MGH Institute, RSM Recognized by Boston Business Journal for Helping Charlestown Families

The growing partnership between MGH Institute of Health Professions and the Charlestown office of national accounting firm RSM has been recognized by the Boston Business Journal.

The two organizations were one of four recipients of the newspaper’s 2021 Corporate Citizenship Partners of the Year award at a virtual ceremony on September 9. They were recognized for their collaboration assisting the John F. Kennedy Center and the Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown over the past several years. RSM has awarded grants to the MGH Institute for several initiatives that seek to improve the lives of children and families in Charlestown, which has one of the highest rates of economically disadvantaged students and one of the highest rates of English-language learners in Boston.

“Our partnership with RSM, which has generously supported the MGH Institute’s mission to advance models of care for a diverse society, has allowed our researchers to implement carefully crafted and tested clinical interventions,” said MGH Institute President Paula Milone-Nuzzo. “Through evaluating the impact of these interventions, we will be able to document improvement and progress.”

At the Kennedy Center, Dr. Cathie Leslie, an assistant professor of occupational therapy, is using an RSM grant to collaborate with faculty and graduate students from the Institute’s occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and nursing programs. The team is working closely with teachers to understand the specific needs of children the center serves, most of whom live in the two nearby housing developments on Medford Street. The initiative involves observing and screening preschool-aged children for developmental delays so appropriate follow-up services can be designed and implemented, including interventions related to speech and language, motor skills, and other aspects of healthy development. “We are bringing together two teams of experts who are passionate about the education of young children,” said Thara Fuller, the Kennedy Center’s executive director, noting that the goal is to ensure they are as ready as possible to succeed when they enter kindergarten.

A 2019 grant from RSM supported the literacy work of Drs. Tiffany Hogan and Maura Curran at the Harvard-Kent School. Using their findings from this project, the Institute researchers applied for and received $3.6 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to sustain their work in improving literacy outcomes in Charlestown and other school districts across the country.

“Charlestown continues to grow and change, and so do learning challenges,” said Collen Boyce, executive director of the RSM Boston Foundation, which distributed the grants to the IHP. “COVID-19 set many children behind, and we hope to set up more programing that bridges the gap that will be caused by the ongoing pandemic.”

Noting that the accounting firm has made children in Charlestown a priority for the past several years, she added, “Our employees continue to want to give back, and collaborating with partners like the MGH Institute is proving very beneficial.”

The Boston Business Journal’s partnership awards honor businesses and nonprofits that have made an immediate and lasting impact in the region by working together, demonstrating innovation, and developing best practices at any level of engagement. Nominations are judged on four standards: mission, innovation, impact, and sustainability.

“In a year fraught with economic uncertainty, we want to highlight the innovative partnerships between for-profits and nonprofits to bolster our communities, no matter the size of the contribution,” said Carolyn M. Jones, the newspaper’s market president and publisher. “The recipients of the Corporate Citizenship Partners of the Year awards have proven their commitment to these partnerships.”

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