In March 2009 the SouthCoast region of Massachusetts was selected to be an ACHIEVE community. The main objective of ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental changE) is to unite local leaders through CHARTs (Community Health Action Response Teams). Each CHART aims to build healthy communities by specifically focusing on issues such as, physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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Voices is the name of our CHART in the SouthCoast region of Massachusetts. Our CHART is made up of local leaders.

These leaders include elected officials; state and local directors of public health organizations; business leaders; and leaders of local community organizations like schools, recreation departments, and hospitals. Our goal is to implement strategies that support and sustain healthy lifestyles where people live, work, learn, and play.

We will look to make improvements such as:

  • Increased access to and use of attractive and safe locations for engaging in physical activity
  • Revised school food contracts that include more fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods
  • Requirements for sidewalks and crossing signals in neighborhoods to make them more pedestrian-friendly

Our hope is that these changes will improve the lifestyles of each community and ultimately prevent chronic diseases.

Mission Statement

The mission of Voices is to build and support healthy lifestyles in SouthCoast communities. We aim to do this by working together and advocating for policy, practice, and environmental change in order to sustain vibrant communities that are conducive to healthy living.


Nancy LaRue Bonell – YMCA Coach
Gary Schuyler – CEO

Southcoast Hospitals Group
Donna Querim – Partner Coach
Jim Rattray – Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs
Kerry Mello – Marketing & Community Relations Coordinator
Amanda Szot – Registered Dietician

Commonwealth of MA— Department of Public Health

Maria Evora-Rosa – Community Liaison

Greater Fall Fiver Partners

Marcia Picard -School Wellness Coordinator

Greater New Bedford Community Health Center
Martha Gonzales – Wellness Connection

Healthy City Fall River

David Weed – Coordinator

Health Communications Specialist
Pauline Hamel – Adjunct Faculty & Mass in Motion, New Bedford

Hunger Commission of SE Mass
Bill Shell – Program Director

Immigrants Assistance Center

Helena S. Marques – Executive Director

Mattapoisett Health Department
Ammanda Stone – Public Health Nurse

National Park Service
Jennifer T. Nersesian – Superintendent

New Bedford Health Department

– Dir. of Public Health City of New Bedford

New Bedford Office of Planning
Raymond Khalife – Senior Planner

Seven Hills
Judith R. Coykendall – Partners for Clean Air Program Director


John Quinn—UMass Dartmouth Director of Graduate Public Service