Coalition Building
Working Together to Improve the Health of Springfield’s Children
“I want to see a better world. I want to be a part of the solution. So I am” – Resident Health Advocate
Live Well Springfield, in partnership with Mercy Medical Center, was one of just 8 sites across the nation to be awarded a Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI) grant by Trinity Health in 2016, which brought millions of dollars into Springfield to address childhood obesity and youth tobacco use through policy, systems, and environmental change.
 
Seeing a shift in something like childhood obesity could take decades, but great strides have been made to lay the groundwork by improving access to healthy foods and physical activity in Springfield Public Schools and Square One/pre-K environments.
 
Youth from Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services joined local and statewide advocacy efforts to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 (“Tobacco 21”). During the course of the grant, Tobacco 21 passed both locally and statewide, and there was a decrease in cigarette use among Springfield eighth graders. 
 
Underpinning all of TCI efforts was an intentional focus on engaging residents and building their advocacy skills and opportunities. With the support of TCI partners like Way Finders, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and the Springfield Food Policy Council, residents advocated for infrastructure improvements (such as better lighting and sidewalks), continued implementation of Springfield’s Complete Streets Policy, and better food offerings in the schools.

Strong resident engagement/leadership and intentional cross-collaboration among partners were instrumental to TCI’s success. Although TCI is over after being cut short due to the pandemic, the work continues in many iterations, building off of the relationships and progress nurtured over the course of TCI.

Learn more about this great work!
Remembering a Community Leader
Ms. Synthia (with an S, as she always said) passed away in January. Losing her presence leaves many of us with a tender heart, but her contributions to our community continue to live on in very meaningful ways. There are so many efforts that she was either a part of or that she started. The ones that stand out for me are the ones that were collaborative with the Live Well Springfield Coalition work. Ms. Synthia was a champion of healthy food initiatives. She co-founded, with Tasha Moultrie-Phillips, Concerned Citizens of Mason Square. She was the resident visionary and achiever of the creation of the Springfield Food Policy Council. She was a key leader in the Mason Square Food Justice Initiative - which created the JUST FOOD campaign spearheading an effort to get a full line grocery store in Mason Square, and the development of the Go Fresh Mobile Market. Ms. Synthia also founded the Dementia Friendly Coalition and was a fierce advocate for lifting up the health inequities experienced by older people of color with regard to Ahlzeimers and Dementia. As we grieve her loss, I personally still hear her laughter, deep and loud. I feel her embrace, encouraging and supportive. I am compelled and motivated to continue to act for justice and equity because there are so many things she wants us all to achieve for her City, her Community, her People.

Thank you Ms. Synthia - for your vision and your love. 
Welcome New Board Members
We are thrilled to welcome 7 new board members to the team!

  • Attorney Elizabeth Dineen, Executive Director, YWCA
  • Keith Fairey, Chief Executive Officer, Wayfinders
  • Rachel Gordon, Co- Executive Director, New England Learning Center for Women in Transition
  • Airin Martinez, PhD, Assistant Professor in Health Policy & Management Department of Health Promotion and Policy, School of Public Health & Health Sciences
  • Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo, Population Health Capstone Director, University of Massachusetts Medical School–Baystate
  • Kimberly Robinson, Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
  • Cherelle Rozie, Director of Community Health and Well Being, Trinity Health of New England
COVID-19
Watch our Webinar!
Watch the recording from our 2/5 webinar, COVID-19 Vaccine: What you Need to Know, which featured Dr. Sarah Haessler, the Hospital Epidemiologist at Baystate Medical Center; State Senator Eric Lesser; and Lindsey Tucker, Associate Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

View the slides and read the Q&A on our website.

