Infographic: Tips for Designing an Inclusive Interprofessional ECHO

In partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CMC CoIIN team at the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health has released the first in a series of infographics sharing learnings from their work addressing the immediate impact that COVID-19 has on children with medical complexity. 

The project is an “ECHO” (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), meaning it follows an evidence-based, collaborative model for medical education and peer mentoring that extends the reach of specialty care through group learning and discussion. Its goal is to build capacity for providers and interprofessional teams caring for children with medical complexity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out their first infographic for tips on creating an inclusive space within an ECHO, and the benefits of inclusivity in the learning space: 

View Infographic


The Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Advance Care for Children with Medical Complexity (CMC CoIIN) is an HRSA-funded project that aims to improve the quality of life for children with medically complex conditions and their families, and increase the cost-effectiveness of their care. The project is housed at the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health (CISWH) at Boston University School of Social Work.

For more information on this interprofessional ECHO, please visit the CMC CoIIN ECHO webpage or reach out to Ben Plant at [email protected].

12/8: Social Work, Health Equity and Civic Health Engagement

CISWH Health Equity Speaker Series
Co-sponsored by Vot-ER
Wednesday, December 8 | 5:30–7:00 pm ET


Watch the Recording:

Social Work, Health Equity & Civic Engagemt from CISWH on Vimeo


In the U.S., political determinants of health include voting, government, and policy. But national healthcare policies have not been reflective of our changing population, and elected leadership and policy lack real diversity. To address this, social work and healthcare professionals have joined forces to promote the importance of civic health engagement through voter registration – deemed a social determinant of health. Encouraging and engaging individuals to get involved and make their voices heard in the decision-making behind healthcare policies will lead to healthier communities nationwide. If we are to help create health equity for all, we also need to galvanize social workers and healthcare professionals to explore how they can impact healthcare policy. This event is a forum to help us achieve that goal.


Alister Martin, MD, MPP

Founder of Vot-ER, White House Fellow (2021-2022)



Justin D. Hodge, LMSW

Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work at University of Michigan



Kathryn Audette, MSW

Director of Government Affairs, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Board Member, ACLU-MA; Lecturer, BUSSW



Eleanor Zambrano, LICSW (moderator)

Executive Director at CISWH




  • 5:30 pm: Welcome remarks by Eleanor Zambrano, executive director of CISWH 
  • 5:36 pm: Kathryn Audette presents
  • 5:50 pm: Alister Martin presents
  • 6:06 pm: Justin D. Hodge presents
  • 6:20 pm: Q&A with moderator & panelists
  • 6:25 pm: Q&A with Zoom audience
  • 6:55 pm: Closing remarks by moderator

Continuing Education Credit Info:

1.5 national continuing education credits (free) are available to social workers licensed in the United States after the completion of a brief post-event quiz. The event will provide intermediate-level content and must be attended live in order to receive CE credits.  If you would like to receive credits, please provide your license number during registration. The post-event quiz will be included in the registration confirmation email and in a reminder email on the day of the event. Applicants will need a score of 70% or higher to receive the CE certificate, which will be sent via email. Questions? Contact [email protected].

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain the connection between voting and health outcomes.
  2. Show examples of real-world successes, lessons learned, or relevant research to guide people working to develop new policy and/or policy changes to address health disparities.
  3. Describe the context people need to understand when advocating for policy change in healthcare and public health


Boston University strives to be accessible, inclusive, and diverse in its facilities, programming, and academic offerings. Your experience in this event is important to us. If you have a disability (including but not limited to learning or attention, mental health, concussion, vision, mobility, hearing, physical or other health-related issues), requiring communication access services for the deaf or hard of hearing, or believe that you require a reasonable accommodation for another reason, please contact the event organizer at [email protected] to discuss your needs.

Catalyst Center Outlines Opportunities for Medicaid & Title V to Collaborate to Support Children & Youth with Special Health Care Needs

In much of the United States, Medicaid managed care and state-level Title V programs play important and distinct roles in the system of services for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN). At their best, the programs can improve the quality and efficiency of health care delivery, lower costs for families, and strengthen overall support for CYSHCN. But in order to achieve this, Medicaid agencies, Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs), and state Title V programs must work collaboratively.

