Somerville is known for being inclusive—it’s home to young professionals and families, lifelong residents and immigrants, and it’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. But when it comes to our wellbeing, there’s still a long way to go to equality: The city faces “continued health disparities based on race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status,” according to the 2017 Wellbeing of Somerville Report.
That’s where the Somerville Health Foundation comes in. Since 1996, the foundation has worked toward health equity by awarding small grants to community projects. This year, the six winners each won a grant of between $2,000 and $5,000.
“The foundation is looking at why are some people more impacted by health issues than others, and then trying to collectively think about how we can do things differently to influence those factors,” says Lisa Brukilacchio, director of the Somerville Community Health Agenda at the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA).
The trustees of the foundation assess Somerville’s most pressing health needs, or “priority areas,” as they call them, by analyzing available data. Many of these priority areas have been at the top of the list for years, including mental health, substance use, violence, physical activity, food and nutrition, and chronic disease.
The winners of the Somerville Health Awards are chosen for their efforts to address those priority areas, Brukilacchio explains. For example, one of this year’s winning…