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Codman Engages Community in Discussions about Race and Health

Codman Square Health Center behavioral health providers have been reaching out to community members in a series of virtual network nights to share information and engage in conversations about race and how it can impact health. The events, which community members could attend free and on Zoom, dove deep into discussions about race and racism, and how it interacts with health.

One of Codman’s psychiatrists, Dr. Jessica Isom, MD, MPH, led the two sessions. On May 31, Dr. Isom addressed about 200 community members on the topic of racial stress, racial trauma, and substance abuse. She and other panel members talked about how dealing with racism can lead people to cope in health and unhealthy ways, including with alcohol and drugs.

Some Codman experts from our substance use disorder program shared resources the health center offers.

After the experts presented the information, they engaged the audience in discussion about the topic, and answered many questions. Attendees were grateful for the information.

On June 28, Dr. Isom presented to another group of about 200 community members about how expiring racism can impact one’s health and how to create a Racism Recovery Plan. They also answered questions and had a discussion with attendees.

“The conversations Codman Square Health Center has been having are much needed. We can’t wait for the next one,” one attendee shared after the meeting.

Codman offered these network nights with financial support from a grant from RIZE Massachusetts, and in partnership with Union Capital Boston.

HRSA Awards Codman Grant to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes

midwife with pregnant patient

Codman is pleased to announce that it has been selected as one of only 35 health centers in the country, and the sole health center in Massachusetts, to receive a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the Fiscal Year 2023 Quality Improvement Fund-Maternal Health. This prestigious grant provides essential funding to support CSHC’s mission of improving the health outcomes of patients at the highest risk of maternal morbidity and mortality.

“At Codman Square Health Center, we are acutely aware of the urgent need to address maternal health disparities and reduce the alarming rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, particularly within the Black community,” said Sandra Cotterell, CEO of Codman Square Health Center.

Codman, a federally qualified health center, serves a diverse patient population of approximately 23,500 individuals. Within our patient population, 94% identify as racial or ethnic minorities, including 81% Black, African American, or Afro-Caribbean, and 11% Hispanic or Latino. Additionally, approximately 20% of our patients prefer a language other than English, with many being recent immigrants from Haiti or the Caribbean. These factors contribute to acute disparities in maternal health within our service area.

In response to these needs, Codman developed the innovative and patient-centered Pregnancy Equity Accelerator for Codman Health (PEACH) project to address the disparities in our community, particularly among Black and minority communities. PEACH aims to transform our prenatal and postpartum care by implementing care that is individualized and responsive to our community’s maternal health needs.

Under the PEACH program, Codman will create pregnancy groups based on gestational age, starting early in the first trimester and continuing throughout the pregnancy. Families interested in ongoing care will also have access to a postpartum support group in this format. Our interdisciplinary team of certified nurse midwives, family medicine physicians, residents, and support personnel will provide comprehensive care that addresses our patients’ physical health needs and psychosocial well-being.

Collaborating with behavioral health clinicians, nutritionists, community health workers, case managers, and family planning counselors, we will provide holistic support for a woman’s journey toward optimal maternal health. Trusted community partners such as WIC, Baby Café, Birth Sisters, Healthy Baby Healthy Child, and ABCD will share resources and support our maternal health group cohorts to enrich our program.

Patient and community engagement are fundamental to the PEACH program. “We are grateful to our federal partners for developing the Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis and to Congress for investing historic funding in agencies such as HHS and HRSA,” added Sandra Cotterell, CEO of Codman Square Health Center. “With this HRSA funding, we will continue to work tirelessly to reduce disparities, provide culturally sensitive care, and empower our patients to thrive throughout their pregnancies and beyond.”

At Codman Square Health Center, our commitment to advancing maternal health and eliminating disparities in our community is unwavering. The HRSA grant will allow us to significantly improve our patients’ prenatal and postpartum health. We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey and eagerly anticipate sharing our progress with the broader health community.

