Click here for a pdf copy of the Fall 2014 CONNECTION Newsletter

Healthy City Fall River Update 

October 29, 2014

Click here to see the 2014-2019 Action Plan

Click here for the new video, "Fed Up on the South Coast"

Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter's office and the Fall River Schools arranged a presentation at the Talbot Middle School on October 28, 2014, entitled "Your Future, Your Decision," The event focused on decisions that every young person has to make to either make good choices, like staying in school, or to make poor choices, such as becoming involved in anti-social or illegal activities. Following an introduction by Principal Jacqueline Francisco and D.A. Sam Sutter, Mayor William Flanagan presented U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz with a citation before her remarks to the students. Other speakers included Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine, Family Service Association Therapeutic Mentor Christian Berrios, and Bristol County Assistant District Attorney and Shannon Grant Prosecutor Michel Cahillane. Click here for the Herald News story. Click here for a 28-minute video and here for more photos and text about the event
Participants in a community-based partnership led by the City of New Bedford Health Department, the Southeastern Health Initiative for Transformation (SHIFT) Program held its First Annual Meeting on October 23, 2014 at the Waterfront Grille in New Bedford.. Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett was welcomed by Mayor Jon Mitchell, each of who congratulated Dr. Brenda Weis, not only for her leadership of the local Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund project but also for the award of National League of Cities funding for the Health Access Kids! Program and the recognition on the part of WebsEdge and the American Public Health Association for New Bedford as a "city on the move." The SHIFT Program partnership includes more than a dozen different clinical, community and municipal partners. Click here for an earlier announcement of the grant. Click here for a 9-minute video of Mayor Mitchell and Commissioner Bartlett's remarks at the Annual Meeting and here for more photos and text.
Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) hosted one of three two-hour state-wide forums covering the Behavioral Health State Health Resource Plan on October 20, 2014 prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). The Department is holding the three sessions to get feedback about access and availability, quality and best practices, and information and data about the provision of behavioral health care across the Commonwealth. Following a presentation on the need for mental health and substance abuse services, Dr. Madeline Biondolillo went on to map where each of those services are available and to show the relative availability per capita. The South Coast Area, including Fall River and New Bedford, was shown to have one of the lowest availability of mental health inpatient beds (18.5 per 100,000), while the same area was shown to have a higher availability of substance abuse treatment beds (23.2 per 100,000). The survey will serve as a baseline for future analysis. Click here for more photos.
Representatives of the Gastón Institute were invited by Kathy Murphy, Community Organizer for United Interfaith Action, to come to Fall River on October 17, 2014 to describe a new grant that they received to address enrollment of non-English-speaking populations in health insurance. Meeting at the First Baptist Church, the group listened to a presentation about "¡Todos Juntos!" by Ana Galeas, Program Manager for the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In addition to Institute Director Dr. Maria Idali Torres, the meeting was also attended by Institute staff Crys Jimenez, Chanel Fields and Christina Brinkerhoff. Representatives of Saint Anne's Hospital Natalia Konarski, Tracy Ibbotson and Jennifer Espinola were also in attendance. Following Dr. Galeas' presentation on outreach into faith-based communities, the group discussed ways of identifying and training people who can become advocates for their own communities. Click here for more photos and text.
Mayor Will Flanagan announced a series of recent improvements to Thomas Chew Park and the Father Kelly Neighborhood on October 17, 2014. Construction at Chew Park is part of an overall Park Improvement Plan that has been a major focal point of this Administration. Through a collaborative effort, which included assistance from YouthBuild Fall River; the baseball field has been given a facelift with the installation of new lighting, freshly painted fences, new dug out benches, as well as sidewalk improvements and a new basketball court. Other parks that have had improvements include Pulaski Park where a new playground was installed, Kennedy Park where basketball courts have been repaired and a new inclusion playground installed, Ruggles Park where new playground equipment was installed, and Maplewood Park where sidewalks, driveways and playgrounds have been repaired. Click here for more photos and text.
Nearly 200 parents, children and providers joined Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard at the Spencer Borden Elementary School in Fall River for a Family Fun Night on October 16, 2014. This program engages students and their parents in some healthy fun while learning about nutrition and a range of community resources that they can access to maintain or improve their health. Participants were offered a session on nutrition by Chef Jessica Williams, a fun workout with Suzanne Ramos and John Root, as well as the chance to speak with representatives of over twenty agencies including BMC HealthNet Plan, Child and Family Services, Citizens for Citizens, MA Department of Children and Families, Early Childhood/Family Community Engagement, Eastside Chiropratic, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, Katie Brown Educational Program, Mass in Motion Fall River, and People Incorporated. Click here for an 24-minute video and here for more photos and text.
