HOLYOKE – Fifth Hampden State Representative Aaron Vega is pleased to share the news that the Holyoke Health Center and its partners is one of 9 community-based partnerships to be funded through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund.  “As a former board member of the Health Center, I am especially proud of this accomplishment,” said Vega.  “The Health Center provides vital services to a vulnerable population and these funds will go a long way in helping the people of Holyoke.”

The Patrick Administration announced more than $40 million in grants awarded to nine community-based partnerships to help fight chronic illness and improve health outcomes while reducing health care costs. Part of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, this first-in-the-nation effort is part of a $60 million grant over four years created by the Legislature and administered by the Department of Public Health (DPH).

“In Massachusetts, we believe that health care is a public good and every resident deserves access to affordable, quality care,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “These grants will help us reach that goal by funding the intervention strategies proven to work.”

The Health Center and its partner organizations plan to address all of the Prevention and Wellness Trust’s priority health areas: tobacco use, hypertension, pediatric asthma and obesity.  The partner organizations have proven their commitment to the community by sharing resources, working together, and working in and with the community they serve.  Understanding the needs of their community, the partnership has identified recruiting bilingual and bicultural staff as a priority.

The Health Center will be partnering with:

•       City of Holyoke

•       Greater Holyoke YMCA

•       Holyoke Medical Center, Inc.

•       River Valley Counseling Center, Inc.

•       Western Mass Physician Associates, Inc.

Each of the statewide grantees will receive up to $250,000 for the first phase of their work. As grantees demonstrate their readiness to implement interventions in community and clinical settings, they will receive additional funding between $900,000 and $1.5 million for each of the next three years. The amount each receives will depend upon population covered and the number of conditions addressed.