Massachusetts General Hospital In Boston Receives Prestigious Foster G. Mcgaw Prize For Excellence In Community Service

Press Release


Chicago - January 19, 2016

Finalists from Appleton, Wisconsin; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Napa, California, also Recognized

In honor of its broad-based efforts to partner with underserved local communities to improve health, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is the recipient of the 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, one of the most esteemed community service honors in healthcare. These efforts are most recently exemplified by MGH's comprehensive initiative to address the state's opioid epidemic, as well as programs targeting obesity and improving access to healthcare for the state's most vulnerable populations.

Each year, this $100,000 prize is awarded to a healthcare organization that provides innovative programs that significantly improve the health and well-being of its community. The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by The Baxter International Foundation, and the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Research & Educational Trust. This year marks the award's 30th anniversary.

Named as finalists for this year's award and receiving $10,000 each are ThedaCare in Appleton, Wisconsin; Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and St. Joseph Health, Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California.

"Massachusetts General Hospital has spent the past 20 years building highly engaged partnerships with communities," said John O'Brien, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee. "They are dedicated to addressing social and economic determinants of health, reducing barriers to care for vulnerable populations, and promoting health equity."

In a 2013 community health needs assessment conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the communities of Chelsea, Revere and Charlestown identified substance use, and particularly opioids, as their most pressing health concern. As a result, MGH developed a comprehensive new clinical initiative designed to transform care for patients with substance use disorders. This initiative, building on long-standing community-based prevention work, became the leading clinical priority of the entire hospital's strategic plan, the first time in MGH's history that the community directly influenced the hospital's clinical agenda.

"Massachusetts General Hospital is deeply honored to receive this esteemed Foster G. McGaw Prize from the American Hospital Association and the Baxter International Foundation in recognition of our work to partner with local communities to address social determinants of health and to fully integrate community health into the hospital’s patient care, teaching and research missions," said Peter Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Massachusetts General Hospital is a 1,000-bed tertiary care hospital for those throughout Eastern Massachusetts, annually admitting 48,000 inpatients and facilitating nearly 1.5 million outpatient visits at its main campus, and another 290,000 at its comprehensive community health centers in the low-income communities of Charlestown, Chelsea and Revere. MGH has the largest hospital-based research program in the country, and is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. With approximately 26,000 employees, it is the largest private employer in Boston. This year, the hospital is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI), founded to collaborate with underserved communities to address social and economic determinants of health, reduce barriers to care for vulnerable populations and promote heath equity.

In addition to its substance use prevention and treatment work, MGH was recognized for the following innovative community service initiatives:

  • Healthy Chelsea and Revere on the Move (ROTM) - These citywide, multi-sector coalitions are dedicated to partnering with communities to change the food and physical environments so that healthy choices about eating and active living are easier to make. ROTM worked with the City of Revere to create a bicycle network, partnered with WalkBoston to build a 1.8-mile walking trail, and provided mini-grants for the development of a community-wide garden, while Healthy Chelsea and Chelsea's Board of Health led the successful passage in 2013 of a ban on artificial trans fats in food service establishments, the only regulation in the country at that time that totally banned trans fats.
  • Improving Access for Vulnerable Populations - For 15 years, an initiative at MGH Chelsea has aided refugees from countries such as Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq and Bhutan, many of whom have experienced trauma, violence and war. Last year, staff completed 107 Refugee Health Assessments, and 95 percent of all new refugees were connected to primary care within 30 days. The program also supports the urgent needs of newly-arrived immigrants, serving nearly 1,000 refugees and immigrants in 2014.

"The Foster G. McGaw Prize recognizes health care organizations that serve as role models for improving the health and well-being of the people in their communities," said O'Brien. "This year's winner and finalists offer a broad spectrum of programs to improve population health in their specific communities. Their outstanding leadership and collaboration serve to improve physical and behavioral health - as well as address social determinants of health - and thus make a positive difference in people's lives."

2015 Finalists

Three Foster G. McGaw Prize finalists were also recognized for their significant accomplishments in community service. Each received a $10,000 prize:

  • ThedaCare in Appleton, Wis., for its innovative leadership role in providing access to healthcare for those in need and addressing systemic causes of health problems such as poverty, violence, access to mental health care and obesity.
  • Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine in Lancaster, Penn., for establishing numerous countywide coalitions that focus on improving health at the individual, family, community and workplace levels, and working strategically with community partners to implement systems and environmental solutions that ensure lasting change. 
  • St. Joseph Health, Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Calif., for serving as a catalyst in promoting and safeguarding the health of its community.


Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $760 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In July 2015, MGH returned into the number one spot on the 2015-16 U.S. News & World Report list of "America's Best Hospitals." For more information, visit

The Foster G. McGaw Prize, celebrating 30 years of honoring excellence in community service, recognizes healthcare organizations that are committed to community service through a range of programs that demonstrate a passion and continuous commitment to making communities healthier and more vital. The prize, first awarded in 1986, inspires hospitals, health systems and communities to assess and implement programs that improve their communities. For more information, visit

The American Hospital Association is a not-for-profit association of healthcare provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information visit

Founded in 1944, the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) is a private, not-for-profit organization involved in research, education and demonstration programs addressing health management and policy issues. An affiliate of the American Hospital Association, HRET collaborates with healthcare, government, academic, business and community organizations across the United States to conduct research and disseminate findings that shape the future of healthcare. For more information about HRET, visit

The Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc., helps organizations increase access to healthcare in the United States and around the world. The foundation, established in 1981, focuses exclusively on increasing access to healthcare particularly for the disadvantaged and underserved in communities where Baxter employees live and work. For more information, visit