The Public Health Institute of Western MA (PHIWM) partnered with Baystate Medical Center’s Institute for Healthcare Delivery and Population Science (BMC IHDPS) to build capacity for community-engaged research through Project ACCCES: A Collaboration to Develop Capacity to Conduct Community-Engaged Research in Springfield. 

Project ACCCES focused on building equitable community-academic research partnerships that leverage the expertise of researchers and the lived experience of community stakeholders to address health inequities in Springfield. Project ACCCES was initiated by PHIWM, BMC, and the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services through funding from the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute. An Advisory Group consisting of healthcare and behavioral health providers, community organization leaders, public health representatives, and patients and community members worked with the Leadership Team to design the process. Focus groups were held with researchers, community organization representatives, healthcare providers, and patients to understand their experiences and perspectives on research in Springfield and their interest in areas of focus for research partnerships. Workshops were held in September and October of 2016 and centered on building community-academic research partnerships in Springfield. Following the workshop, PHIWM and BMC IHDPS convened research partnerships focused on maternal and child health, youth mental health and substance use, and chronic disease. These partnerships brought together researchers, community organizations, providers, residents and youth to discuss how research could support the health of residents in Springfield.   

PHIWM and UMass School of Public Health Dept of Health Policy have been providing training to researchers and community organizations about fostering successful community-researcher partnerships. 

Advisory Board

The Project ACCCES Advisory Board members included (no longer active):

  • Dr. Andrew Balder, Baystate Medical Center
  • Dr. Cesarina Thompson, American International College
  • Dr. Chrystal Whittcopp, Baystate Medical Center 
  • Ms. Cristina Huebner Torres, Caring Health Center
  • Dr. Frank Robinson, Baystate Medical Center
  • Mr. Henry East Trou, Gandara Center 
  • Ms. Maria Navarro, Baystate Medical Center 
  • Dr. Peter Lindenauer, Baystate Medical Center
  • Mr. Ronn Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services 
  • Ms. Synthia Scott-Mitchell, Springfield Partners for Community Action 
  • Ms. Vanessa Martinez, Holyoke Community College