Recent Awards

Center for Health Care Strategies

Project Director: Tricia McGinnis, MPP, MPH

“Best Practices and Lessons Learned from Partnerships between Health Care Providers and Community-based Organizations” is a one year grant that will support the development of an event featuring two health care provider and community-based organization (CBO) partnerships identified through a companion project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project. The partnerships highlighted will help inform how developing accountable care organizations in Massachusetts could establish similar partnerships to support the integration and coordination of social determinants of health with health care services. The featured health care provider/CBO partnerships will highlight lessons learned and explore the different types of activities and approaches to establish viable partnerships and drive improved patient outcomes. In addition, the grantee team will develop an issue brief that synthesizes best practices and lessons learned, highlighting actionable takeaways and operational activities for health care providers. The brief will also incorporate insights gleaned from engaging Massachusetts stakeholders during the event.

Center for Health Law and Economics, University of Massachusetts Medical School


Project Director: Robert Seifert

“Churning in Massachusetts:  A Planning Study” is a one year project that will examine the feasibility of an updated study of “churning” in Massachusetts’ public health insurance programs, MassHealth and ConnectorCare. Churning is an important phenomenon in public programs because its existence indicates interruptions in health coverage, which often means breaks in continuity of care. The methodology for the planning project will include a literature review and a series of key informant interviews with consumer advocates, state officials, and provider and payer representatives. The information from these activities will then be synthesized into a preliminary research plan for a full study.

Center for Social Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston


Project Director: Susan Crandall, PhD

“Inventory of Types of Social and Human Services in Massachusetts” is a one year project that will inform developing MassHealth accountable care organizations and others about the vast array of social and human services available in Massachusetts that support social determinants of health including: housing, food, transportation, fuel assistance, income assistance, and workforce development. The research team will develop a comprehensive overview of these programs to educate health care providers about how to readily leverage and refer to these programs when seeking to care for the holistic needs of their patients.

Children's HealthWatch


Project Directors: Megan Sandel, MD, MPH and Diana Cutts, MD

“Children's HealthWatch - Housing Vital Sign” is a one year project to develop a three-question screening tool to identify housing instability – to be called a “Housing Vital Sign.” While there is growing interest by health care providers in connecting patients to services that address social determinants of health, providers struggle to systematically identify which patients are in need of these services. There are currently no validated measures for universal use by health care providers for identifying housing hardships. This project aims to address that gap. Building on their experience developing and validating a two-question screening tool for food insecurity (Hunger Vital Sign™), the research team will leverage its database of nearly 60,000 patients to identify combinations of up to three housing instability questions with the highest association with adverse health and developmental outcomes among families with young children.