Over 6,500 students from all nine of the City's elementary schools, all three of the middle schools, and the two high schools were invited to participate in the International Walk-to-School event on October 8, 2014. Due to early morning showers, some school elected to walk on the 9th or 10th. The event was supported by the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program which promotes healthy alternatives for children and parents in their travel to and from school and educates students, parents and community members on the value of walking and bicycling. "In addition to the many schools that hold an event in October and May, we're pleased that the Doran Elementary School now has a daily Walking School Bus to encourage children to walk every day," stated School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard who helped to organize the events along with school officials. Click here to see a 13-minute video of the walkers at several schools and here for all of the pictures.
International Walk and Bike to School Day became the occasion at the Talbot Innovation Middle School for both students and staff to demonstrate their commitment to biking. Postponed one day from the official date of October 8, 2014, the event became the occasion for School Principal Jacqueline Francisco to bike the ten miles from her home in Dartmouth to the School in Eastern Fall River. She completed the ride on a Specialized carbon frame road bike that she uses for competitive races. Students gathered around her when she arrived at the school to ask questions and to learn more about their Principal's interest in cycling. A number of Middle School students and faculty ride their bikes to the school on most days, including math teacher Ben Coleman and School Safety Officer Jonathan Castro. Click here for a four-minute video of the Principal's arrival at the school and here for more photos and text.
In April, 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) awarded $5 million to the Cities of Chelsea, Fall River and Holyoke for a Greening the Gateway Cities Program that would run until December 2015. On October 4, 2014, over fifty volunteers and staff from the Department of Conservation and Recreation and Fall River Community Maintenance (DCM) gathered at the Mary Ann Wordell Tree Farm on Bay Street to begin the process of planting nearly 50 trees that day. Mary Ann Wordell, Director of the Fall River Street Tree Planting Program (FRSTPP) was on hand with Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator Perry Long to direct the operation. Four teams were assigned different sectors of the Maplewood Neighborhood and went out with FRSTPP tree stewards and DCM crews to plant six to seven trees each where City residents had applied to receive them. The Sandy Beach Neighborhood had 65 trees planted earlier in the year. Click here for a ten-minute video of the event and here for more photos.
Mass in Motion Fall River held its fifth bike helmet give-away, this time at Lower Kennedy Park on October 4, 2014 for children and parents. Officers from the Fall River Police Department fitted children with free helmets donated by the Kivanis Club of Fall River and BMC HealthNet Plan while members of the Fall River Bicycle Committee (Bike Fall River) offered free bicycle tune-ups. Young people also had the opportunity to learn how to ride bicycles safely on a course set up by Erin Reed of MassDot's Safe Routes to School Program. "What we're all about is bicycle safety and making Fall River a bike-friendly city," commented Fall River Mass In Motion Coordinator Julianne Kelly who organized the event. This is one of several opportunities offered over the summer to teach bicycle safety to children. Click here for a three-and-a-half-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event.
The Viveiros Elementary School hosted a Family Fun Night on October 2, 2014 to engage both students and their parents in some healthy fun while learning about nutrition and a range of community resources that they can access to maintain or improve their health. Over 200 participants were offered a talk about food by Saint Anne's Hospital Dietitian Laurie Hammontree, a chance to get moving to music by Mike Ramos and Lindsay Dimano, and the opportunity to talk with representatives of fifteen agencies, including BMC HealthNet, Child and Family Services, the Department of Children and Families, Early Childhood/Family Community Engagement, Fernandes Center for Children, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, HealthFirst Dental Program; Katie Brown Educational Program, Partners for a Healthier Community Soda-free Pledge, People Incorporated, Road to Healing, Saint Anne's Hospital, Southcoast Health, Viveiros PTO and WIC. Click here for a 22-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Bristol Community College (BCC) held its annual Health and Wellness Fair on October 2, 2014, in the Commonwealth Center atrium to expose students and faculty to the large variety of health and wellness resources in the Greater Fall River Area. About twenty-five providers displayed information about their services and gave participants a chance to meet and speak with representatives. Carol Constantine of the BCC health services staff was on hand to welcome participants to the annual event. Organizations represented included BCC Dental Hygiene, the BOLD Coalition, Fall River WIC Program, Fall River Women's Center, Family Service Association, HealthFirst Family Care Center, Family Planning, Fall River Fire Prevention, Fall River Tobacco Control, Food Addicts Anonymous, Partners for a Healthier Community, Seven Hills Behavioral Health, SSTAR Women's Center, and the Southcoast Mobile Van. Click here for a three-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
AHA! Fall River invited people to over thirty venues and events in downtown Fall River on a raw October 2, 2014 evening for the second scheduled event designed to help foster an invigorated arts and culture scene in the City. "We have some of our local restaurants doing healthy food samples throughout the City at the locations where you see the balloons and signs," stated Sandy Dennis, who, along with Donna Winn, organized the event. AHA! Fall River was formed in June 2013 in collaboration with the New Bedford AHA! and the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. AHA! stands for arts, history and architecture. The organization held its first event on June 21, 2013 and has held several events since then in an attempt to mirror the AHA! events in New Bedford. The purpose of the organization is to develop collaborative relationships in order to expand and sustain arts and cultural programming. Click here for a four-minute video & here for more photos and text..
