Revere is a close-knit coastal city located five miles north of Boston. Community goals include reducing substance abuse and violence, and improving healthy living.
Revere is a rapidly changing community of roughly 56,000 residents. Once made up of primarily Italian-American families, it has diversified into a community comprising approximately 45% Hispanics/Latinos, as well as other racial and ethnic groups including African-Americans, Cambodians, and people of Arabic descent. Over 25% of the population in Revere is foreign-born and rates of English fluency are lower than the state rate. Poverty rates in Revere are nearly double the statewide average, though Revere has been able to prove itself as a determined “community that could.”
Partnering with the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement in the 1990s, Revere mobilized to tackle some of the community’s largest challenges. A broad community coalition, known as Revere CARES, has successfully reduced youth substance abuse rates and worked to change community norms around youth substance use. Revere CARES’ success was recently recognized with the Coalition of the Year Award from the national Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. Other strong community groups, such as the Revere Beach Partnership, have helped to build additional community-based programs, such as the Sea Kayaking Program and the Farmers’ Market. The Revere After-School Partnership has brought after-school programs to all elementary and middle schools and MGH summer jobs to high school students.
To assess previous effectiveness and to identify emerging challenges, the Center for Community Health Improvement conducted a community health assessment in Revere during 2008 to 2009. Data was collected from MassCHIP, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s online data source, and from meetings with MGH Unit Chiefs and key community stakeholders. An eleven-item survey was sent to all health center staff to further determine priority health needs.
Based on the assessment, the following community health improvement goals were identified:
• To reduce and prevent substance abuse and violence among Revere youth
• To promote healthy living by increasing access to healthy, affordable foods and increasing physical activity.
While Revere has achieved some significant improvements in substance abuse indicators, the assessment confirmed that substance abuse continues to be a widespread problem in Revere, with a mortality rate twice the statewide average. Additionally, mortality rates from heart disease, lung cancer, and diabetes are also higher than those of Massachusetts.
In response, MGH and the Revere CARES coalition have developed new strategies to address these health challenges, such as broadening Revere CARES participation and programming to be more representative of Revere’s diverse population. In addition, a Food and Fitness Initiative has been launched by Revere CARES, with its own dedicated staff, task force, and parent advisory committee. An action plan has been developed, and activities such as parks improvements, the development of a walking trail, and the expansion of the farmers’ market.
In addition to addressing Revere’s priority health needs, MGH also works to meet the basic health care needs of the Revere community. From programming for older adults to their adolescent clinic, the MGH Revere HealthCare Center is viewed as an integral part of the community. The HealthCare Center and their staff’s commitment to the community culminates in an annual road race fundraiser that helps to support the Youth Zone program.