SPRINGFIELD — Trinity Health, the parent organization of Mercy Medical Center, has selected Mercy’s new community health project as a recipient of a grant under its Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI), a program that will result in the investment of $80 million in grants, loans, community-match dollars, and services in six communities over the next five years.
As one of the six initial grant recipients, Mercy Medical Center will receive up to $500,000 per year to support a collaborative program that will improve health and well-being in the local community.
The Springfield-based TCI partnership involves Mercy Medical Center and Live Well Springfield (LWS), a multi-sector, community-based coalition that includes more than 26 organizations working in the city. The program aims to provide services and improve policies that target low-income adults and children disproportionately impacted by health conditions related to poor diet, inactivity, tobacco use, and other social determinants. Specific strategies include enhancing early-education and care sites through nutrition and physical activity, school-nutrition improvements, Complete Streets infrastructure, and tobacco-use prevention.
Partners currently include Mercy Medical Center and LWS members Martin Luther King Jr. Center, HAPHousing, Square One, Springfield Food Policy Council, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and Partners for a Healthier Community, serving as co-conveners and evaluators. Expected community benefits for the Springfield community include reduced rates of smoking, reduced youth obesity rates, improved access to nutrition and physical activity opportunities, fewer health disparities, and enhanced community wellness and resiliency.
“The partnership between Mercy Medical Center and Live Well Springfield is truly a collaborative effort that brings numerous agencies together to improve the health of our community and each person we serve,” said Doreen Fadus, executive director of Community Benefit and Health, Mercy Medical Center. “It also reaffirms our commitment to population health management that calls us to identify specific individuals with particular needs within a given population, and then create care systems that work to improve the care and the health for individuals, particularly those at high risk or with chronic disease.”
Mercy Medical Center earned the grant after responding to an RFP that defined appropriate multi-sector partners for these funded community collaborations. Potential partners included community groups, businesses, social-service agencies, schools, and others. The collaboration is expected to leverage system, hospital, and community expertise, funding, and other resources to improve community health.
“We are delighted to be providing Mercy Medical Center and Live Well Springfield with this support,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, senior vice president for Safety and Community Health, Trinity Health. “Mercy Medical Center and Live Well Springfield have a strategic collaboration and shared commitment to improving people’s lives. It’s a great investment.”
In addition to the partnership between Mercy Medical Center and Live Well Springfield, Trinity Health has selected community partnerships in New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Idaho, and New York for participation in TCI. All of these programs will focus specifically on policy, system, and environmental changes that can directly impact identified areas of high local need and which can reduce tobacco use and obesity, leading drivers of preventable chronic diseases and high healthcare costs in the U.S.