Earned Income Tax Clinic Opens for Season

Each year, Codman partners with the Boston Tax Help Coalition to provide free and specialized tax preparation and filing services for community members. Codman’s Tax Clinic is hosted at our 450 Washington Street location and is available for anyone who qualifies.

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps families with low to moderate income get a tax break. If you qualify, you can use the credit to reduce the taxes you owe – or even increase your tax refund.

You can look here to learn if you qualify, or stop by 450 Washington Street between 4 pm and 8 pm Mondays and Tuesdays or on Saturdays between 9 am and 1 pm. If you qualify, you will need to be able to provide these documents.

The tax clinic is staffed by volunteers who are certified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and can also offer some advice. As preparers get your documents processed, they may be able to assist you with resources about debt collection, housing assistance, immigration, legal services, and more.

At the end of the season, the tax clinic totals up the amount of all the refunds they processed for the community and it is almost more than $2 million! Come on by the tax clinic and get your taxes done for free and (hopefully) enjoy a few extra dollars in your bank account. For questions, contact 617-822-8182.

 

Codman Welcomes Pediatric Optometrist to Eye Care Services

eye doctor examining child

Dr. Bui examines a child

Codman is very happy to offer its young patients the services of our new pediatric optometrist. Dr. Anh Bui, OD, MSc, FAAO, is an optometrist specializing in treating children and their vision disorders. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Bui is an assistant professor at the New England College of Optometry.

As a pediatric optometrist, Dr. Bui is trained to identify issues specific to children’s eyes and vision development and knows how to perform a quality eye exam while being attentive to the needs of the child. Pediatric health experts know that children are not just small adults. They have unique challenges and strengths, and their eyes do too.

“My passion is working with children and watching how they relate to the world through their vision,” says Dr. Bui. “I’m looking forward to meeting the children at Codman and their parents.”

The testing and evaluation methods for assessing vision are different for different ages. What will be an effective process for an adolescent will not work for a baby. Pediatric optometrists have a deep understanding of the development of vision and vision issues, and also take special care to keep the child comfortable.

Pediatric optometrists can keep your child’s eyes and vision healthy by recognizing and treating conditions such as:

  • Nearsightedness (Myopia)
  • Farsightedness (Hyperopia)
  • Astigmatism
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (misaligned or crossed eyes)
  • Eye teaming issues (convergence insufficiency)
  • Eye infections and injuries
  • More

“As an eye care provider, I am committed to ensuring that all of our patients have access to quality eye and vision care and I am thrilled that Dr. Bui provides that service to our pediatric patients,” says Debi Sarma, OD, Codman’s Eye Care Director.

Dr. Anh Bui is at Codman seeing children every Friday. To make an appointment for your child with Dr. Bui, call 617-822-8271 or complete an appointment request form on any page of our website.

 

All of Us Research Program Celebrates 5 Years and Milestone Achievements 

Genomic dataset is one of the most diverse of its kind, integrated with other robust data

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) All of Us Research Program celebrated its five-year anniversary in May of 2023 with the recent expansion of the program’s dataset, which now includes nearly a quarter million whole genome sequences for broad research use. About 45% of the data was donated by people who self-identify with a racial or ethnic group that has been historically underrepresented in medical research. The data expansion provides registered researchers access to one of the world’s largest and most diverse dataset of its kind, paving the way to help advance health equity and uncover health care approaches better tailored to people’s genes, lifestyles, and environments.turned woman looking

Codman Square Health Center is an enrollment partner for All of Us in New England, and has played a critical role in this milestone, working to nurture relationships with diverse participants from throughout the region to ensure strong diversity in the dataset. To date, more than 32,700 participants have joined All of Us in New England. The genomic data is available to approved researchers with information from surveys, physical measurements and biosamples (blood, urine and/or saliva), electronic health records (EHRs), and wearable devices.

