Dear Friends,

As 2023 comes to a close, I want to take some time to express my deepest gratitude and pride for all this year's achievements of the Kraft Center. This year we continued to expand access to high quality care by implementing innovative programming aimed to close gaps and confront inequities. We focused on issues where data indicate vast outcome gaps, namely substance use disorder, cancer care, cardiometabolic disease, and maternal health.

We are thrilled to launch an exciting new program supported by CVS Health called DREAMH (Driving Equity and Maternal Health) that aims to confront inequities among Black, Latinx, and Indigenous pregnant people. The initiative will expand access to postpartum care for individuals with high-risk pregnancies through mobile programming, and to increase doula access through an expansion of Mass General Brigham's Birth Partners program.

In addition to expanding our programmatic portfolio, our existing programs continue to make an impressive impact. From our Community Care in Reach® mobile addiction program, to our Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity, to our Community Care Vans delivering cardiometabolic disease care, it has been a busy and productive year, and we are excited to share some updates with you.

We are especially grateful for Mr. Robert K. Kraft and the Kraft Family, whose generosity, vision, and support make the Center's work possible. Thank you to all of our community partners for your continued engagement. We wish everyone a healthy and peaceful New Year!
Best wishes,  
Elsie Taveras, MD MPH
Executive Director, Kraft Center for Community Health
Chief Community Health & Health Equity Officer, Mass General Brigham
CVS Health Foundation awards $1.6 million to the Driving Equity & Maternal Health Initiative
The CVS Health Foundation has awarded The Kraft Center for Community Health at Mass General Brigham (MGB), $1.66 million over three years to support the DREAMH (Driving Equity and Maternal Health) Initiative. This effort will address maternal health equity by expanding the Mass General Brigham Birth Partners Program and by launching a new postpartum care program in Suffolk County. The program aims to provide maternal health clinical services, as well as mental health and social support to pregnant and postpartum individuals. This will be offered through Mass General Brigham’s Community Care Van program, community-embedded support services, and by increasing access to doula care for people who are most likely to have adverse pregnancy outcomes. Our team will also implement programming to engage the broader community in learning related to reproductive justice. 
“To promote maternal health equity, we need to offer perinatal and postpartum services in a manner that is most accessible during and immediately after birth. These resources can set families up for a lifetime of physical and mental wellbeing and are vital to ensuring health equity in underserved populations,” said Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, Chief Community Health and Health Equity Officer for Mass General Brigham. “The CVS Health Foundation’s generous gift will allow us to continue as an important innovation hub for testing, evaluating and scaling new community health programs that if successful, can be adopted throughout MGB, our region and nation.”

Community Care in Reach® Mobile Addiction Services
Photo credit: Tapestry
2023 was an extremely productive year for The Kraft Center for Community Health’s Community Care in Reach® (CCiR) mobile addiction services program. CCiR first launched in Boston in January 2018 and, with support from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), has since expanded to 4 sites across Massachusetts including Brockton, Springfield, and Worcester, mobilizing addiction services including clinical care and harm reduction in areas of high overdose.

In 2023, the four sites had 10,285 contacts with individuals with substance use disorder (SUD), 6,422 clinical encounters, and 364 unique individuals received buprenorphine treatment from one of the 4 vans currently in operation. Participating sites include Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program & the Boston Public Health Commission's AHOPE team in Boston; the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center in Brockton; Tapestry in Western Massachusetts, including Springfield and Holyoke; and UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. The Kraft Center is also funded by MDPH to provide technical assistance and evaluation to the four state-funded sites, and partners with The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University for the program evaluation.

Mass General Brigham Community Care Van:
Kraft Center Team
Bringing essential services directly to people with the greatest need epitomizes the mission of The Kraft Center. Born out of a COVID-19 mobile response launched in 2021, the Community Care Van is part of a 3-van fleet across the Mass General Brigham system. Throughout 2023, the mobile teams continued to expand services focusing on blood pressure screening and management, offering education and blood pressure cuffs at community clinics and events. In July, the team offered services at the 103rd Mashpee-Wampanoag Tribe POWWOW, recognizing this important Native American cultural event. The team has also worked with the MGH Chelsea Health Center to provide Immigrant Health Clinics addressing the needs of the newest members of our community. Since October 2022, the Kraft Center-led mobile team has administered 763 COVID-19 vaccines, conducted 959 blood pressure checks, and provided 848 flu shots, primarily in Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Lynn, and Boston.