Get the Latest COVID-19 Data for Western MA

Visit our Western MA COVID-19 Data Dashboard for the latest regional COVID-19 data. Our dashboard is updated every Friday by mid-day.
Improve the Fit of Your Mask

The CDC has released new guidance on mask fit, stating that correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent COVID-19. Their guidance focuses on 1) making sure the mask fits snugly against your face, and 2) picking a mask with layers to keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out.
Do
  • Choose a mask with nose wire;
  • Use a mask fitter or brace;
  • Check that it fits snugly over your mouth, nose and chin;
  • Add layers of material, including using a cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric OR wear one disposable mask underneath a cloth mask making sure you can breathe easily;
  • Knot and tuck ear loops of a 3-ply mask.

Do NOT
  • Combine two disposable masks
  • Combine a KN95 mask with any other mask

When can I get a COVID Vaccine? 
Phase 2 vaccinations are underway now. Everyone in Phase 1 & individuals 75+ can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Find out if you are eligible now.

State Announces New Call Center & Public Awareness Campaign
The Baker-Polito Administration has established a new call center dedicated to helping residents 75 and older schedule a vaccine appointment. The line, which will be open Monday-Friday from 8:30 am-5:00 pm, can be accessed by dialing 2–1–1 and selecting the prompt for “Help Scheduling a Vaccine Appointment.” Live call center workers will be available in English and Spanish, and 100 additional languages will be available through translators. Residents may have to wait on the line given expected high call volume.

The state has also launched a new statewide public awareness campaign about the COVID-19 vaccine. The campaign seeks to build trust around the vaccine's safety and efficacy with communities of color and other populations.

Upcoming COVID-19 Webinars:
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar Series, 2/15 at 6:00 pm: Join Trinity Health Of New England experts for an educational presentation about the COVID-19 vaccine and what you need to know. Following the presentation, there will be a Question & Answer session. Learn more and register.
  • The COVID-19 Vaccine: What Inquiring Minds Want to Know, 2/21/21 from 4:00-5:00pm: Join the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority- Springfield Alumnae Chapter and Baystate Health for a webinar featuring Dr. Mark A. Keroack, President & Chief Executive Officer, Baystate Health. Register now!
  • Mason Square C3 COVID-19 Info Session, 2/23/21 11 - 12:30 pm: Hear from local leaders and experts about the COVID vaccine, how it was developed and how it is being rolled out in our community. To join the webinar please visit: http://www.focusspringfield.com and click the link that will be prominently featured.
News, Events & More from our Partners
  • Vacant Commissioner Seat with Massachusetts Gaming Commission, Applications due 2/19/21: The State of Massachusetts is currently accepting applications to fill a vacant Commissioner seat. This particular position must be approved by a majority vote of the Governor, Attorney General and Treasurer. The position requires experience in gaming regulatory administration or gaming industry management. Applications are available through the Attorney General or Massachusetts Treasury websites. These agencies will be accepting applications until February 19, 2021.
  • Stakeholder Listening Sessions, 3/18/21 from 5:30-7:30 pm: Every year, the MA Department of Public Health Office of Problem Gambling Services (OPGS) brings together a variety of community residents and partners in one space to participate in a Stakeholder Listening Session. Learn more and register.
  • HNE Mini Grants: COVID-19 Response Mini Grants are now available for 2021. Health New England will continue to offer the COVID-19 Response Mini Grant this year. This mini grant offers eligible organizations the opportunity to request awards of up to $5,000. Click here to apply.
Congratulations to the 2020 BusinessWest Women of Impact winners!
  • Tania Barber, President and CEO of Caring Health Center;
  • Carol Campbell, President of Chicopee Industrial Contractors;
  • Helen Caulton-Harris, Health and Human Services Commissioner for the city of Springfield;
  • Patricia Hallberg, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts;
  • Andrea Harrington, Berkshire County district attorney;
  • Toni Hendrix, Director of Human Services at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing;
  • Christina Royal, President of Holyoke Community College; and
  • Sue Stubbs, President and CEO of ServiceNet. 
Watch the Dr. King Day Celebration

Check out the annual Springfield Citywide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration hosted by Martin Luther King Jr Family Services, Inc, Community Music School of Springfield, D.R.E.A.M. Studios- Springfield College, and Focus Springfield. This year's event was virtual.