By Beth Grand

BPHC staff member Ezequiel Lopes was recently awarded the Esther M. Holderby Award for distinguished service as a community health worker. This award from the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers honors a dedicated community health worker who has overcome adversity to promote health in his or her community. This is a statewide award and is issued to just one person annually across countless community health and treatment providers in Massachusetts.

Ezequiel Lopes, second from left, was presented his award on Sept 27.

Izzy, as he goes by, is a coordinator of case management for the HUES to Home Program at the Woods Mullen Shelter. He has demonstrated a deep commitment to the ‘housing first’ philosophy and methods of ending chronic homelessness, and has helped to improve health outcomes for his clients.

The HUES to Home Program focuses specifically on homeless clients who most frequently utilize BMC emergency room services.  Program staff provides stabilization and support services for these recently housed clients. Workers serving these clients must be exceptionally empathic, flexible and dynamic.

Izzy has demonstrated all of these qualities and has truly served his clients well.

Dr. Jesse Gaeta, Medical Director for Boston Health Care For the Homeless Program, explained the importance of Izzy’s contribution to the program: “The work that Ezequiel does to enable sick homeless people to be successful in housing (which I consider a crucial medical intervention) despite seemingly insurmountable challenges inspires me and many caregivers at the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless program to have renewed hope for improved health and a better life for our most vulnerable patients.”

Thank you for your service and congratulations, Izzy!

Beth Grand is co-bureau director for the Homeless Services Bureau.