Last month the Baker-Polito Administration announced an additional $4.5 million in grants to organizations working in communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Part of the grant money included $3.1 million for the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers to support the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) and 41 other community health centers for critical workforce and equipment needs and outreach, education, and navigation support towards COVID-19 vaccination.
“These trusted community-based organizations know their communities best,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “They use their knowledge and relationships to expand the efforts of our Vaccine Equity Initiative by helping address the unique health equity needs of the communities and populations they serve – needs that have been exacerbated by COVID-19.”
EBNHC CEO Greg Wilmot said the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers had been a key ally and partner to the EBNHC throughout the pandemic.
“They are our advocates and work around policy matters, in partnership with health centers and with policy makers, and they have been able to advocate for more resources for community health centers in general,” said Wilmot. “In their role as a convener and collaborator they’re a recipient of funds and are making those funds available to community health centers to support workforce development.”
Wilmot said the grant will support workforce development at EBNHC and support the restoration of and development of the healthcare workforce, particularly EBNHC community-based health care workers.
“What is important to note is in addition to this grant EBNHC has received and committed many more dollars to our communities and to uplifting our workforce,” said Wilmot. “These funds go a long way to really creating capacity and access to quality health care in our community.”
EBNHC has long been the largest community health center in the state and employs nearly 1,500 employees.
“We have done quite a bit of work around retention, recruitment, training and workforce development as well as team wellness throughout the pandemic,” said Wilmot. “These funds will be added into those funds. This is work that we’re currently doing and we’re continuing to focus on workforce development, emphasizing training, and then in recruitment and retention of our workforce.”
The grants are the result of a major funding award from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the Commonwealth.