July 20, 2019

It’s a New DEAL at Lowell Community Health Center

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Theodore Edson Parker Foundation Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) will soon have the tools to improve diabetes self-management among 100 of its Medicaid patients through our DEAL (Diabetes Education and Access for Life) Program.

In particular, the Parker Foundation grant will support the first phase in development of the Health Center’s Nutrition Resource Center (NRC) to educate and engagement patients in chronic disease self-management, with a focus on uncontrolled diabetes.

“This grant has a special purpose for me. When I was a teenager, I had a friend with diabetes, so I was exposed to a lot of feelings about this particular disease. It was quite astonishing to learn that diabetes affects 13% of Lowell CHC patients. We had to support this project, knowing that it would have such significant impact. It’s very satisfying to support a project with direct benefit on the community,” said Newell Flather, Theodore Edson Parker Foundation President. 

Mirroring a national trend, Type II (sometimes called non-insulin-dependent) Diabetes is a growing issue at Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC), where it affects almost 13% of Health Center patients. People with diabetes are at risk for hypertension, heart disease, and other potentially debilitating chronic conditions. The burden on patients and on the health care system is tremendous. As part of the new Wellforce Care Plan, an Accountable Care Organization, Lowell CHC is committed to significantly improving outcomes for its diabetic patients, in particular lowering A1C levels – which measure average blood sugar levels over a three-month period – to reduce complications from this chronic condition.

“This is a challenge for everyone because diabetes can be difficult to control. It is unrelenting, requiring self-management on a daily, even hour-to-hour basis, watching what you eat, how much exercise you get, and managing medications,” noted Dr. Randi Berkowitz, the Health Center’s chief medical officer. “It also requires knowledge. If you don’t speak the language, have limited literacy, or are simply overwhelmed with life day-to-day, it can easily spin out of control.” 

The NRC, Dr. Berkowitz said, is designed to help patients feel less alone in dealing with their diabetes while providing resources such as transportation, home visits by bi-lingual Community Health Workers, medication management, food vouchers and cooking classes, and culturally appropriate resource guides, all to enhance self-management long-term.

The NRC is scheduled to open in July. It will provide supports for patients like Zalina, for whom the diagnosis of diabetes left her fearful and overwhelmed. She was unsure how to control her blood sugars because anxiety made her eat “whatever I can find,” all day long. For Zelina, that meant mostly processed foods from the corner store. She needed education to maintain healthy blood sugars, emotional supports, and guidance how to obtain and cook nutritious foods on a limited budget. This significant funding from the Parker Foundation will support coordinated, culturally sensitive and timely care to help Zelina and patients like her feel confident about their ability to manage disease and live a full, productive and healthy life.

July 19, 2019

City of Lowell Cooling Stations

Please be aware that due to the upcoming heat wave, the City of Lowell will be setting up a number of cooling stations available to the public.


For more information, and a list of sites, visit the City of Lowell’s website.

July 17, 2019

A Lowell CHC Summer

Later this month, we’ll be bidding a fond farewell to Connor Griffiths, our Communications/Marketing Summer Intern. Since joining us in June, we’ve barely let him catch his breath. Along with assisting with press releases and drafting our communications plan, he has worked on staff announcements and creating content for our TV monitors and Intranet. He has also embraced his role as as our on-call staff photographer, ready at a moment’s notice to document a range of important events, including our incredible Pride Month celebration, and visits from State Senator Edward Kennedy and a representative of the United Nations. He’s also captured staff gatherings and taken part in planning meetings for Teen BLOCK’s Dance 4 Peace XXIV.

“Working here has opened my eyes to so many things,” Connor reflects. “The diversity is incredible. I’ve met so many interesting people and had a front row seat on health topics impacting all of us on a local, regional, and global level.”

Connor attends Cornell University and will graduate in 2021. He is studying Anthropology, with a focus on medical anthropology, and is minoring in Global Health. He has taken coursework in global and public health, medical anthropology, sociology, as well as communications and Spanish. Wow. No wonder he gets what we do. Thank you, Connor!

Since he’s learned so much this summer, we thought it was time we learned more about him. And if you run into him at Espresso Pizza, be sure to say hello! 
10 questions with Connor Griffiths
Where were you born? I was born in Lowell, MA and lived there for a few months before moving to Pepperell, MA, where I have lived ever since.

Your favorite place to visit? Although I have a few favorites, if I had to pick one it would be the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I love hiking and camping and spent most of my summers growing up doing just that in the Whites. 

Your favorite food? Espresso Pizza has been my favorite for as long as I can remember.

What books are you reading this summer? The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Between the World and Me, What The Eyes Don’t See

One word to describe yourself? Passionate

All-time favorite movie? Lady Bird

What’s on your bucket list? Live in another country!

What’s your pet peeve? Being late because of other people

If you’re stranded on an island, what would you bring? My water bottle

Which country would you visit first after college graduation? Armenia