Access to Care
To address the lack of access to primary care in the region, especially among people of color, the foundation launched a three-pronged approach in 2013. Between 2013 and 2018, the foundation invested $3.7 million in expanding community health center capacity, increasing health insurance coverage and creating linkages to primary and specialty care through the use of community health workers.
Adolescent Mental Health
Access to appropriate mental health services has long been noted as a concern in the region. The MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, conducted every other year since 2006, has found that between 18 and 22 percent of high school students report depressive symptoms and between 10 and 13 percent have considered suicide in the past 12 months. For LGBT youth, the rates are significantly higher. To address the issue, the foundation has invested over $4 million in replication of the Bridge to Resilient Youth In Transition (BRYT) model and other school-based invention strategies for at-risk students and evidence-based universal mental health curriculum and programs.
In 2010, the foundation convened the fifteen-member MetroWest Commission on Healthy Aging to develop a vision of what healthy aging should look like in the MetroWest area in the coming years and how to achieve that vision. The commission looked at a variety of issues related to physical and behavioral health, community building and social well-being, and transportation and mobility.
The final report called on public and private agencies to join together to encourage greater use of evidence-based disease prevention and chronic disease management practices; improve the support and education that is available to caregivers; improve access to mental health services for older adults; and reach those who are socially isolated, among other recommendations.
Since 2010, the foundation has invested over $2.4 million in healthy aging programs across MetroWest. Major focus areas have been caregiver support; transportation for older adults as they stop driving; chronic disease management programs; wellness programs; programming to decrease social isolation; and most recently planning for Age and Dementia Friendly Communities.
Major investments included grants to ITN Greater Boston to provide on-demand transportation; caregiver support and respite programs through Advocates; Franklin, Medfield and Hudson Councils on Aging; Caregiving MetroWest website (www.caregivingmetrowest.org), a comprehensive resource for services caregivers need; and Dementia and Age Friendly projects in Marlborough, Northborough, Hudson, Westborough, Franklin, Needham and Framingham.