Massachusetts Public Health Association
Action for Equity in Health   
April 2015
In This Issue:


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Learn more and get involved in the Act FRESH Campaign to improve access to healthy food and active living

Looking for Work?
Visit our jobs board! MPHA regularly updates its blog with employment and volunteer opportunities for public health professionals and advocates. 

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Happy National Public Health Week! We invite you to celebrate public health in the Commonwealth with us. Find events in your community here.

"Healthy Food, Local Jobs, Strong Communities" garnered much support in the State House from our friends, fellow advocates, and legislators- thank you! We are excited to take what we learned from other states and work towards a Commonwealth with improved access to healthy food for all.

While spring is here, we must not allow our unpleasant memories of the MBTA breakdowns to melt with the snow. Take the time to learn about Governor Baker's Special Panel MBTA Report and ask him to invest in transportation.

Looking forward to seeing you soon. And remember, the MPHA spring awards breakfast is just around the corner on June 5th. Sponsor the event and get your tickets today!

Best wishes,




Rebekah Gewirtz

Executive Director 

USDA Grant for SNAP will Help Establish Healthy Incentives Program in MA
The USDA has granted $3,401,384 to The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (MDTA) to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants better afford fruits and vegetables. MPHA is excited to hear this news and learn what it means for Massachusetts. Protecting access to SNAP benefits and establishing a statewide Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) are policy priorities for MPHA in 2015-2016 as part of our effort to ensure that all communities have access to healthy affordable food. SNAP is our nation's first line of defense against hunger and after the success of the HIP pilot in Hampden County, MA, we know the state as a whole will benefit from the healthy eating incentives HIP would provide. Read on
MPHA Calls for Increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, Touts Benefits to Reduce Poverty and Improve Health
On March 31st, MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz joined many partner organizations and families to testify before the Revenue Committee in support of increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Increasing the EITC is a priority for MPHA this year because of its demonstrated ability to alleviate poverty and improve health outcomes, especially for mothers and their children. Read on
bfastOur Health, Our Future: 13th Annual Breakfast!

Join MPHA on Friday, June 5th for the Commonwealth's signature public health event of the year! 

Our Health, Our Future: The 13th Annual Spring Awards Breakfast will take place at The State Room from 8:30-10:30am. 

Purchase your tickets today!

Learn more about sponsorship and program book opportunities!

This year MPHA will honor the following leaders in celebration of their outstanding contributions to the betterment of public health in Massachusetts:

  • Paul Revere AwardRenee Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center and Founding Director, Vital Village Community Engagement Network
  • Lemuel Shattuck Award: Jose Rafael Rivera, Assistant Director of Community Engagement and Support, LUK, Inc.
  • Alfred Frechette Award: Max Fripp, MEd, Executive Director, Playworks Massachusetts
  • Public Service AwardBenjamin Wood, MPH, Healthy Community Design Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The Awards Breakfast is the signature event of the year for the public health community to come together to salute our partners, celebrate our accomplishments, reconnect with colleagues, and energize ourselves for public health advocacy going forward. Join us in celebrating these four visionary individuals while supporting MPHA! We hope to see you there!

