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Pictures of work in Worcester and MA

Supporting Local Priorities                               

Strong collaborations guide public health in the greater Worcester area, and UMass Worcester PRC faculty, staff, and Steering Committee members are leaders and active partners.

Greater Worcester Community Health Improvement Plan

In 2016, the Worcester Division of Public Health (WDPH), which is the lead agency of the Central Mass Regional Public Health Alliance (CMRPHA), partnered with Fallon HealthUMass Memorial Medical Center, and the Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester (formerly CHNA-8, Common Pathways) to galvanize over 1500 individuals and many agencies to complete the Community Health Assessment and create the Greater Worcester Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).

The CHIP is a blueprint for action for the next 3-5 years, and its guiding principles and 9 Priority Areas focus the talent, resources, and work plans of many community agencies. These agencies and individuals share a vision of becoming the healthiest region in New England by 2020. UMass Worcester PRC staff were actively involved in the Physical Activity Priority Area and the Access to Healthy Food Priority Area.

Academic Health Collaborative of Worcester

The new Academic Health Collaborative of Worcester (AHC-W) brings together the Worcester Division of Public Health with UMass Chan Medical School, Clark University, and Worcester State University “to improve community health and develop public health research and practice leaders.” It is closely aligned with the CHIP, and seeks to focus student and academic research energy to implement the 9 domains. 

Worcester Food Policy Council

The Worcester Food Policy Council is a collaborative of agencies and stakeholders who share a mission to “foster a healthy and just food system for all.” Highlights of this past year’s work include exploring and supporting avenues to make healthy food more accessible, supporting urban agriculture, and assisting in the implementation of the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) program so that recipients of the Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program can purchase more fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets. A highlight of the year was to accompany Congressman Jim McGovern to the Daily Table in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The purpose of the visits was to learn from this not-for-profit retail store that also sells prepared, healthy meals. For more information on the Worcester Food Policy Council, visit:

WalkBike Worcester

WalkBike Worcester actively worked towards its goal of making it more “safe, pleasant and convenient” to walk and bike in Worcester. The collaboration of organizations and residents provide input on local plans, policies and practices to create Complete Streets that safely accommodate driving, biking and walking.

UMass Worcester PRC faculty and staff led and joined many Steering Committee members in these efforts.

UMass Worcester PRC Faculty and Staff

  • Suzanne Cashman, Steering Committee member and Research and Evaluation Subcommittee chair of the Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester
  • Karin Goins, Convener of the CHIP Physical Activity Priority Area, coordinator of WalkBike Worcester
  • Christine Frisard, Evaluator of the CHIP via the Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester
  • Amy Borg, Member of the CHIP Access to Healthy Food Priority Area and the Worcester Food Policy Council

UMass Worcester PRC Steering Committee members leading and/or participating in these efforts

  • Cassandra Anderson, Manager of Strategic Partnerships, WDPH
  • Martha Assefa, Manager of the Worcester Food Policy Council
  • Jacqueline Ewuoso, Prevention Specialist, WDPH
  • Mónica Escobar Lowell, UMass Memorial Health Care, Inc
  • Liz Sheehan Castro, Convener of the CHIP Access to Healthy Food Priority Area
  • Alexis Travis, Chief of Community Health, WDPH