Gift Enables Launch of Program Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility for Staff

July 21, 2021

Winchester, MA – Winchester Hospital, Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals and Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) have together received a $1.13 million gift from the Cummings Foundation, a Woburn-based charitable entity funded by Bill and Joyce Cummings of Cummings Properties. Based on the organizations' shared commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, this gift will support the hospitals' efforts to address structural barriers to career advancement – such as training, child care and English proficiency – and provide opportunities for professional growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored issues of disparities and systemic racism, with communities of color experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission, hospitalizations and age-adjusted deaths. Moreover, people of color are represented highly in essential service jobs such as food services, environmental services and housekeeping. While they are critical roles supporting patient care and hospital operations, these roles generally lack career advancement opportunities.

This gift from the Cummings Foundation will enable substantial and sustainable change in establishing a more diverse workforce at every level by creating a pipeline of diverse healthcare workers from local communities. Winchester Hospital, Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals and Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC) will pilot activities aimed at providing a path for advancement, efforts including advanced training for higher-paid essential positions such as sterile processing technicians, certified nurse assistants, phlebotomists, medical assistants and surgical technicians; reimbursement for incidental expenses such as transportation and childcare; and English as Second Language (ESL) instruction. All program elements will be offered at no cost to participating colleagues.

"We are honored and humbled to receive this incredibly generous gift from the Cummings Foundation," said Richard Weiner, MD, president of Winchester Hospital. "The support from the foundation will enhance our ability to provide career-advancing free education, training and other professional development opportunities to hard working individuals in entry-level positions in our hospitals. There is no shortage of need for this type of training, and these resources will support our commitment to address structural barriers to career advancement."

The gift will also support the recruitment and onboarding of a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program manager who will coordinate program activities across Winchester Hospital, Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals and Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC). This individual will play a critical role in promoting and overseeing key program elements across the hospitals.

"We are eager to collaborate with the Cummings Foundation to establish new programming at Beverly and Addison Gilbert Hospitals, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and Winchester Hospital that will provide career advancement pathways into higher-paid positions within our health system," said Juan Fernando Lopera, Beth Israel Lahey Health's inaugural chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer. "As one of the region's largest employers, we can, and must, make a significant impact in dismantling systemic racism by closing the opportunity divide for people of color within our organization and in the communities we serve. We hope this pilot program will serve as a replicable model for other hospitals and institutions both within the health system, and beyond. With its history of social justice and meeting the needs of vulnerable communities, it is no surprise that the Cummings Foundation stepped into this space to provide such critical support."

Learn more about Beth Israel Lahey Health's commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

About Winchester Hospital

Winchester Hospital is a 229-bed facility and leading provider of comprehensive health care services in northwest suburban Boston offering a broad range of surgical specialties, including general, bariatric, urologic, thoracic, otolaryngology (ENT), vascular, and orthopedic surgery. They also deliver care in other areas, including pediatrics, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, oncology, gastroenterology, rehabilitation, radiation oncology, pain management, obstetrics/gynecology and a Level IIB Special Care Nursery.

Winchester Hospital is part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,700 physicians and 39,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.

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Kristina Murray

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