CLINIC PARTNER SPOTLIGHT – Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center (Mass.)
MAVEN Project brings specialty care to provider fingertips at Kennedy Community Health
In 1972, seven women living in public housing founded the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center (Kennedy Community Health) to create better access to health care for their community. Since then, the clinic has grown to 10 Massachusetts locations serving more than 32,000 patients.
Roughly nine out of 10 of their patients are low income and one in three are uninsured, and Kennedy Community Health offers everything from primary and urgent care to maternity care, optometry and behavioral health services. Kennedy Community Health also boasts Central Massachusetts’ largest dental practice that accepts MassHealth.
And for the last three years, providers at Kennedy Community Health have benefitted from the support of MAVEN Project’s expert physician volunteers.
“It’s so hard to get our patients in to see a specialist,” shared Pablo I. Hernandez Itriago, M.D., chief medical officer at Kennedy Community Health. “We’re the community’s safety net and with MAVEN Project we can start treatment and be confident in doing so. And MAVEN Project’s mentorship offerings are especially beneficial for our newer providers. Having a mentor can help them adjust in what can be a challenging environment.”
With guidance from MAVEN Project, Dr. Hernandez Itriago was able to reassure a patient who had a cancer history and developed new symptoms that might have signaled a reoccurrence. After connecting with a MAVEN Project volunteer, Dr. Hernandez Itriago confirmed it was not cancer.
“It’s specialty care at our fingertips,” he added. “Providers are supported, patients feel taken care of. It’s a solution that works right away instead of waiting weeks or months to be seen.”
Anna McMahan, M.D., medical director at Kennedy Community Health, uses MAVEN Project frequently to make sense of abnormal lab results or radiology that lands in a grey zone.
“I reach out to MAVEN Project volunteers when I reach the limit of what I know,” Dr. McMahan added. “It’s really wonderful to have an expert clarify what to do next. And their consults are so customized for each case that I know exactly how to counsel the patient. It can take weeks or months for a patient to be seen by a local specialist, and this helps to fill the gap. It’s really a fantastic service.”