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Our mission at the Holyoke Health Center is to "Improve the health of our patients through affordable, quality health care and comprehensive community-based programs to create a healthy community."

News & Events

Below you'll find the latest news and events.

Holyoke, MA (April 15, 2022). Holyoke Health Center has received a grant award for $5,000 for Let’s Move Hampden County 5-2-1-0: Removing Barriers to Food Insecurity in Holyoke from the Charles H. Hall Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee. The funding will support the health center’s bilingual coach and resources at the Holyoke Farmer’s Market to engage low-income Hispanic residents and families in nutrition-related activities. The coach will serve as a bridge to both help residents understand and navigate the Farmers' Market and educate market-goers on nutrition, cooking with fresh fruits and vegetables, and incorporating physical activity for a healthier lifestyle.

“The Holyoke Farmer’s Market will open for the summer season in just a few weeks,” said Dr. Vinny Biggs, Physician at Holyoke Health Center and director of Let’s Move Hampden County 5-2-1-0. “Holyoke is a “food desert” and there are very few opportunities for residents to purchase fresh produce. This generous grant from the Charles H. Hall Foundation positions LMHC 5-2-1-0 to help alleviate food insecurity with nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, and subsidized access to nutritious food.”

The Holyoke Farmer’s Market is a collaboration between the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce and the Holyoke Food and Equity Collective to increase food access and spread awareness of food insecurity in Holyoke, MA. The market will be held every Saturday from 11am-3pm from May 22 - October 16 and is located on Race Street, between Dwight St. and Appleton St.



Serving Holyoke, Chicopee, and Westfield MA, Holyoke Health Center has been providing community-based, low cost medical, dental, and pharmaceutical services in both English and Spanish for over 50 years. Let’s Move Hampden County 5-2-1-0 is a coalition of government and community-based organizations working throughout the county to tackle childhood obesity and advocate for healthy lifestyle choices. The partners include: Mass in Motion, the City of Holyoke, Nuestras Raices, Nueva Esperanza, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Holyoke Public Schools, Holyoke Medical Center, WIC, Valley Opportunity Council, Enlace de Familias, Project Bread, Springfield Food Policy, UMass Amherst, UMass Extension, Greater Holyoke YMCA, Sodexo, CISA, One Holyoke, and the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce.

Think about a time when you or a family member were lost or confused on how to do something that affected your daily living. Whether it was learning how to connect with a health care provider, helping take care of a sick family member, or accessing resources to help meet your most basic needs. How did you overcome this challenge? Did someone help you along the way?

In the communities we serve, many families face struggles such as these every day. They may be unaware of how to access and navigate the different resources available to them, while trying to overcome a variety of medical complexities and social barriers.

Here at the Holyoke Health Center, the Community Health Workers (CHWs) are front-line public health outreach workers who have a strong connection to the communities they serve, with an in-depth understanding of the patients’ experiences, culture, language, and needs.

We asked our CHW's to share what it's like to work with our patients in care management:

Yarlene Sanchez

My name is Yarlene Sanchez and I am a Community Health Worker at the Holyoke Health Center. Listening attentively, understanding what the needs are, working effectively to connect patients to resources and ensuring help is on the way, when most in need, is the start of building healthy relationships with the community.

My role consists of connecting our patients to financial assistance resources, transportation services, aiding their food/ housing insecurities, to employment /apartment search, and advocating for their needs. As a bilingual CHW, my role also includes translating for the Spanish speaking community. These are a few of the many other duties a CHW takes up on.

I enjoy knowing and hearing from our patients that because of the support they’ve received through our services, they can now focus on their medical needs to improve their health. It is such a rewarding feeling knowing you played part in their progress.”

Stay tuned for part two of A Day in the Life: Community Health Workers.

Holyoke Health Center has received a grant award for $22,034 through MassDevelopment's Community Health Center Grant Program. The funding will be used for a proposed new parking lot adjacent to the health center buildings to continue to offer free parking for our patients.

"We have had plans on the table for a new parking lot, as we consider it essential to offer free and safe parking to patients in a city that doesn't have many free parking options," said Marlo Connor, Chief Operating Officer at Holyoke Health Center. "we are pleased to have our proposal chosen for MassDevelopment funding, and are eager to start the project," she said.