Members of the South Coast Regional Network to End Homelessness (SOCO) had the opportunity to hear from  Massachusetts Department of Housing and Economic Development Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein on October 1, 2014 at their quarterly meeting held at the HealthFirst Family Care Center. The meeting provided the Undersecretary to update the group on statewide efforts to address problems related to homelessness and affordable housing and the current mix of resources available to address the complex web of related issues, including unemployment, medical problems, addictions, mental illness, and poverty. "This is one of our most active regional networks," stated Gornstein, "and It makes a huge difference to us to have such coordination going on." Meetings are co-chaired by Senator Michael Rodrigues and First Citizens Federal Credit Union CEO Peter Muise and coordinated by Regional Coordinator Janet Riccardi out of her office at the Greater Attleboro United Way office. Click here for a 51-minute video and here for more photos.
Greater Fall River Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc. sponsored a day-long Work@Health Training for a small number of local wellness personnel on September 24, 2014. Partners Worksite Wellness Coordinator Angela Bras participated in the Work@Health Training Institute in Baltimore, MD, on April 2nd and 3rd, 2014 to become a certified trainer. A final requirement of the training was that she provide a Work@Health training for a small number of local employers. The program is a comprehensive workplace health training that supports employer worksite health efforts by helping employers develop a skill set and capacity to build or enhance science-based workplace health programs. Now that she has completed the training, she will assist local worksites with creating or expanding worksite wellness programs. Click here for a nine-minute video of the introduction to the training and here for more photos and text.
The Leduc Center for Civic Engagement organized a tour for University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Nursing's new Dean and other faculty members and graduate students to New Bedford and Fall River on September 23, 2014. The tour introduced faculty to some of the principal players in community health and provided the opportunity to begin to explore future collaborations. The Fall River portion of the tour began with a visit to Stanley Street Treatment and Resource's South End Services where Clinic Director Denise Wright and Psychologist Fred Rocco described their service model. Fall River Mass in Motion Coordinator Julianne Kelly then took the group on a half-hour tour of some of the efforts to improve population health through environmental structures including parks and bicycle paths. The group finished their tour at the HealthFirst Family Care Center where CEO Julie Almond and Clinical Manager Linda Medeiros described a new clinical outreach program. Click here for a  video and here for more photos and text.
People Incorporated and the Narrows Center for the Arts teamed up to offer children in downtown Fall River an afternoon of pure fun on September 28, 2014. The second annual Kids-A-Palooza involved six sites from Government Center to the Children's Museum on North Main Street offering arts, crafts, stories, music and just plain fun for dozens of children and parent, all for free. Other participating organizations included the Fall River Public Library, Rua-Dumont-Audet InsuranceFall River YMCA, Greater Fall River Re-Creation and Mechanics Cooperative Bank.  “The families are absolutely loving it. It’s an effort to bring something positive to the community,” People Incorporated Vice-President of Communications Pam O’Neil was quoted as saying in the next day's Herald News. “We have to make that investment.” Patrick Norton, executive director of the Narrows Center for the Arts, called the second annual event “fabulous.”  Click here for the Herald News story and here for more photos and text.
Seven students from the Resiliency Preparatory School (RPS) were hired to be part of a summer production crew that not only provided them employment, but also helped them begin their journey to achieve their dreams. The group bonded with a kayak trip on the Taunton River, five of whom had never been in a kayak. They then spent the summer of 2014 under the direction of videographer Ben Gilbarg using their talents in music, videography, photography, and writing to create a series of videos about their experiences and the proposed Community Wellness Center organized by Greater Fall River Re-Creation. Part of the project involved interviews with various community leaders about Re-Creation and the need for the Center. These youth and others from RPS will do more extensive exploration of the Taunton River and make videos and music to promote those resources to their peers through a recently-received National Park Service / Outdoor Nation Challenge Grant. Click here for a series of seven videos on made by the crew and here for more photos and text.



Healthy City Fall River Update is sent to over 500 participants in Healthy City Fall River, a partnership between the City of Fall River and Partners for a Healthier Community with a mission to improve the health status of all those who live or work in the City of Fall River. For further information about Healthy City Fall River, go to To see all of the web pages describing Healthy City activities, go to In order to send announcements of Healthy City events or to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, contact the Coordinator at Agencies: please add this e-mail address or our fax number (508-324-2429) to your standard media notification list so we can cover your event on the Healthy City Update.