Massachusetts Public Health Association
Action for Equity in Health   
November 2016
In This Issue:


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MPHA Annual Meeting, Expo and Career Fair - Registration Closes in One Week!
Join us on November 16th in Worcester to explore ways in which we can operationalize racial equity within our work, our communities and in our public health institutions. 

Tuesday, November 8th, brings the official end of a long and contentious election season. Regardless of the results on Tuesday, the impact of an election season filled with divisive and often hateful rhetoric may be long felt in our country. As the state's public health association, MPHA is committed to building community, ending institutional racism, and advocating for policies that afford access to positive health outcomes for everyone in Massachusetts.  Please join us in signing on to an open letter written by MPHA member organization, Partners for a Healthier Community, standing in opposition to the hateful rhetoric that has been too common this campaign season and reaffirming our values and commitment to racial justice and bringing diverse communities together. 

Please make sure your voice is heard this election season! In addition to the Presidential race there are many important local races and important ballot questions. To view remaining open times and locations for early voting, click here . Find your November 8 voting location, here

Registration for the MPHA Annual Meeting, Expo and Career Fair #NoRacialJusticeNoPublicHealth closes November 9th! Please join us on November 16th in Worcester to explore ways in which we can operationalize racial equity within our work, our communities and in our public health institutions. There will also be opportunities to learn about and provide feedback on MPHA's policy priorities for the 2017-2018 legislative cycle. 

Thank you to our partners across the state who signed onto the letter to the legislature in support of continuation of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF). Hundreds of municipal, health, and civic leaders joined us in calling for the re-authorization of PWTF, a first in the nation program to prevent chronic disease and advance health equity. 

Thank you for all that you do to promote justice and health throughout our commonwealth. I look forward to seeing you on November 16th!

Best wishes,


Rebekah Gewirtz
Executive Director

Thank you to our generous Annual Meeting Sponsors: Boston Public Health Commission,  Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation,  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,  Health Resources in Action,  Justice Resource Institute,  MA Health Officers Association,  MA Nurses Association,  Merrimack College Department of Health Sciences,  MORE Advertising,  Partners Health Plan Foundation,  Regis School of Health Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine,  UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, UMass Lowell Department of Public Health,  Vertex,  Worcester Division of Public Health and exhibitors:  Boston Public Health Commission, Citizens for Juvenile Justice, New England AIDS Education and Training Center (NEAETC),  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,
D-QUEQUE,MA Breast Cancer Association, MA Department of Public Health, MA League of Community Health Centers, MA Medical Society, Merrimack College Department of Health Sciences,  Planned Parenthood League of MA, Regis School of Health Sciences, and Walden University.
MPHA UpdatesUpdates
AMtg.Still not registered? Get to know our panelists - you won't want to miss out!
Camara Jones, President of APHA,  has done extensive work on confronting institutionalized racism as a threat to health equity. This year Dr. Jones launched an APHA initiative on racism and health to identify all areas in which racism exists and to make recommendations on swift and practical steps to eliminate racism and advance health equity.
works with students and researchers to understand the social determinants of health through a racial justice lens. Dean Galea is committed to creating a shift in the focus of public health from treating the downstream consequences of health inequities to addressing social drivers like poverty and racism that create these inequities.
Monica Bharel, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health,  is  known for her dedication to health care for underserved and vulnerable populations. Eliminating economic and racial health disparities is a primary priority of her work as Commissioner.
Joseph Curtatone,  Mayor of Somerville, has been widely recognized for taking a stand on racial inequities and institutional racism. As Mayor, he created a MultiCultural Affairs Commission in Somerville to give voice to underrepresented communities.  This year, he drew attention for hanging a 'Black Lives Matter' banner at Somerville City Hall and refusing to take it down even under pressure by some to do so.
Monica Valdes Lupi
Monica Valdes Lupi, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission,  is committed to strengthening the city's partnerships with healthcare organizations and advancing health equity for all Bostonians. Over her career Ms. Valdes Lupi has worked to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and has managed the distribution of grants aimed at improving the health of Boston's most vulnerable residents.

