Boston Medical Center, Healthworks Community Fitness Awarded Mayoral Prizes in Primary Care

The annual prizes are awarded to organizations that improve public health.

Mayor Tom Menino with award winners. Photo provided.

Mayor Tom Menino with award winners. Photo provided.

Mayor Tom Menino and Dr. Paula Johnson, chair of the board of the Boston Public Health Commission, honored recipients of the 2013 Mayoral Prize for Innovations in Primary Care at Boston University School of Medicine on Tuesday. There are three categories for the prize: community, workplace, and healthcare. The annual celebration is now in its fourth year and honors a variety of primary care innovations such as improving access to addictions treatment, promoting fitness for low-income women and children, and encouraging employee wellness in the workplace.

“Five years ago we convened a task force of leaders from health care, academia, and the community to create a roadmap for improving Boston’s primary care system, and I couldn’t be more proud of the successes we’ve had since then,” Mayor Menino said in a press release.  “Access to affordable health care is a hot button issue these days, but Boston will continue to be a model for other cities thanks to innovative efforts like those of our award winners.”

Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Office-Based Opioid Treatment program (OBOT) received the Mayoral Prize for Innovations in Primary Care in a healthcare setting for expanding access to addictions treatment. The program is the largest in New England, and provides medication-assisted treatment integrated into primary care. OBOT also works with hard-to-reach patients in a setting that aims to reduce the social stigma that is sometimes associated with substance abuse treatment.

Boston Medical Center’s model relies on physician-supervised nurse care managers and within just one year of opening, a waitlist that exceeded 300 patients was completely eliminated. Patients can now access treatment within one to four weeks of their first contact, and OBOT is available to all patients of BMC regardless of their inability to pay.

Healthworks Community Fitness was recognized with the Mayoral Prize for Innovations in Primary Care in a community-based setting. The non-profit fitness and health education center for women and children has two Dorchester locations with 1,500 members. The fitness center works with doctors that “prescribe” exercise to patients as part of a chronic disease self-management plan. The prescriptions are then “filled” by Healthworks in the form of a free trial membership. More than half of members reported losing weight and feeling more energetic and relaxed as a result of the program.

The Bowdoin Street Health Center received the Mayoral Prize for Innovations in Primary Care in a workplace setting for developing a wellness program for its employees. Created in partnership with the Mayor’s Boston Moves for Health initiative and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the “Bowdoin Street Workplace Wellness Challenge” was a 10-week program designed to help motivate employees to improve their health at work.  Approximately 89 percent of the staff participated in a variety of health initiatives for the program.