The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, Inc. recently awarded Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. $9,050 to establish a comprehensive health education program for women. The program will serve female clients in Spectrum’s residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs.

“Treatment alone does not sufficiently address our clients’ health care needs,” said Francoise Elise, author of Spectrum’s grant application. “Many substance abusing women have not seen a health care professional in years and lack a basic understanding of health related issues. This grant will allow us to formalize our health education program for women by drawing upon leading practices in the field.”

After an extensive review, Spectrum selected a specialized health curriculum for women developed by the Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the Center for Health Training and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The curriculum covers a broad range of gender specific topics such as nutrition, hygiene, prevention and high risk behaviors. Under the program, trained Spectrum staff will facilitate group sessions with assistance from selected clients serving as co-leaders.

Spectrum received one of ten new grants made in 2005 from the Foundation’s Activation Fund. The purpose of the Activation Fund is to support creative and innovative approaches to alleviating community health concerns.

Headquartered in Massachusetts, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit substance abuse and mental health treatment provider serving more than 18,000 individuals each year in community and institutional settings across five states.

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