Dear BACH Family,
We are delighted to share that as of August 15th, we – Jamiah Tappin and Tamika Francis- were named Interim Co-Directors for Boston Alliance for Community Health. We are pleased for the opportunity to continue towards our mission of building a healthier, more equitable city.
As the Community Health Network Area (CHNA19) for Boston, BACH has historically played an instrumental role in facilitating the allocation of Determination of Need (DoN) funding in partnership with local hospitals and the Department of Public Health. In the last year, guidelines for DoN processes have changed and so has our role. We must change as well. We need to become malleable and shift to meet community needs in real time.
The departure of our former Director of eight years, David Aronstein, has led to an opportunity for our organization to take a deeper look at our existence and ask:
- What is our organization’s work and identity?
- What are our values and what is our ‘new’ place in the public health space in Boston?
- What will our future look like, given our shared mission and external changes?
We are still figuring out the answers to these questions, but it is our love for the work, for our communities, and the potential that we see as an organization that motivates us.
In spite of BACH’s 20-year history, we recognize that our rise to leadership reflects the first non-white, non-male leadership for our organization. As we have seen across the city and country in local elections, this represents an important shift in power structure. Our individual identities and lived experience, knowledge of local and global communities, grassroots and policy level expertise, offers us unique perspective from which to serve and lead in the public health space in Boston.
But we cannot do this alone!
Over the next 6-months, we will lead BACH on a process to focus and realign our efforts, and do the work that’s most relevant to prepare for a changing world-one that is more innovative and resident-centered.
We acknowledge that we have lost some partners, have not served others well, and hope to reconnect and reconcile where possible. Grassroots efforts have not been adequately captured nor uplifted in our work, and we believe that many of the answers we seek can be found with the residents and partners we’ve worked with over the years.
We both share a passion for resident engagement, community organizing, and systems change. We are committed to combating systems of oppression and building meaningful community partnerships for collective and sustainable impact. As reluctant millennials, we’re both creative, risk takers, and innovative, while holding reverence for best practices and the leadership that came before us. Implementing a co-director leadership model is just the first step. As BACH moves forward, we plan to bring more creative thinking to the table.
From this point on, we will be looking to you for support, inspiration and critique. We want to enhance what works, but also explore new opportunities that best serve community.
Together, we can face the challenges ahead.
Tamika R. Francis & Jamiah Tappin