On Thursday, Jan. 23, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) to convene more than 40 East Boston community leaders representing schools and not-for-profits to jumpstart further collaboration and share plans for EBNHC’s expanded Community Resource and Wellness Center opening at the former Meridian Street Library later in 2020. The Center, located at 282 Meridian St., will be a one-stop-shop for wellness in the community – a shared space for organizations to connect and serve East Boston community members.
The summit, held at Well-B, Blue Cross’ innovation center, was the first gathering of its kind to bring together more than 20 community organizations across East Boston to collaborate. Manny Lopes, CEO of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center welcomed the group and Lucy Darragh, Director of Civic Engagement at Blue Cross, led the group through a focused design thinking session. During the half-day workshop, the group empathized the experiences of community members, defined the problems facing East Boston residents, and began to discuss and brainstorm how the group might address these issues through collective impact and the Community Resource and Wellness Center.
“Engaging our community is crucial for us to design impactful programming that will help our neighbors live healthier lives,” says Manny Lopes, CEO of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. “We’re excited to take the results from these productive conversations and bring it back to the health center to shape our next steps as we develop the space and the programs that will take place inside.”
EBNHC recognizes that improving overall health and well- being cannot be treated solely with a clinical intervention and comprehensive care needs to involve addressing social determinants. The CRWC will be staffed with Care Navigators whose role is to assist clients in self-advocacy and navigating community resources. These Care Navigators will provide culturally and linguistically appropriate information on a variety of services, including but not limited to: food access resources, housing supports, financial assistance, immigration services, legal assistance, supports for seniors, educational services, childcare options and parenting programs, domestic violence support, and disability resources.
The Community Resource and Wellness Center will be a service hub open to all community members seeking assistance in accessing resources which would improve their overall wellness. The CRWC will be an expansion of current service being offered out of EBNHC’s 120 Liverpool St. location. This move will allow for increased programming, additional community collaboration and space for wellness programs.
Additionally, this new space will allow EBNHC to host partner agencies with expertise in specific service areas on site. A wide variety of agencies will hold regularly scheduled information sessions and client meetings at the CRWC, removing barriers and providing a one-stop-shop to community members seeking resources right here in East Boston.
Individuals and families seeking assistance are encouraged to visit the Community Resource and Wellness Center, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4: p.m.
“At Blue Cross, we believe in the power of collaboration to advance change,” says Jeff Bellows, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs at Blue Cross. “We are excited to work with EBNHC and the East Boston community and look forward to an ongoing partnership with the Wellness center to improve access to healthy living opportunities for East Boston residents.”
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) has been a vital part of its community for the last 50 years, providing easily accessible, high-quality health care to all who live and work in East Boston and the surrounding communities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Winthrop. EBNHC supports over 1,000 employees and handles 300,000 visits per year – more than any other ambulatory care center in New England. For more information, please visit www.ebnhc.org.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (bluecrossma.com) is a community-focused, tax-paying, not–for–profit health plan headquartered in Boston. We’re the trusted health plan for more than 25,000 Massachusetts employers and are committed to working with others in a spirit of shared responsibility to make quality health care affordable. Consistent with our corporate promise to always put our 2.9 million members first, we’re rated among the nation’s best health plans for member satisfaction and quality. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Representatives from each of the organizations listed below attended the event:
ABCD/East Boston Head Start
BCBSMA – Corporate Citizenship
BCYF SOAR Program
Boston PD, District A-7
Central Assembly of God Church
Church at The Well
Donald McKay K-8 School
East Boston APAC
East Boston Chamber of Commerce
East Boston Community Soup Kitchen
East Boston Harborside Community School
East Boston High School
East Boston Social Centers
East Boston YMCA
Maverick Landing Community Services
Piers Park Sailing Center
Soccer Without Borders
The Family Van
Veronica Robles Cultural Center