Kraft Family, Partners HealthCare To Establish National Center for Community Health

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$20 Million Gift from the Kraft Family to Improve Access to Health Care

1/10/2011

Robert and Myra Kraft and Partners HealthCare today announced the creation of a new center whose mission is to improve access and quality of health care for the neediest people in our communities, not only in Massachusetts, but across the nation. A $20 million gift from the Kraft family will fund The Kraft Family National Center for Leadership and Training in Community Health (The Center) to create an innovative fellowship program aimed at training a new generation of community-based physician leaders. In addition, financial incentives will be offered to foster recruitment of more than 100 doctors and master’s-prepared nurses to practice in community health settings. Over time, the effort will help to make significant strides toward addressing and eliminating specific barriers to care. The gift also will support community cancer programs at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“My family and I are among the lucky ones who have received the incredible care available at Brigham and Women’s, Mass General and other top-flight medical institutions in New England, but there are far too many without access to the life-changing, life-saving care of the world’s best medical professionals,” said Robert Kraft. “Myra and I, as well as our entire family, hope that the center will establish a national model to motivate the most talented doctors and nurses to practice in community health settings where their expertise can have an immeasurable impact.”

“We have made tremendous gains in this state providing health coverage to families across the Commonwealth, but certain inequities and disparities still exist. This gift allows us to bring the best and the brightest to care for the sickest populations and those most in need. It allows us to build on the strength of our community health centers, academic medical centers, universities and health care professionals to find compassionate and effective solutions to these challenging health access issues” said Gary Gottlieb, MD, President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “Very simply, we hope to inspire a new generation of clinicians to make a commitment to solve many community health problems here in Massachusetts and across the country, and greatly improve the health of those in need.”

Even with Massachusetts’ historic success providing health care coverage, 15 percent of Massachusetts residents report difficulty finding a health care provider. Specific shortages have been reported in family medicine, internal medicine and psychiatry. These shortages are one of several factors leading to significant disparities in the health status of certain populations, particularly those residents living in poverty. Addressing and eliminating these disparities is essential to making the entire health care system work.

The Center, based at Partners HealthCare will address these issues in three ways:

Fellowship Training Program
This fellowship will develop world-class leaders in community health in primary care, internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, and women’s health. These physicians will train in community settings, caring for high-risk populations while being mentored by renowned leaders in the field and studying in graduate degree programs at Harvard University.

Financial Recruitment Incentives
In an effort to immediately increase the number of qualified providers delivering care in community settings, the program will include a loan repayment incentive of $50,000 for physicians who commit to a minimum of two years of service in a community-based program. Additionally, a loan repayment incentive of $30,000 will be made available for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and other master’s-prepared nurses who make the same commitment. This effort is expected to yield an additional 100 care providers, creating capacity for about 200,000 patients.

National Resource
The Center is expected to serve as a resource for other health care professionals throughout the country who are attempting to tackle these same issues. Those completing the Fellowship will likely have a multiplier effect as they go on to train and mentor future generations of caregivers and are available to share best practices with colleagues around the nation. The Center will develop and support a National Advisory Council comprised of recognized leaders in the field. Council members will help The Center leverage resources across the country and link to other prestigious programs, ensuring continuous program improvement and helping to replicate these ideas in other parts of the country.

“We are thrilled and grateful for the Kraft family’s continued support for making cancer care more accessible and effective,” said Edward J. Benz, Jr, MD., president and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “We will use this wonderful opportunity to strengthen and expand our community-based care and research.”

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