Integrating Community Resource Specialists into Care Teams at Brookside CHC

Client: Brookside Community Health Center
Topic Areas: Healthcare delivery systems; Social determinants of health
Services: Participatory Evaluation, Training and Technical Assistance

Brookside Community Health Center (CHC) is a health center licensed by Brigham and Women’s Hospital that provides multi-disciplinary, comprehensive care to more than 11,000 patients from Jamaica Plain and the City of Boston annually. A large majority of Brookside CHC’s patients are Latinx and the health center’s services are provided by bilingual English/Spanish medical and professional staff. In response to the social determinants of health needs among their patient population, Brookside CHC hired two Community Resource Specialists (CRSs) to be embedded within the Medical and Family Services Departments and work with patients on their non-clinical needs, freeing up clinical social workers and psychologists to provide more therapeutic direct care services.

ICH provided technical assistance (TA) to support the program development, implementation, and evaluation. ICH facilitated discussions with the project team to define the CRS role and the associated goals and intended outcomes. These facilitated discussions helped Brookside CHC refine their overall implementation plan and identify necessary trainings and processes to develop. Next, ICH provided TA to help Brookside CHC create a detailed workplan with implementation milestones and metrics to track progress. ICH also developed outcome metrics to track performance, provided TA on gathering feedback from patients and providers about their satisfaction with the integrated CRSs, and facilitated discussions throughout the program implementation period to help Brookside CHC use data to improve the use and effectiveness of the new care team members. Finally, ICH conducted an analysis of the impact of the CRSs on clinic revenue, to help Brookside CHC understand the business case for continuing to fund the CRS role.

With ICH’s TA, Brookside CHC was able to closely track key process and outcome metrics that enabled them to make project adjustments and effectively integrate CRSs into their teams. With the financial analysis provided by ICH, the health center was able to secure funding to retain the CRSs beyond their original funding period.