Graduates hail the mind-opening values of the Clemente Course in the Humanities; Codman Sq. Health Center hosts cultural programming

By Seth Daniel, News Editor, Dorchester Reporter

When Rose Dolin and her two sisters, Hans and Lynda, signed up for the one-year commitment to the Clemente

Sisters Hans Dolin, Rose Dolin, and Lynda Dolin graduated from the Clemente Course in the Humanities at the Dorchester location and celebrated at a ceremony last month in the Great Hall in Codman Square.

Course in the Humanities at the Codman Square Neighborhood Health Center’s Adult Education program, they had no idea how many doors it would open to them intellectually. They thought they would simply be practicing English speaking and writing.

While they did do that, they also got a tutorial in the finer points of art history, among other studies. During a graduation program this spring in the Great Hall, Rose Dolin took note of how the program has changed the course of her life:

“Coming to this country six years ago has been very hard,” said the native of Haiti. “Feeling a sense of belonging in the US has always been challenging for me. Adjusting has been a really long journey. A lot of times I have felt very lonely, especially during the Covid-19 quarantine. I often asked, ‘What will I do with my life?’ I was on the verge of really giving up before Clemente. For me, Clemente opened up my eyes to so many things with American history, writing, art history and English. I feel enlightened.”

The Clemente Course in the Humanities has been in operation at the Health Center for 22 years. It is sponsored there by the Mass Cultural Council as one of five Clemente Course sites around the state that provide low-income adults with college-level introductory humanities courses, free of charge, for credit that is awarded by Bard College.

Co-Directors Tim McCarthy and Jack Cheng took the lead on the course in the fall of 2001 in the Great Hall and have taught hundreds of students since then. They collaborate with other teachers and instructors, but in the end, the reward is the lightbulb that goes off when students invest in studying the humanities and the world of arts.

“The best definition we’ve come up with of the humanities is it is the study together of what it means to be human so we can all become more humane,” said McCarthy, a Dorchester resident. “This course was born just after the 9/11 terrorist attack with just a little bit of money. We started here and people came, and they have continued to come for the past 22 years for this joyous work.”

Added Cheng, directing his comments to the graduates at the Great Hall ceremony: “I hope you’ll take with you all we learned and the trips we took with each other and the talks about what is right and wrong in the world and what happened in the past to make it the way it is. I hope when you’re in Dorchester or elsewhere, you’ll visit an art gallery or notice a building’s architecture outside – and that you don’t do those things alone, but with others.”

Sharon Howell, a 60-year-old Lower Mills native and member of Morningstar Baptist Church, said she committed to the one-year Clemente Course after feeling burnt out from the pandemic. She said she had never in her life watched television until the pandemic set in, and then, after watching too much, she said, her brain “needed some exercise.”

Her interests were philosophy, African American history, art history, but more than that, they were about herself.

“I want to say I learned truth,” she said. “They have the saying, ‘To thine own self be true.’ This class taught me a lot more about that. I learned how much further I’m ready and willing to take the truth and honesty in life.”

The 2023 graduates of the Clemente Course in Dorchester included: Rose Sherley Dolin, Hans Dolin, Lynda Dolin, Sharon Howell, Hazel Hutcherson, Pierre Jeremie, Gwendolyn McLean Kirkland, Sandra Means, and Dianna Miles.
For more information on the next course, contact Michelle Rue at 617-740-2531, or by email at

MDPH Survey. Your voice matters

Take the MDPH Community Health Equity Survey

The MDPH Community Health Equity Survey is an opportunity for residents to share their experiences and priorities to help shape the future of health care in the Commonwealth. The information you share will help MDPH and community partners determine how best to allocate funding, improve programming, and develop policies to address health inequities.

Flyer warning patients on MyChart updates

Codman Adopts New Electronic Health Records System

Codman is pleased to be transitioning to a new electronic BMC Connect Epic health records system that will help us provide more efficient care to all of our patients. Starting on June 1, our staff will be working in the new system, and you may notice some changes.

