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Strong Communities

Mass General is pushing the boundaries of community care.

Since its inception, Massachusetts General Hospital has been deeply committed to caring for communities. In fact, it’s written into our founding documents: “When in distress, every man becomes our neighbor.”

This clarion call is more than a poetic phrase; it’s also a smart strategy for solving the world’s most pressing health care challenges. Time and again, investments in community care and in global and public health have yielded insight that allows Mass General to address complex issues facing our communities, including communities of color and other underrepresented and marginalized populations.

We’re living in an era of troubling inequity, where far too many people in the United States and around the world lack access to health care. Mass General is striving to erase this and many other disparities so that every person has the opportunity to live a healthy life, regardless of race, ethnicity, education level, sexual orientation or income.


Community Health workers at MGH Chelsea

We’re enhancing equity of cancer care.

Despite progress made in recent decades, Black Americans are still far more likely to die of most forms of cancer than any other racial or ethnic group. A contributing problem is the lack of trust and access that results in fewer people of color enrolled in clinical trials. The downstream effects of this disparity can mean that promising cancer therapies are less effective in underrepresented populations.

Mass General is proactively working to ensure that medically underserved populations benefit from the remarkable advances being made in treating cancer.

Members of the Mass General Cancer Center are reaching out to residents of Boston’s communities of color and its most disadvantaged neighborhoods to enroll eligible patients of all backgrounds in a wide range of clinical trials. In addition, Mass General has partnered with Boston Medical Center to bring clinical trials closer to underserved neighborhoods. These are just some of the many ways we’re striving to overcome barriers to equitable cancer care for all.

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Leading the way.

Mass General is the only academic medical center to:

  • Win both of the top community health prizes in the United States: the Foster G. McGaw Prize and the Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement. 
  • Lead global health initiatives across all clinical departments of the hospital.
community health

We’re dedicated to caring for our communities in innovative new ways.

Research shows that 88% of health and well-being is determined by where people live, work and spend time. To maximize wellness in our communities, we must address the social determinants of health — such as race, housing, employment and education — and invest in prevention.

Imagine a future where …

  • We continue to invest in innovative care and solutions for the most difficult community health problems.
  • We expand our partnerships with communities of color and the most disenfranchised communities, at home and abroad.
  • We reduce health inequities and create long-term impact where it’s needed most.

With health equity as our cornerstone, Mass General will continue to redefine an academic medical center’s role in the local and global community.

Deep collaborations across cities and time zones will be central to these efforts.

We seek to make an impact on social determinants of health, gun violence, structural racism, policy, and other complex issues that prevent people everywhere from attaining good health and well-being.

Through this work, we’ll improve the health of families, build healthy futures for youth, decrease the impact of trauma and violence, enhance access to care and deepen community engagement.

Gun reform group

Funding priorities in this area include community programs like the Center for Gun Violence Prevention, expanded community and global health program staff, training for care teams, research exploring the root causes of and interventions for pervasive public health problems, and endowed leadership positions.