The health center plans to repair safety hazards on the existing lot, repave the lot, enclose it with fencing, and install parking gates.

MassDevelopment is the state's development finance agency and land bank focused on stimulating economic growth in the region.

Holyoke Health Center was recently awarded $5000 to support the purchase of a digital x-ray sensor and other miscellaneous expenses in our dental clinic from the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust. Andrea Gancarz, Chief Dental Program Officer, expresses her gratitude: “Our heartfelt thanks to the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust for their generous grant support. Their contribution will support our efforts to meet the oral health needs of our community. Thank you.”

The Agnes M. Lindsay Trust provides financial assistance to nonprofit organizations across New England. The trust works to assist organizations that support the wellbeing of underprivileged communities. Past projects include: oral health, special needs, blind, deaf and learning disabled, elderly, children's homes, youth organizations, youth and family services, homeless shelters and many others.

Holyoke Health Center’s Dental department provides adult, pediatric and orthodontic services to the community in five locations. With the help of the Agnes M. Lindsay Trust’s generous grant, the Health Center will be able to purchase an x-ray sensor that is essential in providing patients with oral health diagnosis. With limited x-ray sensors, hygienists must share, which causes an increased wait time for patients and staff and wear and tear on the equipment. The additional sensor will help keep oral health care affordable and attainable for patients who face disparities.

The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers (MassLeague) has awarded Holyoke Health Center (HHC) a grant for $46,000 to both formalize a partnership with Holyoke Community College (HCC) to establish a route for employment for newly-graduated medical assistants and to engage non-clinical staff in training to become medical assistants.

MassLeague is an association that provides support to community-based health centers across Massachusetts. The league assists in workforce development, training and education, support in expanding health access, serves as an information hub to the health care community and much more. 

The program will seek to alleviate the existing shortage of clinically-trained medical assistants to fill critical roles on HHC healthcare teams. Thank you, MassLeague for this generous donation!

The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) recently awarded The Holyoke Health Center a $2,000 grant to purchase equipment and reduce patient wait times. 

“Access to Care Grants, distributed once a year, support programs that provide increased access to oral health care and education for underserved communities. Targeted Grants, distributed on an ongoing basis, finance a specific need for an organization or program that serves vulnerable populations. The following 2022 grant recipients are providing innovative programs and initiatives to those in need.”

The funds will go towards purchasing an x-ray sensor. An additional x-ray will allow the center to increase patient capacity and reduce wait times. We are excited to receive this support from the MDS foundation to be able to expand our care in our Dental facilities.

The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) is dedicated to the professional development of its member dentists through initiatives in education, advocacy, and promotion of the highest professional standards, and championing oral health in the Commonwealth.

NACHC awarded HHC a $32,500 grant to participate in a project to test a pilot QARE (Quality and Access for Reproductive Health Equity) for Teens initiative.

The QARE for Teens initiative goals are to improve access to reproductive health services and education for community health centers.

“With key support from CAI, Inc, QARE for Teens will work with expert researchers and community-based providers to develop an Adolescent Reproductive Health Quality Improvement (ASRH QI) Package.  It will be implemented in several community health centers and evaluated. ASRH QI Package will draw upon existing tools and resources. Although the Package will be designed for quality improvement in community health centers, it may also be useful for other clinical settings that serve adolescents.”

As part of the QARE for Teens initiative, Holyoke Health Center's area of ​​focus will aim to make the pediatric department a more welcoming and accessible environment for adolescent patients. The health center will also work towards improving Trauma Informed Care—an approach that recognizes that a patient is more likely than not to have experienced trauma in their lives.  

HHC’s has a five person team that will work on identifying areas in the clinic that need to be addressed and will work towards identifying improvement strategies based off the tool kits created by NACHC and CAI. The team will meet monthly with NACHC and CAI to report back on what strategies work and what ones do not. The team consists of:

  • Despina Lekakis – Provider Champion
  • Ariel Beckwith – RN Manager
  • Johanna Rizzardini – Clinical support
  • Ann Poole – Senior Administrator
  • Glorimar Irizarry – Quality Improvement Lead  

This 5 month pilot project started this past January and will conclude in May.  

ATTENTION: The Holyoke Health Center and all locations are CLOSED today, Friday 2/4 due to weather.

Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.

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