Dear Colleagues and Friends,

In my January reflection on addressing racism and health inequities, I invited you all to join me in committing this year to reaching out beyond our comfort zones and typical work and social circles to meet and engage with people who we see as "different" or might otherwise not cross paths with. As spring is here and COVID-19 restrictions are loosening, I am hoping there might be opportunities for all of us.

This past March I was lucky to join a training led by ThinkAgain Training & Consulting (Thanks Colleen Loveless at Revitalize CDC for sponsoring it!) where I learned about Trans/forming Allyship: Building Skills to Support Trans People in Your Community. It was powerful and gave me the chance to think about how I could be more supportive to transgender people in my community, whether it be through leadership in public health, being a mom, coach, volunteer or neighbor. It pushed my boundaries, and I am grateful for the leaders and the participants of the training.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on and exacerbated existing health inequities experienced by transgender people and other marginalized populations. For example, trans individuals experience rates of suicide nearly 9x that of the general population. To learn more about health inequities faced by transgender individuals, check out a recent newsletter from Baystate Health’s Institute of Healthcare Delivery and Population Science.

Where are you in your journey to meet someone different from you?

Be well,

Jessica (she/her)
Coalition Building
Climate Justice Work Continues!
LiveWell Springfield would like to thank everyone who has participated in the climate justice project so far!

In 2019 the Coalition was awarded a planning grant by Kresge to identify one to two policy ideas that could significantly impact greenhouse gas emissions, health, equity, and racism. The coalition partners worked closely with stakeholders, Resident Advocates, and residents to narrow down to two policies out 156.

The Kresge Foundation has awarded the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts an additional $600,000 grant for the Live Well Springfield Coalition to continue the work over the next three years. With this funding, PHIWM will work with Live Well Springfield coalition members including the Resident Advisory Board, Arise for Social JusticeWay FindersNeighbor to Neighbor, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the City of Springfield and partners from other sectors to develop multi-year work plans that address community-defined health and climate priorities.
It's Asthma Awareness Month & Springfield's Asthma Outcomes have Improved!
Greater Springfield is no longer the #1 asthma capital in the country! After 2 years at #1, Springfield is now designated by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America as the 12th most challenging place in the US to live with asthma. This designation is based on asthma prevalence, mortality, and emergency room use for asthma. This improvement coincides with the Springfield Healthy Homes Asthma program and other community health worker asthma interventions in the region, the pandemic, and with an improvement in air quality as reported by the American Lung Association's State of the Air report. While things have improved, there is much work to be done.

Learn more:
413Cares has a New Explainer Video & New Media Sponsor
Check out the new 30 second explainer video about how to access and use the great resources on the 413Cares online portal. The video is available in both English and Spanish. We are also very pleased to announce that 22News is a media sponsor and is running this Public Service Announcement about the initiative! Watch for our promotional spot on both 22News and the CW Springfield, and help spread the word by sharing our short video on your organization’s website and social media page! 
Congratulations 2021 Class of 40 Under Forty!
Congratulations to Samantha Bilal and the rest of the 2021 Class of 40 Under Forty! You so deserve this recognition!
May 27th: Black Lives, Black Lungs
Join us May 27th from 5:00-6:00 pm for a zoom presentation and discussion of the short film Black Lives/Black Lungs.

Nearly 9 in 10 African American smokers use menthol cigarettes. That's no coincidence.

Black Lives / Black Lungs is a short film investigating the tobacco industry’s successful infiltration into the black community. It was created by filmmaker and progressive communications strategist, Lincoln Mondy.

This presentation is co-sponsored by the Hampden County Tobacco-Free Community Partnership, Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition, Public Health Institute of Western MA, and Gandara Center.

Anyone 12 and older can now receive the COVID-19 Vaccine. People age 12-17 can receive the Pfizer vaccine. People age 18 and older can receive any vaccine. You don’t need an ID or insurance to get it.
Upcoming Community Vaccination Clinics in Springfield
Vaccine Scheduling Resources
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Check in with loved ones
Many of us are feeling stressed, anxious, or isolated because of the pandemic. The pandemic has also exacerbated existing mental health conditions for many people. Celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month by reaching out to your friends and family to show your support.
New Regional Hotline Launched to Reduce Domestic Violence
'Ten to Ten' is a free confidential helpline for people who abuse or may abuse their partner and want to stop. The helpline was launched in April, and it's the first of it's kind in the US. The helpline will serve Western Massachusetts and will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days a year. The toll-free number is 877-898-3411. Family, friends and professionals worried that someone may harm their partner can also call the helpline.

News, Events & More from our Partners
  • Environmental Expo 2021, will run for 4 weeks from May 17 to June 15: Neighbor to Neighbor, Springfield, in partnership with the Humanities Action Lab, created the Environmental Expo to spotlight the fight against environmental injustice in Springfield as part of Climates of Inequality, an internationally-traveling exhibit. For more and information to sign up, click here.
  • Supporting Yourself and Your Community: A Mental Health Workshop for Teens, May 26 at 4:30pm: Ysabel Garcia from Estoy Aqui will be offering a virtual workshop for teens (13-18 years old) on recognizing signs of mental health distress in themselves and others. In this workshop you will learn about Community Care and how we can use it to support our friends and family who are experiencing mental health distress. Register now.
  • Greater Springfield Regional Housing Analysis Report: The first report of a multi-phase project studying Pioneer Valley housing issues was released by the UMass Donahue Institute, Way Finders, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and the Metropolitan Springfield Housing Study Advisory Committee. Focusing on baseline demographic, economic and housing data, this report aims to increase awareness of housing dynamics in the region for both state and local policymakers, housing advocates and community stakeholders, as well as the general public. Read more.
  • Statement on behalf of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women Concerning Jahaira DeAlto And Violence Against Transwomen and Transwomen of Color: The MA Commission on the Status of Women recently released a statement about violence against trans women prompted by the death of Jahaira DeAlto. In it they express their outrage, solidarity, and ask for feedback from members of the trans community as to how they can provide better and more robust support going forward. To contact the commission, email Read the full statement here.
Join Our Team
The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts provides skills, expertise and experience to create successful public health campaigns and sustainable system changes to improve health and well-being in Western MA. Join our team as we work to ensure that all people in our region have what they need to lead healthy lives.

We are looking to fill the following positions:

Visit our website for more information.