HFF"Healthy Food, Local Jobs, Strong Communities" Energizes Movement for Healthy Food Financing
On Tuesday, March 31, MPHA hosted Healthy Food, Local Jobs, Strong Communities at the State House to provide legislators and community leaders the opportunity to learn from successful out-of-state healthy food financing models that have not only increased access to healthy foods, but also have improved economies through the creation of jobs. These success stories speak to how Massachusetts would benefit from successful implementation of the Massachusetts Food Trust Program that was established by the legislature in 2014. Read on
transpoGovernor Baker Releases Report on MBTA- Reform and Revenue Needed
On April 8, 2015, Governor Charlie Baker and the Governor's Special Panel to Review the MBTA released Back on Track: An Action Plan to Transform the MBTA. The report identified that "the catastrophic winter breakdowns were symptomatic of structural problems that require fundamental change in virtually all aspects of the MBTA". It went on to declare that urgent work is needed, both reform and revenue are crucial to get the MBTA back on track. The MBTA suffers from chronic underfunding and severe structural problems. The Special Panel outlined a course of action to improve Massachusetts' transportation system, including formation of a new leadership board to oversee the MBTA. Read on
SIFDr. David Williams Addresses Racial Health Disparities at MPHA Talk
On March 23rd, MPHA hosted a Social Issue Talk as part of our role as a Root Cause 2015 Social Innovator. MPHA was honored to have Dr. David Williams of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health speak. Dr. David Williams is one of the world's leading scholars on the social determinants of health and the impact of institutional racism on health outcomes. He is also a former recipient of MPHA's Lemuel Shattuck Award. The talk was extremely well attended and thought-provoking. We are excited to take what we learned and move forward to advance health equity and combat racism in Massachusetts. Read on
Ounce of Prevention 2015, MPHA Joins Conversation to Advance Health Equity
On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, MPHA joined public health organizations and professionals from across the state at Ounce of Prevention: Working Together for Healthier Families. This annual statewide public health conference is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and aims to bring together a wide range of stakeholders in support of healthier and more equitable communities in Massachusetts. MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz moderated a panel titled "Getting Health in All Policies at the Local Level". Rebekah was joined by Michelle Ciccolo (Hudson Community Development Director), Carolyn Misch (Senior Planner for the City of Northampton), DJ Wilson (Tobacco Control Director and Public Health Liaison for the Massachusetts Municipal Association), and Mayor Lisa A. Wong of Fitchburg. Together they explored how cities and towns can incorporate health considerations in local policy to ultimately improve health outcomes. Read on
WMHEN Works with MPHA to Determine Advocacy Effort Priorities
On April 1, 2015, MPHA joined forces with the Western Mass Health Equity Network (WMHEN) to determine which areas of MPHA's new Policy Agenda WMHEN would focus on to advance health equity in Western MA. After learning about and discussing several policy priorities that could help improve health equity in Western MA, nearly 150 people from the region shared their preferences via online and in-person polls. WMHEN selected the following advocacy effort priorities to focus on during this legislative session: adopt Medicaid state plan amendment to reimburse for community-based prevention, including Community Health Worker (CHW) services and support roll-out of the CHW Certification Program; secure financing for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program, and establish an Office of Rural Affairs within the MA Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development based on a White Paper on Rural Housing Issues in MA. Read on
Public Health Happenings
Public Health events & opportunities open to you!

4.6.15 - 4.12.15: National Public Health Week (NPHW) .   Look for events in your community and learn more about the initiative here.

4.15.15: 2nd Annual MPHA Day at Fenway . See you for an afternoon Sox vs. Nat ionals game in honor of National Public Health Week!

4.16.15: 7th Annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Day. This event will take place on April 16 between 10 am and 2 pm at the State House's Great Hall. Please click here for more information.

4.22.15: YWCA Stand Against Racism Event. DPH Commissioner Dr. Bharel will be speaking. Conference goes from 12:30 - 1:30 pm. Learn more and register here.

4.30.15: Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Keeping Current Seminar Series. The Use of Interpreters by Physicians for Hospitalized Limited English Proficient Patients and Its Impact on Patient Outcomes. 1:30 - 2:30 pm. Learn more and register here.  

5.1.15: Massachusetts Transportation Summit: Fixing What we Have, Building What we Need. Join T4MA for the first-ever statewide transportation summit at the DCU Center. Discounted registration through 4/17. Learn more here

5.7.15: 10th Annual New England TB Clinician's Conference. This conference is designed for clinicians who diagnose and treat persons with TB infection and disease. Physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners are welcome to attend. Learn more and register here.

5.10.15 - 5.13.15: Public Health & Disasters Conference . Hosted by the University of Utah School of Medicine. Park City Marriott, Park City, UT.  Learn more and register here .

6.2.15 & 6.3.15: Latino Challenges in the Struggle Against Racism. Explore the impact of racial disparities and how we can work together to achieve racial equity. Held in Boston. Register by May 27th. Lean more here.

6.5.15: MPHA's 13th Annual Awards Breakfast: Our Health, Our Future. The event will take place from 8:30 - 10:30 am at the State Room, Boston, MA. Register 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.