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Whittier Street Health Center receives federal recognition for COVID-19 care, technology use

Avery Bleichfeld
Whittier Street Health Center receives federal recognition for COVID-19 care, technology use
Whittier Street Health Center BANNER PHOTO

Whittier Street Health Center has received a trio of federal awards for excellence in pandemic patient care and the use of technology to improve health outcomes.

Announcing the honors for their work in 2023, the Roxbury facility said the Community Health Quality Recognition awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are awarded annually to recognize improvements and areas of excellence in health centers across the country.

Whittier Street received badges for achievements in health technology use, work addressing social risk factors in patients and its efforts around COVID-19 vaccination and testing. The health center was also recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for patient-centered care.

The awards “serve as testament to our sustained commitment to improving the health and well-being of our community and addressing health disparities,” said Whittier Street’s president and CEO Frederica Williams in an email announcing the honors.

Community health centers in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan received a combined 21 badges. City-wide, health centers received a total of 46.

The center’s COVID-19 recognition was awarded to health centers within the top 10% providing COVID-19 vaccinations or testing to the largest percentage of patients. Whittier Street Health Center was one of 13 providers in the state to receive the badge.

The badge, focused on the center’s efforts around social risk factors, was awarded for data collection around social determinants of health — non-medical factors like housing and food access that influence an individual’s health — as well as increasing the percentage of patients receiving services to address those factors over the past two years.

Whittier was one of 14 providers in Massachusetts to receive the badge and it was its second year in a row winning the honor.

The award for the center’s use of technology recognized its efforts engaging patients through telehealth services, providing digital access to patient health information and collecting data on social determinants of health.

Health centers in Massachusetts received federal recognition at a greater rate than nationwide. In the state, 35 of the 37 federally recognized health centers — over 90% — received the badge. Across the country that number was just over 60%.

Whittier Street Health Center offers clinical and social services to a reported 30,000 Roxbury residents.