Community needs assessment to inform substance use disorder programming for underserved communities

Client: MassLeague of Community Health Centers
Topic Areas: Behavioral health and substance use; Healthcare delivery systems
Service: Assessment and Planning

Funded by Mass General Brigham (MGB), the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (MassLeague) is developing programming that will increase access to and retention in effective, culturally responsive substance use treatment and recovery services among Black, Latinx, and native or tribal identifying people in Boston.  The Institute for Community Health (ICH) is partnering with MassLeague to design and conduct a comprehensive community needs assessment (CNA) as the first phase of this work to ensure that future programming is developed based on the needs and priorities of the communities of focus as well as best practices and promising models in the field.  Through this collaborative process, ICH and MassLeague will conduct twelve focus groups and twelve stakeholder interviews with community members and partners across a variety of settings and hold site visits and interview patients at community health centers in Boston.  ICH will also conduct a literature review to identify promising or best practices for reaching, engaging, and retaining people of color in substance use treatment and recovery support services.  From these activities we hope to learn what services are needed among these underserved communities, how to remove barriers to access to support from community health centers, and recommendations to improve available services in order to offer more culturally-informed, integrated, and responsive SUD related services  within health center settings.   ICH will review findings across all these data sources, including data collected by the MassLeague, triangulate and synthesize findings, and co-develop recommendations presented in a comprehensive written report.