Roseanna Means, MD, MSc​

Dr. Roseanna Means has been a primary care physician at BWH since 1984. Over the years, her focus has been not only excellent clinical care for patients at BWH but also access to care for vulnerable and homeless persons in Boston. Dr. Means received her MD from Tufts University Medical School and her BS and MSc from MIT. She completed her internship and residency at BWH before joining the faculty.

In addition to her primary care practice at BWH, Dr. Means has served the homeless through several organizations over the years. In 1999 she founded Women of Means, now called Health Care Without Walls (HCWW), and serves as President. This non-profit organization of volunteer physicians and staff nurses provides free medical care and care coordination for homeless and battered women and families in Boston. In 2010, Dr. Means was selected as the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader in recognition of her work.

Building on her efforts with HCWW, Dr. Means’ research has focused on various methods of care, care coordination and resources to improve access to care, health, health literacy and quality of life for vulnerable or homeless women and children. Dr. Means’ work has shown that addressing social determinants of health, improving collaborationsin care coordination and filling-in care gaps can ultimately lower medical costs while also improving health outcomes.

Also visit:

Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Associate Physician, Division of Women’s Health, Department of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Associate Professor of Medicine, Part-time
Other Appointments
Director, Bridges to Moms Program; Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Health Care Without Walls

Areas of Expertise

Current Research

Bridges to Moms, launched in 2016, is a collaboration between BWH and Dr. Means’ community non-profit agency, Health Care Without Walls (HCWW). HCWW has been providing free medical care in shelters since 1999 for women and families who are housing insecure. Bridges to Moms receives referrals for assistance in the outpatient setting for women who are homeless and pregnant from obstetrics social workers and clinicians. Bridges to Moms addresses five social determinant areas: housing, transportation to appointments and to visit their babies in the NICU, food security, personal safety and community resources. These services are provided by a field team from HCWW who work with the women in the outpatient setting throughout their pregnancies and during the baby’s first year. The goal is to improve prenatal clinic attendance, gestational age at birth, birth outcomes, and maternal bonding, and reduce NICU stays. Since its launch, the Bridges to Moms Program has assisted over 220 women. Dr. Means is working with a team of experts to measure the hypothesis that by addressing key social determinants of health, clinic attendance, birth outcomes, maternal health and maternal bonding will improve and medical costs can be significantly reduced.



  • Bridges to Moms Program (Rx Foundation and AGO, Private Family Foundations, PI)

Select Past Research

Examining the challenges faced by homeless women needing help accessing timely medical care:
  • Bridges to Moms: Addressing the social determinants of health for housing-insecure, pregnant women (SGIM)
  • Improved health outcomes and health literacy in homeless women offered free low-barrier access to medical care within homeless shelters (APHA)
  • Patient flow considerations for homeless women accessing mainstream medical services (APHA)
  • A “Medical Home Without Walls” delivery model for treating homeless women in the community (APHA)
  • Using Community Health Workers to deliver primary care to elderly homeless women

Select Publications

White Paper: “The Status of Homeless Women in Massachusetts: Are We Adequately Addressing the Social Determinants of Their Health?” Means RH, Rorie J, Mehta P. December 2018, distributed by Health Care Without Walls to local stakeholders and members of the Massachusetts Legislature to promote a deeper understanding of the rising public health crisis of growing numbers of homeless women in MA whose health care and social needs are under under-resourced (2018).


Evaluation of Bridges to Moms: A Mixed Methods Study, 2018.


Blazey-Martin D, Walkey B, Schelling KH, Malfroy-Camine E, Means RH. Curriculum for Novice Providers and Trainees Working in Homeless Shelters for Women. Presented at the American Public Health Association national meeting, November, 2008, San Diego, CA.


Means RH. A primary care approach to treating women without homes. Medscape Womens Health. 2001 Mar;6(2):1. PMID: 11547264