BOSTON, June 29, 2023 (Newswire.com) - In 2011, Whittier Street Health Center raised awareness about the 33-year gap in life expectancy for those living in Roxbury (59.5 years) compared to those living in the Back Bay (92 years), a gentrified neighborhood less than 2 miles from Roxbury. Whittier focused on the "Tale of the Two Cities" and partnered with its patients, community residents and leaders, corporations and public sector partners to raise awareness and to develop programs to close the life expectancy gap. Whittier launched its Boston Health Equity Program in 2012, a system of care for people with chronic illnesses and those at risk that fully integrates innovative community outreach, linkage to social services, wellness support and care coordination with a focus on eliminating health disparities and their associated costs.
A little over a decade later, working with its patients and partners, Whittier has made large strides in improving life expectancy in its service areas by 10 years. The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) released a report on May 11, 2023, and there is a 23-year life expectancy gap between residents in Roxbury and the Back Bay.
On June 21, 2023, Whittier Street Health Center co-hosted a session in partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission and the CHNA-CHIP Collaborative.
The open discussion, led by the Commissioner of the City of Boston's Health Department Dr. Bisola Ojikutu and Whittier's President & CEO Frederica M. Williams, addressed the need for continued and expanded community outreach and education to provide the necessary and comprehensive range of treatment and prevention services to low-income minority and immigrant populations.
Community members attending the event were connected to health resources offered by the City of Boston, including the Boston Health Start Initiative (BHSI), which provides direct support to pregnant and parenting women, children, and families of color. Whittier Street Health Center is a designated BHSI site.
"The recent Health of Boston reports shows that the life expectancy gap of Roxbury residents has shown a slight improvement, but there remains a gap of 23 years when compared to the residents in Back Bay," said Frederica M. Williams, president and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center. "We need to continue our efforts to address the barriers to good health, such as housing, food and economic insecurity while empowering our residents to engage in lifestyle changes and behaviors that will improve their health and quality of life. Having access to prevention, screening and treatment in addition to community investments in the social determinants of health can lead to better health outcomes. We are grateful to all who have supported our Boston Health Equity Program, which was launched in 2012, and look forward to expanding our health equity partnerships so we can continue to close the 23-year life expectancy gap."
About Whittier Street Health Center
Whittier Street Health Center is an independently licensed community healthcare center with a mission to serve as a center of excellence that provides high-quality and accessible healthcare and social services that achieve health equity, social justice and the economic well-being of its diverse populations.
President & CEO
Original Source: Whittier Program Closes the Life Expectancy Gap in Minority and Low-Income Communities