William James College Awarded $2.4 Million from Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital Community Health Impact Funds

media advisory press release

Three-Year Grant will Fund Behavioral Health Initiative Benefitting Boston Neighborhoods

Newton, MA — William James College (WJC) is the recipient of Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s (BWFH) Community Health Impact Funds in support of its Community Health Workers Pathway Program (CHWPP), which is designed to build linguistic and cultural capacity in the behavioral health paraprofessional workforce. The program will serve four Boston communities and address social determinants of health through language accessibility, digital and financial literacy training, access to childcare and transportation services, and behavioral health career pathways. 

“Congratulations to William James College for securing this remarkable mental and behavioral health funding,” said Tracy Sylven, Mass General Brigham’s Director of Community Health for Brigham and Women’s/Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. “Based on their innovative proposal, we know that they will make a significant impact, and we look forward to finding more ways to collaborate as their program unfolds.”

The BWFH expansion project, part of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, triggered a landmark investment through the Massachusetts Determination of Need (DoN) process. BWFH’s Community Health Impact Funds were awarded to WJC and seven other community-based organizations which proposed community-led, equity-driven initiatives that prioritize mental and behavioral health—including substance use disorders. These initiatives focus on Boston’s Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, and Roslindale neighborhoods.

“The Community Health Workers Pathway Program will help reduce gaps in access to culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral health services and build the capacity of community health workers to support residents as they navigate the often-complex health care system,” said Gina Benjamin, MSW, LICSW, William James College Program Director, Community Health Workers Training Program. “We appreciate BWFH’s generous support and commitment to reducing systemic barriers to accessing mental health services in the Commonwealth.”

Over a three-year period— and with more than $2 million in funding— the CHWPP will establish career pathways to paraprofessional positions in the designated communities for 120 individuals who are underrepresented in the behavioral health workforce, including refugees, immigrants, bilingual and bicultural individuals, first-generation students, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, career changers, and English language learners. Through partnerships with organizations serving the priority populations, the CHWPP will provide language and digital literacy skills, culturally focused behavioral health training, experiential learning opportunities, and employment in community-based organizations to facilitate career mobility and economic stability for participants. In addition, through this timely venture, hundreds of clients living in the targeted communities will have access to high quality behavioral health services.

“This funding will allow the WJC team to expand on our efforts to diversify the behavioral health workforce and reach underserved communities,” said Gemima St. Louis, PhD, Vice President for Workforce Initiatives and Specialty Training at William James College. “We are grateful to BWFH for investing in this essential program, which has the potential to change the lives of the next generation of behavioral health providers, their clients, and the communities that they serve.”


About William James College

Founded in 1974, William James College is an independent, non-profit institution and a leader in educating the next generation of mental health professionals to support the growing and diverse needs of the mental health workforce. Integrating field work with academics, the College prepares students for careers as organizational leaders and behavioral health professionals who are committed to helping the underserved, multicultural populations, children and families, and veterans. William James College alumni can be found making an impact in a variety of settings, including schools, the courts, clinical care facilities, hospitals, the community, and the workplace. To learn more about the College, please visit williamjames.edu.

About Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital

Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, part of the Mass General Brigham Healthcare system, is a 171- bed non-profit, community teaching hospital located in southwest Boston. Founded in 1900, it offers comprehensive medical, surgical, and psychiatric care as well as complete emergency, ambulatory and diagnostic services. For more information, visit www.brighamandwomensfaulkner.org.

About Mass General Brigham

Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic health care system, unifying great minds to solve the hardest problems in medicine for our communities and the world. Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a nonprofit organization committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations with several Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals. For more information, please visit www.massgeneralbrigham.org.


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