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Baystate, UMass Memorial Sign Agreement to Explore Partnerships
SPRINGFIELD and WORCESTER — Baystate Health and UMass Memorial Health Care have signed a non-binding letter of intent to explore new collaborative opportunities between the two not-for-profit health systems. As national healthcare reform has brought an urgent imperative to transform the delivery and financing of healthcare, health systems and hospitals across the country are collaborating in innovative ways, finding new efficiencies and better care solutions by sharing clinical experience and intellectual resources. Baystate Health and UMass Memorial Health Care have much in common. Each has a mission of improving the quality, accessibility, and affordability of healthcare for patients and families in its community. The two organizations share many other characteristics: both serve communities with significant health needs and significant socioeconomic challenges underlying those needs. Both organizations have integrated systems of care including medical practices, community hospitals, and a major academic medical center. Both organizations receive national recognition not only for the quality of the care they provide, but also for their commitment to their communities. The new agreement builds on a long-existing relationship, as Baystate Health and UMass Memorial Health Care have a long history of mutual support on a number of efforts, including collaborations in pharmacy; healthcare quality, clinical practice, and policy; and infusion medicine. Each recognizes that they can learn even more from one another, work together more closely, and in doing so be more effective and efficient in keeping area communities healthy, rather than focusing mainly on treating disease or illness. Neither organization’s ownership, structure, governance, academic relationships and affiliations, or medical staffs will be affected by the letter of intent or any potential strategic collaboration, nor will they limit the ability of either party to pursue other strategic opportunities.

Leadership Pioneer Valley Announces Class of 2014
HOLYOKE — Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) officially kicked off the class of 39 emerging and established regional leaders at its recent Reach Beyond Opening Reception at Wistariahurst. The culturally and geographically diverse class of men and women from nonprofit, private, educational, and public organizations from Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties filled the reception with energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to the future of the Pioneer Valley. Leadership Pioneer Valley is addressing the critical need to build a diverse network of leaders who aspire to work together across traditional barriers to strengthen the region. The members of the new class will take part in a 10-month program of experiential learning that will take place at locations across the Valley. The experiential curriculum is specifically designed to help the participants refine their leadership skills, broaden connections, and develop a greater commitment to community trusteeship and cultural competency. The class of 2014 includes: Sherill Acevedo, Baystate Medical Practices; Jasmine Amegan, Westfield State University; Kerri Bohonowicz, Community Health Center of Franklin County; Amy Britt, Tapestry Health; Ronda Carter, Health New England; Christina Casiello, MassMutual; Jenny Catuogno, Gadreau Insurance; Tammy-Lynn Chace, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce; Eliza Crescintini, Children’s Study Home;

Geoffrey Croteau, MassMutual Charter Oak Insurance & Financial Services; Cheryl Dukes, Town of Buckland; Nasheika Durham, YMCA of Greater Springfield; Andrew Fletcher, Holyoke Community College;

Kelsey Flynn, MassMutual; Valerie Francis, Health New England; Meghan Godorov, Mount Holyoke College;

Cynthia Gonzalez, Greenfield Cooperative Bank;

Richard Griffin, City of Springfield; Rachel Jones, Springfield Technical Community College; Kevin Jourdain, Sisters of Providence Health System; Diane LeBeau, Westfield State University; Yamilette Madho, Big Y Foods Inc.; Matthew Kullberg, WGBY;
Rosemarie Marks-Paige, Health New England; L.A. McCrae, Three Sisters Consulting; Monique Meadows, self-employed; Josiah Neiderbach, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission; Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield Office of Housing; Beena Pandit, MassMutual; Laura Porter, Holyoke Health Center; Lee Pouliot, City of Chicopee; Jennifer Sanchez, Springfield Technical Community College; Isabel Serrazina, Springfield Housing Authority;

Nicole Skelly, United Bank;

Kyle Sullivan, John Glover Insurance; Colin Tansey, Specialty Bolt & Screw; Todd Weir, First Churches of Northampton; Christopher Whelan, Florence Savings Bank; and Jonencia Wood, Baystate Health.

