Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) is an integrated healthcare system serving Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston's metro-north communities. It has three hospital campuses - Cambridge Hospital, Somerville Hospital, and Whidden Hospital – fifteen primary care practices, a three-site Emergency Department, and a wide range of behavioral health and specialty services, all operating under one hospital license.
Known as a national leader in culturally-competent care, CHA serves a diverse, multicultural, and underserved patient population, placing a special emphasis on prevention and wellness. In 2010 it was named "Best in Class" for Culturally and Linguistically Competent Care by the AHA Institute for Diversity. It was also named to the Harvard Pilgrim Hospital and Pediatric Honor Rolls for quality of care.
Cambridge Health Alliance hosts more than 15 clinical training programs, including ACGME-accredited programs in Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, Occupational Medicine, Dentistry, and the Tufts University Family Medicine Residency.
Clinical Research and Trials
Many CHA Alliance faculty and staff are involved in research, most extensively in the Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry. Much of this work involves health policy, the evaluation of health services, disparities in care, and quality improvements. Staff are also engaged in numerous clinical trials.
Three key research centers based at CHA are the Institute for Community Health (ICH), the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research (CMMHR), and the Division of Social Medicine (DSM).
- The ICH works to advance community health research, promote community health education and training, develop community action programs and policy, and forge linkages among heath care systems, community partners and academic institutions. Full details at http://www.icommunityhealth.org/
- The CMMHR conducts vital research to understand ethnic and racial disparities to inform policy, practice and delivery of mental health services. Current center projects include multi-year studies funded by NIH, NIMH, NCMHD, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Full details at http://www.multiculturalmentalhealth.org/
The faculty within the DSM are constantly evaluating the healthcare industry and healthcare policy to improve the delivery of care and advocate for the underserved. Over the past year their work has
- transcended academics, influenced national policy decisions, and permeated popular culture. Key highlights from 2010 include:
o A study which showed that life and health insurance companies are major investors in the fast food industry. Initially published in the American Journal of Public Health, this research was touted by CNN, the Wall Street Journal, all four major networks, and many other venues.
o A study that indicated that Medicaid recipients and the uninsured get substandard migraine care. Initially published in Neurology, this research was profiled online in Time Magazine, Boston.com, and dozens of health-related and local news outlets.
o A study showing that the majority of drug studies fail to directly compare effectiveness of available treatments, the first formal investigation of drug analyses. Originally published in JAMA, it was covered by Scientific American, Newsweek, and the Huffington Post.
o A study that identified that low breastfeeding rates cost the US healthcare system $13 billion annually. Originally published in Pediatrics, this was covered by all major news outlets and was cited by the US Surgeon General in calling for increased breastfeeding by new mothers.