April 2018
Action Needed for Health Equity
Last week the MA House Ways and Means Committee released its proposal for the FY19 state budget without funding and/or language for key programs that advance health equity in the state. Therefore, supportive State Representatives have filed budget amendments to request improvements to the budget. State Reps have until Friday, Apr 20 to co-sponsor amendments, so now is the time that you can make the difference.   Below is the Action Alert from MA Public Health Association (MPHA). 

Please take action this week using the steps below. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this action alert, please contact Andrea Freeman with MPHA ( afreeman@mapublichealth.org , 978-895-0960.

Step 1: Call and/or email your state Representative(s) this week and ask him/her to co-sponsor specific amendments (for those in the 1 st Hampshire District you can still call the office and it will have weight)—here’s a draft email/phone script you can use:

I am a voter in your district << or>>  I work for <XYZ> and we serve many residents in your district . I am writing to ask that you to please co-sponsor these important budget amendments:
A.     MA Food Trust ( Amendment #17, sponsored by Rep. Donahue)
This amendment for level funding is essential to staff a program that will increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities. The MA Food Trust is important to <<community/region>> because <<…>>.   For more information about the MA Food Trust, please click on this brief fact sheet .
B.     Regional Transit Authorities ( Amendment #743 , sponsored by Rep. Peake)
See Update on PVTA/Regional Transit cuts below.
C.     Healthy Incentive Program (HIP) ( Amendment #188, sponsored Rep. Kane)
This amendment is needed to better invest in a wonderfully popular program that improves health outcomes for people who are food-insecure AND improves financial sustainability for our local farmers. HIP is important because <<…>>. For more information about HIP, please click on this brief fact sheet .
D.     Mass in Motion  ( Amendment #746 , sponsored by Rep. Schmid)
This amendment for level funding is important because it leverages private and federal dollars to reduce the number of people managing preventable, expensive, chronic diseases (such as diabetes) by increasing access to healthy affordable foods and safe ways to get more physical activity. Mass in Motion is important to me and my community because <<…>>. For more information about Mass in Motion, please click on this brief fact sheet .
Thank you for your time-- please let me know if you have any questions about my requests. I hope I can count on your support for these amendments and look forward to hearing from you.
<<name, address, ph # & email>>

Step 2:   Spread the word!  Please ask a few people in your network to also make this same request. If a Rep. hears from a handful of constituents about the same thing, it’s powerful!

Step 3. Let us know you took action. Please send a quick reply to Andrea to simply say “I took action.”  (If you also helped spread the word, please let her know that too!)
Join us for Climate Action at
Springfield Museum's Earth Day Festival!
The first 400 kids, who participate & learn from all our exhibitors, get a FREE green climate hero cape!

  • Springfield Climate Action & Resilience – sponsored by Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Public Health Institute of Western MA
  • Arise for Social Justice and Springfield Climate Justice Coalition- learn how you can advocate for climate action
  • PVTA and Walk/Bike Springfield - help you to design routes to walk, bike or take public transportation to places you go everyday.
  • Ener-G-Save, Springfield Partners for Community Action, the utilities, and solar consultants - help you tap into clean energy, and tightening up your home.
  • Regreen Springfield/Springfield Forestry Division - seedling giveaway
  • Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition and Springfield Healthy Homes - learn how you can avoid asthma triggers and make your home more healthy
  • Springfield Water & Sewer - Cobble Mountain Water Give Away
  • Gardening the Community - share how you can get connected to growing your own food and food they grown for fresh and affordable options Springfield Department of Public Works - recycling display

Sunday, April 22, 2018
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Springfield Museums Quadrangle Green (in case of rain moved into science museum)
21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA

Update on the PVTA/Regional Transit Cuts
Recently the House Budget came out and it did NOT include the funds needed for Regional Transportation Authorities. 

Representative Sarah K. Peake is proposing an amendment to include the needed funds for our RTAs to prevent service cuts and possibility reduce fare increases. Many of our Western MA Reps supported the $88,000,000 in the budget and now we urgently need to reach out again to ask them to support this amendment!

Here is the information you need to make that call and/or send that email. There is only a short window of time to act, so please take action BEFORE April 20 th .

#743. Commonwealth Transportation Fund Transfer to RTAs - $88,000,000
This request will fund the RTAs at the level that was committed to by the legislature in Transportation Finance bill. The funding will allow the RTAs to continue to provide critical public transportation and meet our constituents’ needs. Without an increase, RTAs across the Commonwealth will be forced to cut routes, lay off staff, and severely curtail service.

Please email Kathy Wicks if you have any questions.

Learn More:
Housing & Development as a Social Determinant of Health Policy 101 Presentation and Discussion
Come learn the fundamentals of housing & zoning policy in MA and how you can take strategic actions to advance health equity. We'll discuss:
  • The types of policies that affect housing quality, quantity, & price
  • How local & state zoning laws impact what kinds of housing gets built
  • Legislation in MA that could help create housing, including the
  • Great Neighborhoods Bill
  • Policies that can help make communities age-friendly
  • Actions you can take to advocate for housing that more of us can afford

Thursday, May 3, 2018
12:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
60 Congress St, Springfield, MA

RSVP today or email afreeman@mapublichealth .

Other Events
Filmed over the course of three years, The Blood Is at the Doorstep  follows Dontre Hamilton’s family and surrounding community through their struggle to find answers and challenge a criminal justice system full of bias, abuses of power, racism, and psychiatric oppression. 

Panelists will speak from first-hand experiences of a variety of types of systemic oppression.