October 29, 2019
Frank Robinson (PhD ’94, Community Health Education) and Cristina Huebner Torres (PhD ’18, Epidemiology), both alumni of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences and members of the SPHHS Community Advisory Board, were named 2019 Healthcare Heroes of Western Massachusetts by BusinessWest and Healthcare News. Robinson received one of two awards in the Lifetime Achievement category, while Huebner Torres received the Innovation in Health and Wellness award. Both were honored at the 3rd Annual Healthcare Heroes Gala held in Springfield, MA in mid-October.
In awarding him with a Lifetime Achievement award, BusinessWest and Healthcare News noted Robinson’s involvement with initiatives ranging from children’s oral health and asthma to food insecurity and population health during the course of a 35-year career that spanned from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services to his current position as vice president of Public Health at Baystate Health.
“Over the years, I have worked in positions that have advanced my specific interest in creating a healthier community and preventing health problems from occurring by giving people what they need,” he says in a BusinessWest profile.
“Dr. Frank Robinson has worked tirelessly over the past 30 years to address public health and health inequities in our city and beyond. He is a recognized leader and a visionary in creating systems that make it easier for people to access needed healthcare services and creating systems in our neighborhoods that make it easier for people to make the healthier choice,” wrote Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno in nomination of Robinson.
Cristina Huebner Torres, the vice president of Research & Population Health for the Caring Health Center (CHC) in Springfield, earned her award in the “Innovation in Healthcare and Wellness” category. BusinessWest and Healthcare News noted that “she has assumed a pivotal leadership role in efforts to not only study the many and persistent social determinants of health — such things as poverty, food insecurity, inadequate housing, crime, lack of transportation, and more — but doing something about them.”
Among her many accomplishments, they note, Huebner Torres has helped develop and administer a number of initiatives designed to improve the overall health and well-being of the generally underserved population that comes to the Caring Health Center, including creation of its Wellness Center.
“After conducting a year and half of focus groups with community and patients, we found that the community was asking for a place where they could engage in group-based exercise, that was cost-free, culturally tailored, taught by someone who was licensed or trained in the area, and located within primary care,” said Huebner Torres in her BusinessWest profile . “All of these initiatives are innovative and successful because of the team at CHC, the community, the patients, partner organizations and investigators, and the funders who have supported our efforts.”