistant students in community health. Developed in partnership with the GE Foundation, the National Medical Foundation and the Mass League of Community Health Centers, participants are assigned to community health centers across Massachusetts. Trainees experience the challenges and rewards of primary care practice in community settings, and are encouraged to pursue careers providing primary care to underserved populations.
The goal will be to lead innovation in community health, identify and pilot creative solutions to real world community health problems, and then make the best programs scalable and ready to spread nationally.