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Research Center Overview

  • September 30, 2021

Whittier Street Health Center: Center for Health Equity Research

Center Vision

To eliminate disparities in health outcomes and well-being due to race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography, sexual orientation, religion, educational level, immigration status, national origin and socioeconomic status.

Center’s Goals

The goal of Whittier Street Health Center’s Health Equity Research Center is to facilitate improvements in health care delivery and health outcomes in order to eliminate health disparities due to race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography, sexual orientation, religion, educational level, immigration status, national origin and socioeconomic status, using tools that empower communities to develop, implement and evaluate health programs through research, education, training, and advocacy and utilizing evidence-based data and outcomes to inform policy changes, funding opportunities, program implementation and practices.

The center will also focus on issues impacting Racial equity and explore solutions to address systemic, institutional and individual barriers that deny opportunities to groups based on race or ethnicity (Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, or other people of color). The difference in treatment results in racial inequities that are deeply tied to the ability to achieve health equity.

Background

It is well understood that stress is a significant predictor of poor mental and physical health and health-harming behaviors, such as alcohol and substance use, poor sleep, and so forth. The unequal distribution of stressors is believed to be a key mechanism that explains health disparities among socially disadvantaged communities. However, researchers and communities alike know that groups such as sexual and gender minorities, women,  lower-income people, and communities of color, also face another important stressor more frequently than other groups: discrimination.

The link between health and social factors—such as housing, employment, and education—is well explored in research. Epidemiologists and other researchers continue to reveal the complex, interconnected influence of non-health factors, or “social determinants of health,” on the well-being of communities.

Discrimination also exists within the larger social environment, impacting individuals’ health by denying them access to resources, dignity, and a high quality of life.

Measures

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).