What’s the secret behind the success of The Greater Lowell Health Alliance?
The 3 visionary, determined women at the helm.
We couldn’t ask for better partners in caring for Lowell.
For Kerrie D’Entremont, Executive Director of the GLHA, every day is a new opportunity to say yes.
“That’s the excitement of what we do – we are extremely adaptive. Nothing is off the table.”
Amanda, Hannah, and Kerrie (left to right) of the GLHA show off their mask-free smiles pre-COVID.
Since 2006, when the GLHA was founded with financial support from Lowell General Hospital, the organization has brought together healthcare providers, business leaders, and community members with one common goal: improving the health of Greater Lowell.
Under Kerrie’s leadership, the organization has thrived by embracing partnership, community engagement, and an “upstream” way of thinking – treating the source vs. the symptoms.
“With the Alliance, it’s really about engaging with everyone,” Kerrie shares. “Being able to create change in our own community – it’s powerful.”
Kerrie may hail from the Berkshires, but she felt right at home from the moment she set foot on the Umass Lowell campus. From an early age, witnessing her father’s own medical struggles, she knew she wanted to work to build healthier communities.
An internship at the American Lung Association led her into policy work, and eventually positions leading tobacco control initiatives. Those roles revealed her knack for coalition building – and made her the perfect fit to take the helm of the GLHA 7 years ago.
Right off the bat, Kerrie took a systematic approach to understanding the needs in the community, and the organizations already working to meet those needs, including the Health Center.
“We have a very similar mission,” Kerrie says. “A lot of the work being done by the GLHA has been done with Lowell CHC right by our side.”
By addressing health needs that fall outside of the exam room – through programs like training for Community Health Workers and Medical Interpreters – the Health Center can put the Alliance’s “upstream” model into action.
“We’re constantly fine-tuning the community’s needs, and how to fulfill them,” adds Amanda Clermont, GLHA’s Community Engagement Coordinator.
“Partnering with the Health Center, we are able to see the direct impact of why we show up every day.”
Born and raised in Lowell, Amanda always imagined a career in journalism or public relations, working for a Boston ad agency. An internship at Lowell General Hospital changed all that. She eventually joined the Hospital’s Center for Community Health and Wellness and was hooked on the collaborative atmosphere.
“I love engaging with other people, working with groups. The relationships, outreach, making sure the messaging gets out.”
As Amanda’s community involvement grew and she began to better understand the GLHA’s role, she jumped at the chance to join the organization several years later.
Hannah Tello is the latest of the trio to join to the GLHA team – combining academics with activism. Growing up, Hannah was inspired by her parents, who were psychiatric nurses by day, protestors for social justice by night.
Looking for ways to combat systemic inequity, Hannah was drawn to teaching, but quickly realized there were so many more barriers her students faced. She went on to get additional degrees, including her PhD in Applied Psychology and Prevention Science.
Along the way, she worked at the Health Center for several years in TeenBLOCK, our free after-school youth development program.
“Public health is really hard to do without social justice,” Hannah says. “I consider the Health Center to be a crown jewel of both. I was really proud to work there every day.”
Now, as the Community Health Data Manager at the GLHA, she’s spearheading initiatives like the Greater Lowell Health Assessment, which led to CHIP (Community Health Improvement Plan), a roadmap for improving the long-term health of our City.
Together, the GLHA team is aligning data with determination to address some of our community’s biggest challenges. We couldn’t be prouder to have our employees serve on a number of tasks forces and recently, our very CEO Susan Levine was named Board Chair. Their partnership on the community roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine has been invaluable.
“I can’t imagine how hard our work would be without the Health Center,” Hannah insists.
“It’s not just about health, it’s about meeting disparities, improving equity. All of that work is for naught unless we have a place like the Health Center to execute it.”