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AHA Recognizes Trinity Health for Collaboration for Healthier Communities

SPRINGFIELD — In 2016, Trinity Health selected a new community health project at Mercy Medical Center as a recipient of a grant under its Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI), a program that has resulted in the creation of a successful partnership between Mercy and Live Well Springfield (LWS), a multi-sector, community-based coalition that includes over 26 organizations working in the city. This partnership has seen extraordinary results in several areas, such as school nutrition improvements, Complete Streets infrastructure, and tobacco-use prevention.

As a five-year initiative, Trinity Health’s TCI has enjoyed similar community health and well-being successes at seven additional Trinity Health ministries and surrounding communities by focusing on policy, system, and environmental change strategies.

This good work has not gone unnoticed, as the American Hospital Assoc. (AHA) honored Trinity Health’s TCI as one of five programs to receive the 2019 AHA Dick Davidson NOVA Award. The award recognizes outstanding collaboration by hospitals and health systems for building healthier communities.

“We are honored to be recognized by AHA as a national leader,” said Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, senior vice president, Safety Net Transformation, Community Health and Well-Being. “Trinity Health is looking beyond our acute-care environment and developing initiatives that address root causes and social influencers of health. We say social influencers of health, not determinants, because we believe communities are resilient and that change is possible.”

In Springfield, the TCI program has worked 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 issues. Partners include Mercy Medical Center and LWS members Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Way Finders, Square One, the Springfield Food Policy Council, the Western Mass. Public Health Institute, and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

“The TCI program has not only been a strong, positive influence in the local community over the past three years, it has also helped us further the work of our founders, the Sisters of Providence, who brought hope and healing to the most vulnerable members of society,” said Mark Fulco, president of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates. “We look forward to working with our community partners to continue that legacy.”