Mass General outreach worker Shannon Lundin (left), helps patients transition from drug addiction to recovery.

Massachusetts General Hospital has received the 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, one of the most esteemed community service honors in health care.

The award, sponsored by The Baxter International Foundation, American Hospital Association (AHA), and Health Research & Educational Trust, was presented to Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Joan Quinlan, vice president for Community Health, on behalf of the organization at the 2016 AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C. on May 3, 2016. Learn more

Each year, a health care organization that provides innovative programs that significantly improve the health and well-being of its community receives this honor. Mass General’s comprehensive initiative to address the opioid epidemic most recently exemplifies this commitment to community care.

Judges evaluate hospital applications based on five main criteria: leadership, commitment, partnerships, breadth and depth of initiatives, and community involvement. Hospitals from across the country apply, and four are invited to be finalists. Seven judges from around the country then make a 2 ½-hour site visit.

Mass General’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic

In a 2013 community health needs assessment conducted by Mass General, the communities of Chelsea, Revere and Charlestown identified substance use, and particularly opioids, as their most pressing health concern. As a result, Mass General developed a comprehensive new clinical initiative designed to transform care for patients with substance use disorders. This initiative, building on long-standing community-based prevention work, became the leading clinical priority of the entire hospital’s strategic plan. Learn more

The new Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) initiative comprises:

  • A specialized inpatient addiction consult service for those patients with SUDs
  • An outpatient “bridge” clinic for those discharged from the hospital needing follow-up care
  • Recovery coaches
  • Enhanced care and treatment at Mass General’s four community health centers, including an increase in the number of physicians “waivered” to prescribe suboxone
  • Enhanced linkages to community-based recovery services

One year later, a multidisciplinary team is in place to consult when hospitalized patients have substance abuse disorders. A team of recovery coaches have been hired to connect patients with addictions services, and connections have been built with community-based providers. New services are also available in the health centers in Chelsea, Revere and Charlestown.

Mass General celebrated receiving one of the most esteemed community service honors in health care, the 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service.

Shown at the American Hospital Association's Annual Meeting, this video highlights Mass General's multifaceted approach to patient care in the community.

Mass General's Community Service Initiatives

Mass General was recognized for the following community service initiatives:


  • Preventing and Reducing Substance Use – Mass General supports Revere CARES, a coalition working to reduce substance use by changing policies and systems. They have been successful in significantly reducing all key indicators of Revere teen substance use
  • Healthy Eating/Active Living (HEAL) – Mass General supports Revere and Chelsea coalitions addressing the obesity epidemic by changing food and physical environment, in turn making healthy food and physical activity easier choices. These coalitions have successfully advocated for walking trails, bike paths, community gardens, improved school food and more


  • STEM: Developing the Assets of Youth – Mass General provides health and science opportunities to almost 1,000 Boston, Chelsea and Revere public school students in grades 3 through college to promote educational attainment and expand career horizons

 Access to Care

  • Addressing Social Determinants/Improving Access for Vulnerable Patients – Community health workers, navigators, home visitors, food security workers and more reduce barriers for patients at MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center. In 2015, the team assisted 3,525 patients in 23,888 encounters on everything from navigating the health care system, to housing, employment, school enrollment, food resources and more
  • Medical Legal Partnership – The Legal Initiative for Children (LINC) at MGH Chelsea is a collaboration between Mass General and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice. The project improves the health and well-being of low-income families of MGH Chelsea pediatric patients and those whose health may be affected by family legal problems. LINC focuses primarily on housing stability and family income, the social determinants of health viewed as most critical to child and family health

Learn More

In 2007, Mass General affirmed its community commitment by adding a strong statement to the hospital’s mission, creating a board committee on community health and holding every clinical chief accountable for community engagement. In 2015, the hospital celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Mass General Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI), founded to collaborate with underserved communities to address social and economic determinants of health, reduce barriers to care for vulnerable populations and promote health equity. CCHI brings together resources and people who address challenging health problems, and promote policy and system change that will foster measurable and sustainable improvement.