In partnership with the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), the Catalyst Center Project at the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health (CISWH) at Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) has released a mini-brief outlining strategies and considerations on how building partnerships across agencies can reduce duplication of services, improve care coordination efforts, and meet more of the physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and socioeconomic needs of CYSHCN and their families.

Read the Brief

The Catalyst Center is an HRSA-funded project housed at The Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health at BUSSW. The project works to promote universal, continuous, and affordable coverage for all CYSHCN; to close benefit and financing gaps; promote payment for additional services; and to build sustainable capacity to promote financing of care.


10/22: CISWH’s CMC CoIIN Team Shares Expertise on Caring for Children with Medical Complexity and Impacts of Racism and Ableism

At the upcoming conference Putting Care at the Center 2021, the CMC CoIIN team from the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health (CISWH) at BU School of Social Work will present two sessions exploring innovations and barriers in care delivery for children with medical complexity.

The Category of Us: Racism and Ableism’s Impact on Families with Children with Medical Complexity

Friday, October 22, 2021

12:45–1:30 p.m. ET

Caring for children with medical complexity is challenging for families, and the challenge is compounded when facing discrimination. Hear from a parent advocate about her family’s experience at the intersection of ableism and racism. Another parent advocate and Principal Investigator of the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Advance Care for Children with Medical Complexity (CMC CoIIN) discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequities for children with medical complexity. This session will give all a chance to share and hear stories that will make care for people with complex conditions a more just and equitable sphere.


Action-Oriented Tools to Build Family Trust for Improved Care for Children with Medical Complexity

Friday, October 22, 2021

2:50–3:35 p.m. ET

In this session, participants of many different backgrounds — including clinical staff, administrators, family leaders, and consumers — will learn about building trust between interdisciplinary teams and children with medical complexity and their families. Presenters will introduce two action-oriented, consumer-led tools to build trust at individual and systems levels: family focus groups and the Family Engagement in Systems Assessment Tool (FESAT). For families of children with medical complexity who have experienced trauma, seeing systems-level transformation and improvement actively builds trust over time and ultimately promotes healing.


CMC CoIIN – the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Advance Care for Children with Medical Complexity – is an HRSA-funded project that aims to improve the quality of life for children with medically complex conditions, improve the well-being of their families, and increase the cost-effectiveness of their care. 

Putting Care at the Center is hosted by the Camden Coalition’s National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs and will be held online on October 20-22, 2021. To attend the CMC CoIIN team’s conference sessions, please register for the conference.

You can find descriptions of the sessions and additional details in the conference agenda.

Learn more about CMC CoIIN

Access and Anti-Racism in Opioid Treatment: What Cities Need Now – Webinar, 10/13

In many communities across the country, opioid overdose deaths have continued to rise and new research shows overdose mortality rates are rising dramatically faster among Blacks than whites in multiple states, and now exceed that of whites in Ohio. How can cities address systemic barriers to opioid treatment? Which barriers endure and for whom?

The BU Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health (CISWH) and the BU Initiative on Cities (IOC) hosted community leaders, policy advocates and research experts for a discussion on how to decentralize, destigmatize and improve equity in treatment delivery.

Watch the recording:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 | 4–5 PM ET

Featured Speakers:

  • Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio
  • Drew Carpenter, Recovery Support Navigator/Substance Use Counselor, Complex Care Program, Bay Cove Human Services
  • Miriam Komaromy, Medical Director, Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center
  • David L. Rosenbloom, BU School of Public Health
  • Moderated by Christina Lee, Research Core Director at CISWH, Associate Professor, BU School of Social Work

CISWH Promotes Civic Health with Vot-ER

As Civic Health Month in August wraps up, the Center for Innovation for Social Work and Health (CISWH) at BUSSW continues to collaborate with Vot-ER, a national nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, to address social work leadership in healthcare and promote civic health engagement. The partnership is focused on the education, practice, and training of social workers nationwide to be leaders in health equity and civic health engagement. 

The COVID-19 pandemic bared the ugly truth about the inequities in our country, especially as it relates to the health of individuals and certain communities in our country. Long before health authorities cast COVID-19 as a pandemic of the unvaccinated, the crisis illuminated the fragility of life for those families without stable housing, adequate food, or ready access to health care,” stated Eleanor Zambrano, executive director of CISWH, and Kristina Whiton-O’Brien (SSW’95), director of partnerships for Vot-ER. 

