Community Mission

More than 25 years ago, Boston Children’s Hospital was one of the first academic medical centers in the country to expand the traditional missions of patient care, teaching and research to embrace a fourth core mission—community. Through the years, Boston Children’s has focused its efforts to ensure that community health is more than words in our mission statement. These efforts have evolved from targeted services that reach small numbers of families into innovative models that have proven to address health disparities and improve child health outcomes.

Mental and behavioral health, obesity and asthmaare top health concerns that we consistently hear from parents and partners. We also know that families want access to healthy food and physical activities, the ability to afford and live in stable housing and feel safe in their neighborhoods. To stay on top of these health and social issues and identify the best ways to address them, Boston Children’s completes an assessment of child and community concerns every three years. The findings help to inform our plans for how to best use hospital resources, leverage partnerships and implement successful approaches. 

Improving Child and Community Health

Boston Children’s strategy is to: 1) address the most pressing health needs of children and families; 2) provide services through programs that can lead to improvements in health outcomes; or 3) build community capacity to better meet the needs of children and families. Some of the programs in the hospital’s four priority health area—asthma, obesity, mental/behavioral health and early childhood/child development—are described below.

The Community Asthma Initiative (CAI) 

The Community Asthma Initiative (CAI) has helped to improve the health of Boston children with asthma. To date, CAI has served more than 1,868 children. CAI provides case-management services, offers home visits, educates caregivers and providers, distributes asthma control supplies and connects families to local resources. The program has reduced the percentage of patients with any asthma-related hospitalizations by 81%, emergency department visits by 57%, missed schools days by 45% and missed work days for parents/caregivers by 53%.

Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (BCHNP) 

Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (BCHNP) is the hospital’s community-based behavioral health program. BCHNP places clinicians in Boston schools and community health centers to provide a comprehensive array of services to better meet the needs of children and adolescents. Last year, more than 1,000 students received school-based services. The program also provided 1,191 hours of consultation to school staff and families and 26 workshops were held on social, emotional and behavioral health.

Fitness in the City (FIC) 

Fitness in the City (FIC) is a community-based approach to addressing obesity by offering prevention and intervention strategies to support children and youth who are overweight or obese, in making healthier choices and behavior changes. FIC supports 11 Boston community health centers to provide almost 1,100 children annually with case-management support, as well as access to nutrition and physical activity programs. Almost 60% of children participating in FIC have reduced their Body Mass Index. Participants also have made behavioral changes such as reducing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and increasing the amount of time being physically active.

The Advocating Success for Kids Program (ASK) 

The Advocating Success for Kids Program (ASK) provides access to intensive and critically needed services for children experiencing school-functioning problems and learning delays through Boston Children’s primary care clinic and in two Boston community health centers. Last year, 561 children were cared for by the ASK team.

The Office of Community Health oversees this community mission and coordinates community health efforts throughout the institution. 

Collaboration for Community Health

Boston Children’s has an opportunity to make a significant impact on the health of children and families. These funds—Boston Children’s Collaboration for Community Health—will be distributed to community organizations over the next 10 years.

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