Grant Helps Jobs Program Expand Opportunities
SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey recently announced that the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development has landed $11.67 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to boost employment opportunities and reduce recidivism for young men leaving the state’s juvenile justice system. The grant, awarded to the Massachusetts-based Roca program, aims to provide education and pre-vocational training to young people in the justice system to make them more employable and keep them from returning, as 67.5% do within six years of being released from custody. Warren and Markey said in a statement that the grant will aid the 535 young men between the ages of 16 and 22 in Springfield and Chelsea working on exiting the juvenile justice system by way of Roca. The program began in Eastern Mass. in 1988 and was brought to Springfield in 2010 thanks to a push by longtime Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe. As of July, the Springfield division of Roca had 85 participants, all high-school dropouts, whose past troubles with the law make it difficult if not impossible to get work. Program administrators say it costs $24,500 a year to put a young person through the Roca program, which includes their pay, although most payroll is paid directly by a participant’s employer. In contrast, it can cost more than $50,000 annually to imprison a person. “This grant is exciting news for Massachusetts. It will help strengthen the Commonwealth’s juvenile justice system by helping young men at risk for reincarceration build the skills they need to succeed,” Warren said in a statement. “This program is a great example of how the federal government can use innovative public-private partnerships to support critical social services in our communities.” Added Markey, “these funds will help keep young men and women in the workforce, out of detention facilities, and on a path towards success. If we can cut costs to society as we help form better members of society, that is an effort worth all of our support.”

Patrick Administration Announces 56 Grants for Massachusetts Farms
EAST TAUNTON — Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan recently awarded 56 grants to Massachusetts farmers to implement renewable-energy systems, improve energy efficiency on farms, and help farmers reduce or prevent negative impacts to natural resources from agricultural practices. “We are proud to support our local farmers in their efforts to ensure a sustainable future for their farms,” Sullivan said. “With each grant, we are creating opportunity for agriculture to stay rooted and grow in our communities. The Patrick administration is committed to reducing energy costs and improve efficiency, and we’re thankful to the Commonwealth’s farmers who are partnering with us in our progress toward a clean energy future.” Twenty-three grants from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ (DAR) Agricultural Energy Grant Program will fund projects to reduce energy consumption and increase renewable energy use at Massachusetts farms. The projects include photovoltaic systems for vegetable and orchard operations, variable-speed vacuum pumps for dairies, reverse-osmosis machines for maple-syrup operations, and shade screens for greenhouses. Thirty-three grants from DAR’s Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program will fund projects like automated irrigations systems for cranberry operations, milkhouse wastewater treatment, manure storage areas, fencing, and pesticide storage. “These grant programs help farmers protect the state’s natural resources as well as our strong tradition of local agriculture,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Implementing environmentally responsible and energy-efficient practices are imperative for farms across to the Commonwealth to remain family-owned resources for fresh, healthy, and delicious food.” Added Mark Silvia, Department of Energy Resources commissioner, “to achieve the Patrick administration’s ambitious goals for Massachusetts’ energy future, we must support clean-energy practices and reduced energy consumption in every sector of the Commonwealth. These grants will help Massachusetts farmers conserve energy and help their bottom line.” State Sen. Marc Pacheco, Senate chairman of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, said he is “pleased to see the Commonwealth invest in projects that are positive for the local agricultural community and for our energy-efficiency efforts overall. These grants are a testament to the leadership that has earned Massachusetts its distinction as number-one in the country for energy efficiency.” Added state Rep. Anne Gobi, the committee’s House chair, “These grants are important to the viability of farming and agriculture in our Commonwealth and are just one more example of the continued commitment to Massachusetts farmers.”

Community Colleges Win Grant Funding
BOSTON — Springfield Technical Community College has received a $122,099 state grant to develop strategies for improving the academic performance of Hispanic students, while community colleges in Greenfield, Holyoke, and Pittsfield will share in a $239,334 grant to improve learning in science, technology and math. The money for the two-year Springfield college was among $7.5 million in competitive grants awarded by the state Department of Higher Education to encourage innovation and improve graduation rates and other aspects of student performance at the state’s 29 community colleges and universities. The $122,099 grant, which will be spread over three years, will allow for the hiring of a project coordinator and a part-time English- and Spanish-speaking academic adviser. The grant program calls for creation of focus groups as part of an in-depth study of Latino students to identify how current initiatives can be revised or new ones put into effect to ensure Latino academic success, especially among Latino males. The $239,334 grant to be shared among Berkshire Community College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, and the four-year Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, calls for the colleges to work with regional schools to improve interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.

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