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Over 100 researchers, clinicians, policymakers, immigrant leaders, and advocates gathered in Cambridge and virtually on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, for our Spring event, “Power in Listening.”

Scroll through to experience Power in Listening: LZC Spring Event 2023!

Hover over the photo and click on the right arrow below to see more photos. Photo credits: Shanyin Yang.

Over 100 researchers, clinicians, policymakers, immigrant leaders, and advocates gathered in Cambridge and virtually on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, for “Power in Listening,” a celebration of the first year of the Leah Zallman Center for Immigrant Health Research (LZC), a center at the Institute for Community Health (ICH). The Center’s mission is to partner with immigrant communities, advocates, policymakers, and social and health systems on actionable research to improve immigrant health and well-being. The Leah Zallman Center launched in February 2022 in honor of the late Dr. Leah Zallman, a highly respected physician and researcher who passed away tragically and suddenly in 2020.

The event engaged immigrant artists Leslie Condon, Mimi Wankenne, and Sanika Phawde, demonstrating the vital role that arts and culture play in immigrant health. The Leah Zallman Center partnered with the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts to host the event in its historic building in Cambridge. Five immigrant-owned catering businesses provided delicious breakfast foods from China (Dumpling Daughter), India (Guru the Caterer), Italy (LaCascia’s Bakery & Deli), Mexico (Tex Mex Eats), and Peru (Chiqui’s Kitchen).

María Rosario González Albuixech, Director of Communications and Immigrant Health at Health Care For All emceed, saying,

Traditional research thinks about access to medical care, which is very important, but when you talk about immigrant health with our communities, we think about holistic well-being, including transportation, housing, emotional well-being, and cultural connectedness. That’s the difference about the Leah Zallman Center–they are bringing community back into research.

Marcony Almeida-Barros, Deputy Chief of Staff for Access and Engagement for Governor Maura Healey, spoke to everyone about his path as an immigrant to where he is today, and said,

We’ve seen an improvement in immigrant healthcare access, but we have a long way to go. Health disparities during COVID reminded us of that. We have lots of research and work to do to inform action, not only in government, but with the private sector, nonprofits, and community members.

Attendees were guided by expert roundtable hosts through a participatory event-wide dialogue on topics such as language access in healthcare, mental health, food justice, and policy priorities. The Leah Zallman Center will take the results of these conversations and use them to inform the Center’s research going forward. Dr. Jessica Santos, Leah Zallman Center Director, highlighted a recent report that the Center co-produced with the Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement, Weaving Well-being, as an example of the type of community-engaged research they do that centers the perspectives and work of immigrant leaders and communities. She said,

I’m thrilled with today’s turnout and the deep, cross-sector dialogues that took place. Our research reinforces the fact that social and structural factors such housing, jobs, power dynamics, and narratives are powerful determinants of health and well-being. We need evidence-based policies that incorporate global knowledge and advance equity. Advancing immigrant health takes all of us.

The Leah Zallman Center for Immigrant Health Research is based in Malden, Mass., at the Institute for Community Health (ICH), a nonprofit consulting organization co-founded by community health system Cambridge Health Alliance. Follow the Leah Zallman Center at immigranthealth.org or contact LZC@icommunityhealth.org.