Our Mission Extends Beyond Hospital Walls

Promoting health and wellness beyond our hospital walls is an important part of our mission at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. We take an active role not just in the hospital but the communities we serve, working to improve people’s day-to-day quality of life and our community health. 

We commit financial resources and staff time to a broad range of efforts designed to improve people’s health in our area. At Lahey, it’s what we’ve always done because we’ve always believed it’s the right thing to do. 

Committed to Our Community

We don’t just do business in the area—many of us live here and call it home. We think of you as our neighbors and know that a strong community benefits all of us. The sense of shared values and purpose that results when we team up is what community is about and guides all our work.

That’s why we take an active role in the community. Members of the Lahey team participate and hold leadership positions in the Chamber of Commerce, service clubs such as Rotary International and other local organizations.

Improving Your Health 

In a typical year, we contribute millions of dollars to our surrounding areas to improve community health and access to health care. A significant portion pays for health care for those unable to pay for themselves. With our partners, we also develop and fund innovative community-based programs designed to improve community health and well-being. 

These programs grow out of the community health needs assessments we conduct every three years and our Community Benefits Program addressing the needs that the assessments uncover.

Some of Our Successes 

A sample of what we’ve accomplished in the community in recent years:

  • Delivered “Stop the Bleed Trainings” to more than 900 first responders and area residents, offering life-saving instruction for people who might find themselves at a mass casualty event
  • Partnered with local schools on their Youth Risk Behavior Survey 
  • Provided a SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Everyone) insurance counselor at the Burlington, Arlington and Winchester Councils on Aging
  • Provided sunscreen dispensers to area parks and sports fields

For more information about any of these programs or to see information about all our community benefits programs, please see our community benefits report.

We also regularly participate in community events and fund projects that address the community needs our assessments identify.


You probably wouldn’t believe that a little dancing could change someone’s life—unless you met Marie, Joanne, Pat and some of the other people who attend weekly line dancing sessions at the Wilmington, Mass., Senior Center.

Terri Marciello, Wilmington’s director of elder services, used funds donated by Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s Community Benefit Program to bring yoga, athletic training and line dancing to the seniors in her town. The seniors love it for the socializing and friendships they have formed. Marciello values it for the health benefits that go along with exercise.

“The country line dancing is good because it gets them breathing,” says Marciello. “There is so much movement, they don’t realize they are doing exercise. They are not only moving their legs and arms, they are working their lungs.”

That’s important help to seniors who may be dealing with a chronic condition, such as congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For healthy seniors, like Pat Cagnina, the camaraderie itself is a tonic.

“I’m a widow,” she says. “My husband and I danced all of our lives. We did ballroom dancing, so this is different. I never dreamed I’d like it as well as I have. I love it.”

Cagnina credits the instructor, Sam O’Claire, with taking the time to coach newcomers, ensuring they come back for more. Wednesday is now her favorite day of the week.

“It’s therapeutic. Coming here makes you forget the troubles you have. I’ve met so many friends. I hope to do this as long as my legs can move.”
Marciello points out that, with cities and towns struggling financially, supporting a program like hers would be difficult without Lahey’s Community Benefit Program.

“It’s because of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center that we’re able to offer this complete wellness program,” she says.

The health needs of area youth have been a focus of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s Community Benefits program since its inception in 1995. As programs addressing the needs of children evolved over the years, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center recognized the unique role school nurses play. While often focusing on preventive medicine, school nurses also spend time educating parents and children about illness and helping families cope with health related problems. This could mean anything from assessing the common cold to finding resources for students dealing with allergies or autism, and helping manage those conditions in the school setting.

school nurseLahey contributed $60,979 over the past few years for the planning, development and presentation of continuing education programs and other resources for school nurses. The twice-yearly sessions are designed to help school nurses tackle some of their most challenging situations, with topics chosen from recommendations made by the nurses themselves. In fiscal year 2008, the topic was diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in childhood. Recently, Type 2 diabetes is also increasing among children. According the Kathy Hassey, BA, RN, MSN, MEd, president of MSNO, children newly diagnosed with diabetes used to spend up to two weeks in the hospital. Today, they are back in school within 48 to 72 hours of diagnosis. A lot of diabetes education they and their families require happens in the schools.

At the Mary Rowlandson Elementary School in Lancaster, Mass., Rita Ingrisano, RN, oversees the health program for 500 students. Soon after attending the diabetes program, she was called upon to use the knowledge she had acquired.

“I was able to share the information with the family of a newly diagnosed student and help devise a care plan for the teacher,” she said. “It was a wealth of knowledge and good resources.”

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the number of deaths attributed to domestic violence increased threefold between 2005 and 2007. Statistics like these underline the importance of a health care facility’s responsibility to its community in working to prevent, screen for and address violence.

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center has a long history of working in partnership with local police and community organizations to provide crisis intervention and links to services for victims of domestic violence. Lahey and these partners are committed to alleviating the public health and social problems associated with relationship violence in all forms, including spousal violence and elder abuse.

Lahey’s Domestic Violence Initiative (DVI) includes physician and nonclinical staff from departments such as Gynecology, General Internal Medicine, Social Work and the Emergency Room. Community members include law enforcement representatives and local emergency resource groups.

Lahey contributed more than $35,000 to our partners in the Domestic Violence Initiative in 2009.These funds supported emergency shelter provided by REACH, educational programs for youth, and the Domestic ViolenceServices of Middlesex County.

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s Community Benefits program determined early on that our area’s geriatric population had a need for community-based services. For years, Lahey has offered or supported a variety of programs for neighborhood senior citizens, from weekly discounted meals to free insurance counseling.

In fiscal year 2009, Lahey committed $70,000 to bring health related educational programs to senior citizens in Burlington, Woburn, Billerica, Lexington and Wilmington, Mass. The programs address nutrition, chronic disease self-management and exercise. Data collected at these workshops show self-reported lifestyle improvements and many participants attend sessions multiple times.