COHERE Ribbon Cutting

On Saturday, February 4th, 2023, Tufts Community Health Workers Engaging in Integrated Care (COHERE) celebrated the official launch of its inaugural class with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Tufts University School of Medicine.  

COHERE is a HRSA-funded community health worker training program within the Tufts Center for Health Systems and Policy. COHERE aims to impact health equity by strengthening local health systems and training community members who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to be CHWs. COHERE’s goal is to increase the diversity of CHWs to promote health equity in underserved communities. This ribbon cutting ceremony officially welcomed the inaugural class of trainees into the program, including 44 community members that speak 15 languages in addition to English. Several members of the Tufts University School of Medicine Department of Public Health and Community Medicine gave speeches to welcome the trainees and mark the official beginning of the COHERE training program. 

COHERE Inaugural Class
Photo Credit: Andrew Min, Tufts MD/MPH student

Kim Dong Breen, COHERE Co-Founder and Program Director, kicked off the ceremony by shining a light on community partners, student fellows, and Tufts Faculty involved in the COHERE program. 

Patrick Vivier, Interim Chair of Public Health and Community Medicine, spoke about his experience working in Rhode Island as a pediatrician, investigating lead levels among children. Notably, the block where children lived correlated to whether they had a zero or fifty percent chance of lead poisoning. He lauded programs like COHERE and called for increased diversity to address adversity.  

Left to Right: Kafi Dixon, Stephen Hunter, Kim Dong Breen, Patrick Vivier, Aviva Must, and Fernando Ona
Photo Credit: Andrew Min, Tufts MD/MPH student

Aviva Must, former Dean, expressed excitement at witnessing such a monumental event, and thanked the numerous community partners present for their support and involvement in COHERE. 

Finally, Fernando Ona, COHERE Co-Founder and Associate Director, offered the final speech of the day. He declared, “This is the work,” recognizing the trainees themselves as the change that we want to see in the world.  

Fernando Ona giving his speech.
Photo Credit: Andrew Min, Tufts MD/MPH student

COHERE would not be possible without its community partners, including Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC), Common Good Co-op, Community Action Programs Inter-City Inc., Latino Support Network, and Boston Emergency Medical Services. Kafi Dixon, founder of the Common Good Co-op, and Stephen Hunter, from BCNC, were both present at the event. Pep Vicente, a COHERE CHW Instructor, was also there to partake in the festivities.  

Left to right: Fernando Ona, Patrick Vivier, Stephen Hunter, Kim Dong Breen, Kafi Dixon, Em Buyea, Pep Vicente, Aviva Must, and Amanda Yuan
Photo Credit: Andrew Min, Tufts MD/MPH student

The event closed with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Everyone in attendance was given a piece of the blue ribbon to commemorate the event and its significance. Participants enjoyed cake and cider and the afternoon session of COHERE classes began.  

The COHERE training program is officially underway, and progress is being made towards accomplishing COHERE’s goals of increasing diversity among CHWs and across the healthcare workforce.  

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