Alexis Travis, Chief of Community Health at Worcester Division of Public Health 
Dr. Travis works closely with community stakeholders to improve health outcomes and promote health equity. She is passionate about eliminating health inequities and conducts research in this area.
Joseph Krupczynski, Director of the Office of Civic Engagement and Service Learning,  Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Professor Krupczynski promotes reciprocal community partnerships, and crafts participatory art/design platforms through installations, activism and research in collaboration with underrepresented communities.

We have a robust agenda with 300+ participants from across the state. Please click on our Event Page to learn more! 
Policy NotesPolicyNotes
PWTFHundreds of Municipal, Health, and Civic Leaders Call on Legislature To Reauthorize Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund
On October 27, 2016, MPHA delivered a letter to Massachusetts legislative leaders with a coalition of over 200 civic leaders urging them to reauthorize the Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) before it expires in June 2017.

MPHA led the campaign for the creation of the Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF), which was established by the legislature in 2012 as part of Chapter 224 and is a key part of our state's multi-pronged approach to health reform. The program invests in evidence-based community interventions that help to keep residents healthy and safe. PWTF - the first program of its kind in the country - has been recognized as a national model by other states, national health care and public health organizations, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read on 
MassDOT Gives Municipalities Funds for Safer Local Streets & Sidewalks
This fall the MA Department of Transportation awarded the first implementation grants to 11 Massachusetts municipalities, allowing communities to make some of their local streets and sidewalks safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users. The  Complete Streets Funding Program awarded $400,000 to each of the municipalities to implement specific improvements after the community participated in training, adopted a complete streets policy, and created a complete streets prioritization plan.

While the analysis is still underway, early indicators suggest that complete street policies and programs are getting underway in communities that need them the most--low-income communities with limited transportation options and communities of color that have been undeserved in the past. Read on

MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz Joins Panel on Community Health Benefits
On October 26th, MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz joined a panel of health and community based experts speaking about the state of the Hospital Community Benefits Program in Massachusetts. The event was hosted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and Community Catalyst and served as the release of the report: Critical Resources for Community Health: The State of Hospital Community Benefit in Massachusetts. This in depth and eye opening report was written by Enid Eckstein and Paul Hattis with the support of Community Catalyst. It was endorsed by a number of health and health policy organizations, including MPHA. 

During the panel discussion, Rebekah highlighted the importance of expanding our understanding of what creates health in order to improve health outcomes. She discussed the importance of infusing public health in the changing health care landscape. Ultimately, public health will need to be an essential component of provider activities to ensure good health across geographic communities and to ensure cost savings.
Community Screening of A Place At the Table followed by Discussion on Solutions to Childhood Hunger in Metrowest
On Monday December 5th, 2016, The MetroWest Health Foundation and Morse Institute Library are hosting a screening of A Place at the Table followed by a panel discussion on childhood hunger in MetroWest and ways we can solve it together. MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz will speak on the panel along with Karen Rufo, Nurse Leader, Natick Public Schools and Greg Tutuny, Executive Director, Natick Service Council.

Where: Morse Institute Library, Natick
When: Monday, December 5th from 6-8
Volunteer & Staff Updates
MPHA Staff are Getting Noticed 
Janet O'Brien, Growing Places Program Director;  Andrea Freeman, MPHA Field Director and Joanne Foster, Growing Places Executive Director

Last month, MPHA's Field Director, Andrea Freeman, was presented with the 2016 "Rooted Volunteer" award by  Growing Places, Inc , a nonprofit helping low-income individuals, families, and communities in North Central Massachusetts realize the many health, economic, and social benefits of growing their own produce. The Rooted Volunteer award is given to a longstanding volunteer who has served in many roles and in this capacity has made a significant contribution to Growing Places' work.

