January 2018

Happy New Year, MPHA friends and partners!  Thank you to everyone who generously gave during MPHA's 2017 end of year appeal. We are truly grateful for your support and look forward to taking our shared fight for health equity and racial justice into 2018. 

At this critical time of health care transformation in Massachusetts, I am excited to announce that MPHA has launched a new campaign, the Alliance for Community Health Integration (ACHI), that puts the social determinants of health front and center! ACHI is a strong statewide coalition working to harness the power of health care to create healthier and more equitable communities through targeted prevention efforts, community investments, and other strategies to improve community and population health. You can read more about this important and innovative effort below.  

In addition to launching a new campaign, MPHA staff has been hard at work advocating for continuation of the highly successful Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund; working closely with the Administration to ensure successful enrollment of the Massachusetts Food Trust Program; working with partners to advance transportation equity and access to affordable homes and healthy communities, and preparing for our 2019 state budget advocacy. Stay tuned for updates on this important work.  

Save the date: MPHA's 2018 Spring Awards Breakfast will be held on Friday, June 1, 2018.  

Thank you for everything that you do for a healthier and more equitable Commonwealth.

Warm wishes,

Jodie L. Silverman
ACHIMPHA Launches New Campaign to Tackle Social Determinants of Health Through Health Care

In Massachusetts, significant health care transformation is under way, including efforts to reform the way health care is delivered and paid for by putting greater focus on wellness, prevention, and value-based care. This creates a rare window of opportunity for health equity advocates and allies to join forces with health care in order to address the social determinants of health and identify priorities to narrow gaping health disparities. 

We know that the social determinants of health, such as lack of affordable housing, barriers to safe and reliable transportation, and limited access to well-paying jobs or healthy food, contribute more to poor health outcomes than lack of access to clinical care, and create deep health inequities across race and income. Despite this, non-medical barriers to good health have traditionally been seen as outside the purview of health care, even as these factors continue to drive up health care costs as well as health inequities. Current changes to the health care system means public health and our partners have a unique opportunity right now to work with health care to address and mitigate the social determinants. 

To seize this opportunity, MPHA recently launched a new campaign, the Alliance for Community Health Integration (ACHI) to create a strong unified voice for equity and prevention in our health care system. ACHI is comprised of public health, consumer advocacy, social service, housing, and other advocacy organizations.

We have already begun working with hospitals, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), policy makers, and other stakeholders to advance the campaign's three priorities:

  1. Maximizing the impact of the new MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations
  2. Aligning hospital investments with community needs
  3. Partnering with health care organizations to support and advance safe and affordable housing policy
As MPHA members and supporters, we count you as important partners in this urgent work. Stay tuned for updates and more information on ACHI and health care reform, and click here to learn more about campaign priorities and coalition members.
MPHA Member of Work Group to Advise MassHealth on Social Determinants 

In addition to leading ACHI, MPHA is a member of the MassHealth Social Services Integration Work Group (SSIWG) under the Office of Health and Human Services. The goal of SSIWG,  which had its first convening earlier this month, is to pr ovide expertise and counsel to MassHealth in supporting integration of social services into health care reform in order to truly tackle the social determinants of health. 

SSIWG will focus on identifying  promising models, methods, tools, and resources that enable social service integration in health care delivery and communicating best practices and recommendations to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). 

Many members of the ACHI coalition serve on this working group and will continue to advocate for public health's role informing and advising health care on addressing the social determinants of health.
NomWho's Your Public Health Hero?! 

Don't miss an opportunity to nominate your public health hero!  Your nominee could be honored at MPHA's 16th Annual Spring Awards breakfast! This year's breakfast will be held on  June 1st at the State Room on 60 State Street in Boston

Who inspires you in their work towards health equity for Massachusetts? What person or organization has made an everlasting positive impact on the health of local communities? 

Did you miss MPHA's 2017 Annual Report? If so, it is a must read -- click above to view our first online annual report!
Massachusetts Public Health Association | (857) 263-7072 | mpha@mapublichealth.org |   mapublichealth.org