“Civic health engagement means we all participate in the decision-making process that shapes the health and social policy systems that impact us all. If a community has strong civic health, it can be more resilient in times of crisis,” they continued. 

Social Work & Civic Health

Social workers are stewards in healthcare and focus on addressing the social complexities of health. The field’s principles focus on self-determination and building bridges for communities and health. By taking an active role in promoting civic health engagement, social workers can directly reduce health disparities in U.S. communities. Research has shown that communities with strong civic health experience higher life expectancies, better employment rates, improved schools and revitalized neighborhoods.

Taking Action

In their article, the leaders made clear that “right now, we have an opportunity, and a critical window of time, to rethink how we tackle social factors that influence health — from employment to housing — before the next global emergency strikes. Doctors, nurses, social workers, and other care providers are perfectly positioned to help patients take a key step in uplifting their own health through voter registration. We are calling on all health care professionals nationwide to take an active role in registering your patients to vote.”

Increasing voter registration rates increases community connections, involvement in problem-solving, and participation in decision-making. It gives patients a voice in shaping the policies that drive inequities and health disparities. Massachusetts has more than 27,000 physicians, more than 150,000 licensed nurses, and almost 30,000 social workers – meaning increased voter registration in Massachusetts alone has the potential to make significant change in communities throughout the state.

As part of the partnership, student fellow Victoria Brown (MPH/MSW) is working on a new pilot of Vot-ER’s Health Democracy Campaign, that will replicate the national competition and challenge social work schools to register the most voters during National Civic Health Month. 

Voting and civic health engagement are just two non-partisan tools providers can use to uplift communities, improve the wellness of all people, and promote community involvement in future decision-making after the devastation of a global pandemic. 

The CISWH/Vot-ER partnership also includes:

  • A national strategic planning group focused on educating and training social workers about civic health engagement
  • National events focused on social work, public health, and civic health engagement
  • A communications strategy to build a national audience
  • Identification of funding sources to build stronger partnerships nationwide and increase research opportunities


Partnership  Stakeholders

  • Allister Martin, MD, MPP, Harvard Medical School, Founder at Vot-ER
  • Kristina Whiton-O’Brien, MSW, Director of Partnerships at Vot-ER
  • Jorge Delva, Dean, BUSSW; Director, CISWH
  • Eleanor Zambrano, Executive Director, CISWH
  • Geoffrey Wilkinson, Leadership Core Director, CISWH
  • The University of Connecticut School of Social Work
  • The University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • The University of Missouri at Kansas City
  • St. Ambrose University-Iowa

New HRSA Funding Awarded to CMC CoIIN Project to Improve Care Delivery for Children with Medical Complexity

The CMC CoIIN project at the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health (CISWH) has received an $830,000 supplemental funding award from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), allowing the project team to continue its innovation in care delivery for children with medical complexity (CMC) for an additional year.

The project is one of six currently funded by the HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau that address complex health problems through wide-ranging, interdisciplinary teams called “CoIINs” – Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Networks. The primary goal of the CMC CoIIN project is to improve the quality of life for children with medically complex conditions. In addition, the project aims to increase the cost-effectiveness of their care and improve the well-being of their families.

Since HRSA initially funded the project in 2017, the team has developed and implemented numerous novel care delivery strategies, ranging from implementing a multi-specialty integrated service delivery system in Texas to developing a complex care resource team in Indiana.

The CMC CoIIN project team is led by Principal Investigator Meg Comeau, a nationally recognized expert on health care financing policy for children with special health care needs. The team also includes project directors Bethlyn Vergo Houlihan (SSW’00, SPH’02) and Jessica Flaherty; program managers Libbi Ethier and Ben Plant; and Boston University faculty members Professor Randall Ellis of the Department of Economics and Professor Christopher Louis of BU School of Public Health. Federal, state and local leaders also play an important role. The project has ten interdisciplinary state teams which span across the U.S., and in total, more than 200 individuals have contributed to the project.

Having initially launched as a four-year project, CMC CoIIN will now receive funding through July 31, 2022.

The project is based at the Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health, a research center at Boston University School of Social Work dedicated to expanding the impact of social work in health care and public health in order to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations nationally and globally.

For more information, visit the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Advance Care of Children with Medical Complexity project page.