In early November, MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz is being recognized for her community service at the 8th Annual Tina DeLellis Luncheon hosted by the Somerville Coalition for the Homeless. Read on
MPHA Welcomes Fall Policy and Communications Interns
Swatilekha Dasgupta is a Public Policy student at University of Massachusetts, Boston where she focuses on health policy and advocacy for women and children. She holds a Master's Degree from the University of Calcutta (India) where she studied English Literature. Her experiences in India, including as a teacher, have inspired her to work for the betterment of community. Swatilekha believes that her internship with MPHA will give her the perfect opportunity to realize her goals toward a future career in Public Health.

Elaine Zhang is a recent graduate of University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she majored in public health with minors in psychology and education. During her senior year, she conducted an intensive thesis research project looking into health disparities within the United States and the diverse policy solutions, which sparked her interest in public policy and interning at MPHA. She previously interned at Boston Alliance for Community Health where she worked on the Lets get Healthy Boston program. Read on
MPHA Organizational Member Corner
A warm welcome to Fenway Health, our newest sustaining partner in public health!
This month Fenway Health joined our growing community of organizational members as a Sustaining Advocate Partner in Public Health! Fenway was founded in 1971 as part of the free clinic movement by students who believed that "health care should be a right, not a privilege." For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population. To learn more about their transformative work in the LGBT community, people living with AIDS as well as the broader community click, here.
Our members play an important role in supporting MPHA's work to build local leaders and a deeper network of activists across the state to take action. Through these partnerships we are advancing our key priority areas, including: healthy eating and active living, housing and family stability, protecting essential public health services, and connecting community health with clinical care. To learn more about organizational or individual membership, please contact MPHA Development Director Akosua Ampofo Siever at or 857.263.7072, ext. 113.
MPHA Organizational Members - Share Your Job Openings with us!
As an organizational member of MPHA, one of your benefits include the opportunity to post jobs to a targeted public health audience reaching more than 1000 public health professionals in the Commonwealth. 

Take advantage of this benefit and share your job openings with us. Send postings to MPHA Operations Manager Kathryn Davis at: Click here to learn more about our organizational members. 
MPHA Statement on Marijuana Ballot Question 4
MPHA Urges Members and Voters to Reject Marijuana Legalization Ballot Question 4
MPHA has evaluated the available research literature and listened to both proponents and opponents of the question. After careful study, MPHA has concluded that the ballot initiative does not contain sufficient public health protections and that the potential dangers far outweigh any potential benefits.  Further, we have found little evidence that this ballot question would have a substantive impact on the racial discrimination that has been a stain on our country's criminal justice system for far too long.   MPHA urges voters to reject this ballot question and join us to support more meaningful criminal justice reform that will reverse the institutionalized discrimination in our drug policies and protect public health. Read on 
Public Health NewsPubHealthNews
Massachusetts Attorney General's Office Accepting Applications for Youth Opioid Prevention
The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office (AGO) is accepting applications for the   Youth Opioid Prevention (YOP) grant program , which it created using funds from a $500,000 from a  settlement with CVS Pharmacy . The YOP grant is designed to support school-based prevention education initiatives to address opioid dependence and addiction in Massachusetts. The AGO is accepting grant applications from entities that will implement either a sustainable prevention curriculum or prevention programming within a public school or public school district in Massachusetts. Click  here  to view request for proposals.
Upcoming Public Health Events & New Reports
New Released Report: Hospitals Investing in Health: Community Benefit in Massachusetts, October 2016. Community Catalyst. 

11.17.16: How to Identify Multi-Sector Partners. Community Health Training Institute. More information and registration, here

11.18.16: Western MA Health Equity Summit. Western MA Health Equity Network. Amherst. More information and registration, here

11.30.16: Coalition Capacity and Infrastructure Planning. Community Health Training Institute. More information and registration, here

12.1.16: Dean's Symposium-How Does Where You Live Affect Your Health? Boston University School of Public Health. More information, here

The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) is the champion for public health in the Commonwealth. We are the catalyst for change, eliminating health inequities and creating healthy communities for all. For more information, visit us at or call 857.263.7072.