  • Staff may ask you for information that you have given before, due to some initial gaps in the system.
  • You may have to verify information.
  • It may take longer for us to respond to you and complete your care. We greatly appreciate your understanding!
  • You may have to make some updates to your patient portal.

Thank you for your patience as we go through this process.


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Codman Shares New COVID-19 Masking Guidelines

The federal COVID-19 public health emergency expired on May 11. Codman Square Health Center will continue to provide exceptional care to all of our patients, but you will see some changes across our campus, beginning May 12, since this public health emergency determined how we cared for patients during the pandemic.

Final Randolph Vaccine Clinic Offers Gift Cards, Lunch, and More!

Codman is hosting its final all-ages vaccine clinic on Saturday, April  29, at 47 Memorial Parkway (Shaw’s Plaza) in Randolph from 9 am to 5 pm. We offer primary or booster doses. Come for the health protection, but stay for the fun.

See details below:

  • Gift cards to select stores with every COVID vaccine
  • Food trucks
  • All customers can enter a raffle to win one of many premium prizes

This vaccine location is closing its doors on April 30.

Questions? Call 781-961-0930, ext. 1

MassHealth Members – Don’t Lose Your Health Insurance Coverage!

All members of MassHealth must renew their coverage to make sure they are still eligible and receive the best benefits they can.


If you need help, Codman financial counselors can help!

Stop by Codman Square Health Center or make an appointment by calling 617-822-8271 or request an appointment here for financial/insurance services.

Learn About Health Equity in Massachusetts

Codman is partnering with the Health Equity Compact and Union Capital Boston to host a free virtual network night on Thursday, April 13 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to join!

The Health Equity Compact is a group of more than 50 black and Latinx leaders in Massachusetts working to advance health equity in the state. Attendees at the Network Night will lear about why the compact was created and what it is doing to make measurable change. Bring your questions!


Senator Markey Visits Codman, Calls it the “Platinum Standard”

US Senator Ed Markey visited Codman on February 23 to talk with providers and staff, and to discuss his efforts to make diabetes care more affordable. Several local press attended the event, which featured Codman’s CEO Sandra Cotterell, Codman’s Chief Medical Officer Renee, Crichlow, MD, and Boston Medical Center’s Christian Arbalez, MD, Chief of Emergency Services.

US Senator Markey (center) poses with Chief Medical Officer Renee Crichlow, MD (left), Sandra Parisien, RN, Siiri Bantz, RN, Paulette St. Germain, RN, Janay Sanford, RN, and Mah Weah, MA.

Sen. Markey toured the health center and chatted with staff, asking about their jobs, patients, and work. He talked, laughed, and took photos with many staff members, and was very engaged in learning more about Codman’s services.

Sen. Markey reminisced about his last visit, and said, “In 2018 I said Codman wasthe gold standard of health centers. As I walk around and see the changes, I now say you are the platinum standard.” He continued: “You just keep getting better and better at what you do.”

After Markey’s introductory remarks, he talked about the challenge for many people to afford their medication, specifically insulin for people with diabetes. He pointed out that some people may pay more than $1,000 a month for insulin and added that the scientists who discovered it sold the patents for $1.

Sen. Markey is advocating for legislation that would cap out-of-pocket insulin expenses for those who need the medication.

Dr. Crichlow elaborated on the importance of insulin and its affordability. “It’s not just about the insulin — it’s about getting the insulin to the right people at the right place at the right time,” said Renee Crichlow, Codman Square Chief Medical Officer. “You have to realize equity is putting resources where they’re needed most. “

Dr. Arbalez talked about how, as an emergency room physician, he sees the results of acute illness brought on by inadequate diabetes care. He told the story of a patient who came to the emergency department with severe complications of her disease as a result of not being able to afford medication.

Sen. Markey’s legislation has broad support among many other lawmakers and interest groups.