Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, social isolation, social connections


Demography, Population, and Ecology | Gerontology | Public Health | Social Welfare


Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we prioritize connection for ourselves and the people around us. The global COVID-19 pandemic and the national reckoning with systemic racism has made people more aware and appreciative of their relationships and has made some painfully aware of how distant and disconnected they are. While the evidence is clear that social isolation is bad for health and well-being, the evidence base of solutions is far less so. Thus, this report sought to harness the energy, creativity, and progressive thinking of cities and towns in Massachusetts by documenting their efforts to keep people connected well before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and the efforts they will sustain in the aftermath.

This document is a resource of ideas about actions, big and small, that can be taken to strengthen social connections in your community. It is intended to kick-start conversation, and the ideas embedded here are meant to be adapted for your local culture. It is our hope that by equipping communities with ideas of where to start, we can begin to build strong empirical evidence for solutions that have been implemented and evaluated. So consider these ideas, generate your own, and continue to think about the work you do as a neighbor, volunteer, leader, advocate, and professional in promoting social connection for those you serve.

Community Engaged/Serving

Part of the UMass Boston Community-Engaged Teaching, Research, and Service Series. //



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