The Mass General Brigham Community Care Van was thrilled to participate in the 2023 Annual Block Part at the Josh Kraft Mattapan Teen Center. Staff offered COVID & flu vaccines, blood pressure screenings and visits, diabetes education and connection to community resources.
Cancer Care Equity
The Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity (ISCCCE), a joint effort between The Kraft Center for Community Health, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, supports dissemination of proven-effective interventions for cancer screening and prevention in community health centers in Massachusetts. Since July 2022, 15 community health centers across the Commonwealth have participated in or are planning pilot programs to expand access to cancer screening and care; 31 community health centers participate in ISCCCE statewide.
In June, ISCCCE hosted the fourth annual Implementation Science Centers in Cancer Control (ISC3) Grantee Meeting, Maximizing Collaboration – Maximizing Impact, on June 12-13, 2023 in Boston, MA. Members from all ISC3 Centers and the National Cancer Institute were in attendance to discuss accelerating the dissemination and scale-up of methods, measures, and interventions that expand healthcare access and improve outcomes.
Staffing Announcements
Dr. Lydia Pace is a primary care physician and a researcher in the Division of Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In September, she joined the Kraft Center as the Director of the Implementation Science Center for Cancer Control Equity's Implementation Laboratory Team. Her research focuses on advancing equity in delivery of women’s health care services, including cancer screening, in both the United States and in limited-resource settings around the world. She is the recipient of National Cancer Institute funding to examine breast cancer care quality and implementation of early detection programs in Rwanda, where she lived from 2011-2014 and continues to work. Dr. Pace also leads policy research and clinical initiatives to improve access to high-quality contraceptive care in the United States. She directs Women’s Health Policy and Advocacy in the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and directs the Connors Center’s Global Women’s Health Fellowship. Clinically, she practices primary care at the Jen Center for Primary Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and cares for women at elevated risk of developing breast cancer in the BWH Breast Cancer Risk Assessment, Education and Prevention (B-PREP) program. Welcome Dr. Pace!
Lyv Norris (they/she) is a project manager at the Kraft Center, working to launch the Driving Equity and Maternal Health (DREAMH) Innovation Initiative which aims to improve maternal health outcomes in the Greater Boston Area. They have a varied background in public health advocacy and program design work related to ending the HIV epidemic, public health leadership development, youth empowerment, reproductive justice, and sexual health and wellness. Lyv’s passion for reproductive justice has driven them to pursue a career as a birth worker and midwife. Currently, they are pursuing a master's degree in public health with a concentration on health equity at Boston University. Lyv firmly believes that achieving health equity necessitates the construction of new systems and structures that are inherently anti-racist and establish wellness as an essential human right. Lyv is driven by the belief that we must pour into our communities.
Dr. Priya Sarin Gupta, a primary care physician, is leading several transformative healthcare initiatives at Mass General Brigham. In her capacity as the Medical Director for Community-Based Clinical Programs Mass General Brigham in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer and as Medical Director for Mobile Health and Special Projects at the Kraft Center for Community Health, Dr. Sarin Gupta has expanded and elevated the standard of care in the community. With this, we are pleased to share that Dr. Sarin Gupta has taken on an expanded leadership role this year as her portfolio of clinical community-based programs has grown. Under her guidance, the Mass General Brigham Community Care Vans have scaled up, and now provide clinical care focused on hypertension, diabetes and substance use disorder. Additionally, Dr. Sarin Gupta will lead the implementation of the DREAMH Initiative at the Kraft Center. Dr. Sarin Gupta seamlessly blends her extensive expertise with an unwavering passion for innovation, propelling the healthcare landscape forward while nurturing the next cadre of leaders. Her dedication resonates in her tireless efforts to reshape healthcare paradigms, empowering communities and fostering a healthier, more equitable future.
2023 Interns
Destiny Strange is an undergraduate student from Chicago, IL currently studying Community Health and Chemistry at Tufts University. Destiny was The Kraft Center’s summer and fall intern through the Health Career Connection (HCC) program working to support the Community Care Van, which focuses on hypertension, diabetes, and substance use disorder care. In addition to data collection, Destiny regularly participated in site visits, updating mobile health resources, and designing deliverables for the van. She supported additional Kraft Center initiatives including maternal health equity and mobile addiction services. In the future, she hopes to obtain a Master of Public Health before pursuing further education to become a Physician Assistant.
Jackson Sequist is a second-year Cornell University student pursuing a major in Industrial and Labor Relations and dual minors in Business and Inequality Studies. His interests lie in the intersection of business, law, social sciences, and social justice. This summer, Jackson supported both clinical care and data collection within the Community Care Van program and worked on operational, strategic and engagement plans for launching a new Health Equity program in collaboration with Walgreens. He was excited to gain experience in how to effectively create change for individuals and communities.
Roman Horowitz is a Junior at Brookline High School. Roman was in the YES for CURE program at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. His interests lie in the disparities associated with healthcare, specifically in cancer. This summer, Roman researched different implementation strategies to help communities gain better access to colorectal cancer screenings within community health centers. He is excited to gain experience and learn how to positively impact patients and communities.