Launching in 2018, All of Us set out to build one of the largest, richest, most diverse health datasets of its kind. Thanks to the collective effort of provider organizations like Codman and community partners locally and across the country, the program has moved from promise to progress. In its first five years, All of Us has:

  • Enrolled more than 425,000 core participants across the country, including over 7,700 from Boston Medical and Codman Square Health Centers.
  • Connected over 5,000 researchers from different backgrounds and fields of study to All of Us data, resulting in more than 4,400 ongoing research projects.
  • Shared personalized DNA results with participants, including genetic ancestry and trait results and information about DNA and health. All of Us is the first large research program to give DNA results back to participants.

The All of Us New England team prioritizes efforts to support the program’s philosophy of engaging participants as partners in health research. The New England team strives to provide bi-directional benefit in all manners of engagement with prospective and current participants, ensuring the return of valuable and useful information to those who join All of Us. One of the recent projects to be launched by All of Us New England is the new “Conversations with All of Us” podcast.

The idea to launch a podcast came as a result of direct feedback from the All of Us New England Community Advisory Panel to provide new ways for interested and current participants to get more deeply connected with the program. The podcast explores the evolving world of health research, and the role we can have in creating a healthier future for generations to come. Episodes will cover such topics as diversity in health research; current events and topics being discussed in health; local community partnerships; and research being conducted using All of Us data.

Join All of Us at the Codman Square Health Center

 All Codman Square Health Center staff and patients are invited to join All of Us. Learn more about the program, how you can join as a participant or use the data for your own research by visiting the www.joinallofus/codman.

All of Us New England tables in the Codman lobby Thursdays from 9:00 am -5 00 pm. Team members are available for in-person or zoom presentations on the program.  Contact Cheryl.McCloud Community Engagement Manager, if you are interested in an All of Us presentation.

  • To learn more about All of Us and what to expect when you join as a participant, visit www.joinallofus.org/codman
  • To register for access to All of Us data as an Codman Square Health Center-affiliated investigator, visit https://www.researchallofus.org/register/
  • Visit the Research Hub to view aggregated data of interest, see current research programs using All of Us data and more!

 

Survey Banner for Family Planning Services

Codman Seeks Patient Input to Improve Contraceptive Care

Codman is always looking for ways to provide its patients with the best possible care. We appreciate any feedback from patients, and use it to ensure patients are getting care that is just right for them clinically, socially, and culturally.

Codman is partnering with Upstream USA to ensure that our contraceptive counseling and care is working well for your patients. Upstream USA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to expand opportunity by reducing unplanned pregnancies.

Upstream USA will invite some patients to take a survey about their experiences with family planning services at Codman Square Health Center. It seeks the input of women between the ages of 18 and 44 years old.

This survey is anonymous and voluntary, available in many languages, and takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. Patients who are eligible and complete the survey will receive a $10 e-gift card to thank them for their time.

If patients have any questions about the survey, they can ask their primary care provider or reach out to Upstream USA.

Asthma Group Clinic banner

Young Asthma Patients Welcome to Group Clinic

Breathe Easy!

Codman’s pediatric medical providers have launched a monthly clinic for people 20 years old and younger living with asthma. Parents and families are welcome to attend these clinics to learn and discuss:

  • Asthma symptoms and medications
  • How to identify and reduce asthma triggers
  • Find out about community resources, agencies, and caregivers
  • Get your child’s COVID-19 or flu vaccine

Codman will host these clinics on the second Monday of every month, so join us on Monday, Dec. 11 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Talk to your medical provider or call 617-822-8271 to make an appointment for the Pediatric Asthma Clinic.

2023 Codman Square Health Center Annual Meeting banner

Stream Codman’s Public Annual Meeting (held Thurs., Oct. 5, 2023)

 

Every year, Codman Square Health Center hosts a public meeting to honor individuals and also to share with patients, staff, board, and community members news about the previous year at the health center.

This year, 2023, we held our first annual meeting since before the pandemic … and we could not have been be more excited!

We honored our retiring CEO Sandra Cotterell and the new State Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh (former long-time CEO of BMC).

Stream the Public Annual Meeting here.

Create Your Racism Recovery Plan ad

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 michelle.rue@dorchesterhouse.org.

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.