Springfield Holyoke Health Alliance for Research and Engagement (SHHARE)
The Springfield/Holyoke Health Alliance for Research and Engagement (SHHARE) began in May 2010 with a forum at UMass Amherst to discuss how the UMass Amherst campus and the Holyoke and Springfield communities could work together to address health issues. A planning committee formed with members from:
- UMass Amherst
- Springfield Department of Health and Human Services
- Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council
- Western Mass Center for Healthy Communities
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health
- UMass-Springfield Partnership
- Live Well Springfield
- Holyoke Community College
The planning committee identified the ways SHHARE differs from other coalitions devoted to health:
- SHHARE is committed to exploring the HISTORY and RELATIONSHIPS in the past between campus and community in order to work together successfully in the future.
- SHHARE is focused on building our relationships with COMMUNITY-BASED PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH (CBPR) as a foundation ensuring mutual respect and goals.
- SHHARE is committed to involving community members at the earliest stages possible in planning events, writing grants, etc.
Since Spring 2010, SHHARE
- Held forums in Holyoke and Springfield with over 100 attendees listening to SHHARE members and community representatives describe their work. These forums have highlighted the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, Gardening the Community and Men of Color Health Awareness, both in Springfield.
- Created a Who’s Who in Public Health in Western MA database.
- Funded 11 internships placed in community health organizations, through a unique “Request for Intern”(RFI).
- Establishing a webpage dedicated to serving the area campuses and the community for publicizing the many community health activities and for creating a database of internships in the region and state.
These new partnerships are providing us all—campus and community—new ways to address health issues through research, grant opportunities, education and dissemination.