The healthy diversity workgroup is dedicated to investigating the challenges and best practices associated with developing a diverse work force in community agencies through engagement in community action research. Our goal is to develop academic models that investigate the dynamics of diversity in the workplace/workforce and distribute them to our community partners and more broadly to community based agencies.


Supporting our Diverse Healthcare Workforce through Innovative Partnerships, we identified entry-level workers' lack of access to training and development opportunities as one of the primary barriers faced by CHCs for sustaining higher level workforce participation among diverse workers. Our findings are detailed in our 2011 report: Healthy Diversity: Practices that Support Diverse Staffing in Community Health Centers. Some CHCs, however, have been successful in addressing this challenge by developing innovative educational partnerships with colleges, universities, and/or hospitals that can serve as models of workforce development. These partnership models, while seemingly rare, appear to be promising avenues for helping CHCs to diversify their workforces, one of the key elements of providing culturally competent community-based health care.

Funded by: The Society for the Psychology Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Department of Psychology.

Philosophy into Action

As an extension of the previous project, we developed a comprehensive overview of approaches adopted by Massachusetts CHCs to support the educational development of their current multi-cultural, multi-lingual workforce and documented the history, successes, and challenges of 5 particularly successful educational partnerships from the perspectives of both the CHCs and partnering community-based organization, hospital, community college, or university. At the conclusion, we broadly disseminated this information to critical stakeholders who will be able to facilitate further adoption of such programs/partnerships throughout the state.

Funded by: The University of Massachusetts Lowell President’s Office Creative Economy Fund and the UMass Lowell Department of Psychology.

Best Practices in Board Diversity and Board Diversity Training

The city of Lowell is extraordinarily ethnically and culturally diverse. Lowell is also rich with non-profits that greatly benefit the community by providing critical services and enriching arts and cultural opportunities for diverse individuals and families. Yet many of these organizations do not have boards of directors that are representative of their constituents or the city as a whole. Having a board whose demographic composition represents its constituents is more likely to offer perspectives and values that are grounded in the realities of the groups the organization is designed to reach. Research revealed that many of Lowell’s non-profits lack strategies to achieve more diverse and inclusive boards. 

The goals of the project include investigating group and organizational dynamics that enable diverse boards to function effectively and identifying particular challenges in the recruitment and development of board members from diverse ethnic/racial groups. In consultation with the organization Jericho Road, the Healthy Diversity team will assist in designing a board development program called Strengthening Cultural Diversity among Lowell Nonprofit Boards that targets both diverse individuals who are potential new board members and the boards to which they will be appointed. The end of the project will result in the development and implementation of a comprehensive process and outcome evaluation of the Jericho Road training.

Funded By: The University of Massachusetts President's Creative Economy Initiatives Fund

Principal Investigators:
Meg A. Bond, Ph.D. (Psychology, Center for Women & Work)
Robin Toof, Ed.D. (Center for Community Research & Engagement)
Michelle Haynes, Ph.D. (Psychology, Center for Women & Work)
Project Manager: Jaye McLaren, M.A. 

Advisory Group:
Laura Punnett, Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace (CPH-NEW)
Dorcas Grigg-Saito, CEO, Lowell Community Health Center
Mary Leary, Program and Policy Analyst, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
Craig Slatin, Professor, Department of Health & Sustainability; Director, Center for Health Promotion & Research
Angela Nannini, Associate Professor, Department of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Nancy Coan, Executive Director Jericho Road Lowell

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact CWW at 978-934-4380 or email: