Lawrence, Haverhill, Methuen Health Centers Receive Federal Grant for Better Data Collection

Dr. Guy Fish, president and CEO of Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, shakes hands in August of 2021 with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra while state Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Congresswoman Lori Trahan look on. (Courtesy photograph.)

Community health centers across the state, including Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, Monday were awarded $65,500 in federal aid each for improved data collection and reporting.

The grants, coming during National Health Center Week, are distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration. Altogether, 36 Massachusetts health centers shared in $2.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act money.

“We have prioritized advancing equity in our COVID-19 response and throughout all of our work,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Community health centers have played a pivotal role in the nation’s COVID-19 response, and now serve more than 30 million people across the country. Today’s investments will help ensure that all patients have equitable access to the high-quality health care they deserve.”

Greater Lawrence Family Health Center operates primary care clinics in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen.

President Joe Biden last Friday proclaimed National Health Center Week “to recognize the vital role health centers play in safeguarding the well-being of Americans and honor the heroic staff who keep these facilities running.”

The grants are said to help strengthen efforts to eliminate inequities in COVID-19 care and outcomes within communities of color and other underserved populations. The money supports a data modernization effort aimed at better identifying and responding to the specific needs of patients and communities through improved data quality; advancing COVID-19 response, mitigation, and recovery efforts; and helping prepare for future public health emergencies.

“With better information, programs can tailor their efforts to improve health outcomes and advance health equity by more precisely targeting the needs of specific communities or patients, particularly as part of the public health emergency response,” officials said in a statement.

Last year, federally funded health centers provided care for one-in-five residents in rural areas and one-in-11 people nationwide. One-in-three health center patients are living in poverty and nearly two-thirds are racial/ethnic minorities.

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