From 1997 to 1999, five RWJF-funded projects created an organizational structure to support the planning, development and implementation of collaborative approaches to improving health care access for underserved populations in Worcester County that had been underway since 1995.
The organization, called the Worcester Community Collaborative (WCC), included:
- A site of the Generalist Physician Initiative at the University of Massachusetts (Umass) Medical Center.
- The Workers' Compensation Health Initiative National Program Office.
- Worcester Pipeline Collaborative, a site of the Health Professions Partnership Initiative.
- Worcester Healthcare Outreach Program, a site of Reach Out®: Physicians Initiative to Expand Care to Underserved Americans.
- Elder Service Plan, a site of the Statewide System of Care for the Chronically Ill Elderly in Massachusetts.
The Worcester Community Collaborative undertook five projects involving two or more of these RWJF programs:
- A seminar series for medical and nursing students involved in local free clinics.
- An exploration of opportunities for four Worcester-area HMOs to improve health care access for the uninsured.
- Development of an innovative geriatric residency training program in managed care for the frail elderly.
- A science club targeted at low-income fourth-through-sixth graders and focused on health issues, computers and technology, and science and mathematics.
- A program to educate health care providers and patients at free clinics about eligibility for workers' compensation.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $46,540 to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.