On January 18, 2018, Partners for a Healthier Community formally launched its new name and brand, Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, at an event held in Robyn Newhouse Hall at the Community Music School of Springfield.
According to Jessica Collins, Executive Director of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, “Our new name and brand highlight our role in advancing public health for all in our region; it says what we do and how the community and our stakeholders know us. Our logo has evolved into a sun that evokes the collaborative, data-driven and process-oriented organization we are.”
Kathleen Szegda, Director of Community Research & Evaluation presented preliminary data to over 100 attendees from a 2017 Youth Health Survey of 1,277 Springfield eighth graders, which revealed substantial mental health concerns and inequities when disaggregating the data by sex; gender identity and sexual orientation; and race and ethnicity.
Over the 12 months prior to the survey, students who identified as LGBT had more than double the rates of sustained hopelessness (60%) compared to heterosexual students (27%). Female students also experienced double the rates of sustained hopelessness (41%) compared to males (21%). Students who identified as Latino, Multiple Races and Asian reported some of the highest rates of sustained hopelessness (32%, 37% and 41% respectively), compared to 27% of non-Hispanic white students, and 24% of non-Hispanic black students. Overall, when compared to all students in Massachusetts (20%), eighth graders in Springfield, across races/ethnicities, report higher rates of sustained hopelessness.
The Public Health Insitute will convene stakeholders in order to discuss and take action to address these findings. Other initiatives that were reported on include Complete Streets, Springfield Healthy Homes, and the GoFresh Mobile Market.
The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts was formed, 20 years ago, with the goal of building measurably healthier communities using data and its convening power to create collaborative partnerships and achieve better health for all.
Below is media coverage of our event held on January 18, 2018:
- Study: Some Springfield 8th-graders report sadness, thoughts of self-harm; rates higher for LGBT students – MassLive.com, January 19, 2018.
- Community health organization announces new name – WAMC, January 19, 2018
- Partners for a Healthier Community is now the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts – WWLP, January 18, 2018.