Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers 2019 Awards Recipients

For immediate release: 5/10/2019

Lissette Blondet
(917) 602-1960

The Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW) Awards recognize and honor the outstanding service, dedication, and excellence of individuals and groups of individuals who serve their communities as Community Health Workers (CHWs). The American Public Health Association’s definition of a CHW is: “A frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of and/or has an unusually close understanding of the community served. This trusting relationship enables the CHW to serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.”

Awardees are nominated by peers, supervisors, and/or program managers based on criteria rooted on national best practices found here ( Awards will be presented on Thursday, May 16 at the Annual CHW Conference in Norwood, Massachusetts.

This years’ recipients are:

Karina Osella
2019 Massachusetts Outstanding CHW of the Year

Karina is currently working for Greater Lynn Senior Services as a Care Coordinator within the North Region Long Term Services and Supports program (LTSS). The LTSS program is a person-centered, care coordination program offered to Medicaid members who are ages 3 to 64 who participate in an accountable care organization within the Merrimack Valley and North Shore. Karina conducts comprehensive assessments with her patients to support them in identifying their goals, as well as resources and supports needed.

Karina has worked as a CHW under different titles since 2005 when she began work at Boston Medical Center’s Dimock Detox as an HIV Counselor and Educator. Karina worked as an HIV tester, educator, and counselor for Boston Medical Center as well as East Boston Neighborhood Health Center until 2013. Karina began work at Lynn Community Health Center in 2012 where she worked in various programs as a CHW.

“In my work with Karina as her supervisor I was able to observe Karina’s ability to effectively support her patients in improving their whole health and wellness as well as overall quality of life. Karina is able to develop trusting and therapeutic relationships with her patients by demonstrating that she is accountable and committed to supporting her patients in meeting their needs,” said Emily Johnson, former Supervisor at Lynn Community Health Center.

“I had the opportunity to work with a few community members that had previously worked with Karina and they had shared with me the impact the work of Karina had made in their lives – from assisting them with making a phone call or accompanying them to their appointment to advocate for them. These testimonies from clients made me realize that the work we do as CHWs does not go unnoticed, and that our efforts make a difference,” said Andera Villeda, a CHW Colleague at Lynn Community Health Center.

Joaquin Rodriguez, BS, LADC l l
2019 Massachusetts Outstanding Supervisor of The Year Award

Joaquin currently works at Community Care Alliance as a HOW Clinical Preceptor, and Substance Abuse Coordinator. In this role, he supervises a team of community health workers who are primarily responsible for providing longitudinal care coordination, care management, and/or care delivery to a dedicated panel of individuals with significant medical, behavioral, and social complexities that require intensive clinical support.

Joaquin moved from Brooklyn, NY to Springfield, MA in 1990 after completing his drug treatment program. Joaquin has played a significant role in the outreach efforts in the North End of Springfield and the City of Springfield. He has substantial experience in providing overall program management and staff supervision and is highly qualified with over 29 years’ experience working with the Latino community.

Joaquin has worked with Gandara Mental Health Center, New North Citizen’s Council, Springfield South West Health Center, Brightwood Health Center, Springfield Health Department, Nueva Esperanza, Holyoke Street School, Preventive Medicine, and the YMCA/Liberty Crossing SRO. He has designed and implemented outreach trainings for the City of Springfield and other community-based organizations, and has deep knowledge of community resources and community providers.

Joaquin was nominated by his CHW team in recognition for his tireless advocacy for the CHW profession. His co-workers said:

“One of Joaquin’s strengths has been as a mentor to the whole team. He takes the time to explain our role and responsibilities within our organization and share a lot of his knowledge, experience, and what to do moving forward with whatever task or situation at the time.”

“Joaquin has created a ‘work flow’ structure for us. The team meetings and individual supervision are the places to discuss our members, issues or concerns, boundaries, and success. He helps us stay focused on the day to day work as CHWs.”