Community Health Improvement Plan

Community Health Improvement Plan

The Greater Worcester Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is a long-term regional strategic plan for addressing health disparities and improving community health based on the Greater Worcester Regional Community Health Assessment (CHA) and subsequent community conversations with local leaders and residents. The Worcester Division of Public Health (WDPH) and Coalition for a Healthy Greater Worcester collaborate to manage the CHIP's development and implementation across the Central Massachusetts Regional Public Health Alliance (CMRPHA). The CHIP also complements the CMRPHA municipalities’ strategic plans for healthy, thriving communities.

Some recent initiatives that have resulted in part from community implementation of previous CHIPs include:

  • Developing the Stigma Free Worcester mobile app.
  • Reducing re-hospitalization rates.
  • Enhancing access to playgrounds and recreational facilities.
  • Increasing numbers of farmers' markets accepting SNAP and WIC.
  • Decreasing violent incidents.

2021-2026 Plan

The 2021-2026 CHIP was developed over a span of 16 months, and it is intended to be a living, breathing roadmap for health improvement and resource investment to support WDPH, hospitals and organizations that have a stake in improving health for the residents of CMRPHA communities. It was informed by data and priority health concerns presented by the 2018 Greater Worcester Regional Community Health Assessment, as well as 35 in-depth conversations with nearly 100 residents.

The 2021-2026 CHIP was shaped by four central principles:

  1. Invest first in the community.
  2. Elevate, listen to and respect the community's voice.
  3. Eliminate gaps between services.
  4. Honor trauma-informed approaches to care with equal measure to resilience approaches to care.

Compared to previous CHIPs, the 2021-2026 targets more focused, "upstream" systems that currently breed health inequity as opposed to a "downstream" list of individual programs or goals. Improving policy and root social determinants of health, such as access to education and housing, will lead to more sustainable and longer-term change. As you browse the 2021-2026 CHIP, it may be helpful to keep this Glossary of Racial Equity from the Partnership for Racial and Ethnic Health Equity handy in case you come across any terms you are unfamiliar with.

Cover Image of the 2021-2026 CHIP

Overarching Goal: Health Equity

As stated in the CHIP's Letter to the Community, by virtue of being human, every single person in the Greater Worcester community deserves access to quality childcare, education, compassionate navigation through healthcare systems, access to healthy food and safe streets. Our past, present and futures matter, and to achieve health justice we must endeavor together to ensure our neighbors have full, healthy, valued lives.

Health equity is defined as "attaining full health potential and wellness as experienced and honored through one's many intersecting identities (race, sex & gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, ability status, immigration status, religion, etc.), and that of their family and communities" (Samantha Calero, adapted from the Boston Public Health Commission, 2019).

The CHIP intends to achieve its overall goal of health equity through three primary racial equity policies to ensure that municipal leaders are aligned with values, structures and tools to combat health disparities and equitably distribute resources:

Adopt community-led racial equity trainings for all staff, boards and commissions.
Work with and compensate grassroots leaders in oversight and decision making.
Use community-vetted equity tools in department, board and commission planning and decision making.

Community-Wide Policy Change Campaigns

The CHIP will amplify and support 12 campaigns selected based on the CHIP's community conversations and that are already underway as locally-led legislative and advocacy priorities aimed to improve the health of our community. Click each button below to learn more.

Cliff Effect Button Graphic
Early Education Button Graphic
Home-Visiting Button Graphic
Public Transportation Graphic
WiFi Button Graphic
Housing Affordability Button Graphic
Complete Streets Button Graphic
Crisis Response Graphic
Age-Friendly Button Graphic
Mental House/Human Service Reimbursement Button Graphic
Sexual Education Button Graphic
Policy Campaigns Graphic

Prioritized Strategy and Action Agenda

The CHIP will convene six working groups in collaboration with local community groups to address health issues persistent on the community level through the following service strategies. The will seek to tackle systemic issues with the goal of creating more equitable avenues to resources and care, and as a result, greater equitable health outcomes across race, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status.

Get Involved

Visit the full 2021-2016 CHIP Website for more details and to download the CHIP booklet and poster.

There are many ways to get involved to help implement the CHIP. You can...

  1. Join a Coalition Subcommittee or Working Group.
  2. Advocate for one of the 12 change campaigns.
  3. Use the CHIP reflection guide to see how your organization, business, or community group can align itself with the action agenda. [coming soon]
  4. Support fundraising efforts.
  5. Assist with data collection and usage.
  6. Reach out directly to Coalition leadership and let them know you want to help!

CHIP Archive

Learn More

Learn about understanding key problems that impact health and assess the strengths of our community on our Greater Worcester Regional Community Health Assessment (CHA) page.

Learn More About CHA

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