Massachusetts Public Health Association
Action for Equity in Health
I sit writing this letter as our first snowstorm of the year winds down, hoping that you and your families are enjoying the magic of winter. I am also writing this on Giving Tuesday and realizing that each of you has many choices about who you will support this year. As noted below, we hope you will consider giving to MPHA as we, our allies, and our members work towards a Commonwealth marked by increasing health equity and racial justice.
This is a busy time of year for everyone, and MPHA's staff is no exception. Following our successful annual conference on November 13, we have continued to work on critical policy issues, including: increasing access to vegetables and fruits for SNAP beneficiaries by promoting enactment of the Healthy Incentives Program in state statute; supporting the ban on flavored tobacco products; addressing exemptions for childhood vaccination; and supporting a new and creative strategy to address childhood lead poisoning.
We are also in the process of hiring a Development and Communications Manager and are seeking a student intern for the Spring semester. Please share these announcements to help us attract the best candidates!
As we approach the end of 2019 and enter a new decade, the staff of MPHA wants to wish each of you a joyous holiday season and New Year. We are so lucky to be part of a movement for greater health and health equity with all of you, and we could not be more grateful for your support.
In this season of giving, MPHA
hopes you will consider supporting our efforts to create health and well-being across our Commonwealth by addressing the root causes of health. Your partnership enables us to continue working to ensure that all residents have access to healthy food, public transportation, and safe, affordable housing and that our health care system supports greater health equity. Together, we can create the kind of public health infrastructure and prevention-oriented policies that will give everyone in our Commonwealth the opportunity to thrive. To make a gift,
Flavored Tobacco Products Banned!
In an exciting step forward, Governor Charlie Baker has
signed An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control! The new law will
help protect kids from addiction by banning
all flavored tobacco products, including menthol
cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other va
This law also adds a 75% excise tax for e-cigarettes and vape products and ensures access to cessation services. We are grateful to bill sponsors
State Senator John F. Keenan and Representative Danielle Gregoire
, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka, and Governor Baker for their leadership!
Take Action to Support the Healthy Incentives Program
In November, MPHA
provided testimony to the
Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities in support of S48/H145, An Act Relative to an Agricultural Healthy Incentives Program. This bill would make the successful Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) permanent by enacting it into statute.
HIP provides incentives to households enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers at farmers' markets and other locations. H
elp stand up for public health by contacting your elected representatives and voicing support for this bill
! Click here t
o read MPHA's testimony
to find your state legislator!
Support Stronger Childhood Vaccination Laws
On December 3, MPHA -- along with the MA League of Community Health Centers, MA Health and Hospital Association, MA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, MA Medical Society, and other allies -- testified before the Joint Committee on Public Health in support of strengthening requirements for childhood vaccination in Massachusetts. MPHA is strongly supporting H3999, An Act Relative To Vaccinations and Public Health, sponsored by Representative Andy Vargas. Representative Vargas's testimony was eloquent and passionate as he explained the need to remove the religious exemption for vaccines in order to protect all of the children in our state, especially those who are most vulnerable. We are grateful for his public health leadership. Click here to view our testimony. To add your voice in support of H3999, contact the co-chairs of the Public Health Committee, Senator Jo Comerford at Jo.Comerford@masenate.gov and Representative John Mahoney at John.Mahoney@mahouse.gov.
Legislative Breakfast on Transportation Policy
Fri, January 10, 8-10:30 am, Lawrence
MPHA is pleased to announce the first of three Legislative Breakfasts on transportation and older adults. Join us on January 10 in Lawrence, MA, where we will be gathering with seniors, elected officials, community leaders, transportation program managers, advocates, and others to discuss transportation options and needs. This free event will review current state transportation programs, identify future policy priorities, and address regional and local efforts. To register, click here
or call 857-930-4369.
Annual Conference Materials Available
Thanks to the more than 250 public health advocates who attended MPHA's Annual Conference & Expo on November 13! The day featured an inspiring and thought-provoking keynote address by Ronnie Galvin, Vice President for Racial Equity and the Democratic Economy at the Democracy Collaborative, on the intersection of community wealth building, racial justice, and health equity! Click here
to view photos, the agenda, and
slides from several of the presentations. Special thanks to our generous sponsors!
MPHA is Hiring!
MPHA is looking for a Development and Communications Manager to join our team. This is a new position and will be focused on ensuring that MPHA has the resources to pursue its mission and that our messaging and materials emerge from our values and engage a wide range of stakeholders. We believe that our ongoing success depends on a diversity of lived experiences and talents as we strive for greater health equity in Massachusetts. Racial equity is a core component of our work, and we are particularly focused on recruiting and retaining a racially diverse staff. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, click here.
MPHA Calls for Lead Lawsuit
MPHA is pleased to announce that we have joined forces with Lawyers for Civil Rights and 40 public health, civil rights, and community-based organizations and leaders to issue an
to Attorney General Maura Healey urging her to file a lawsuit against lead paint companies. Our coalition is asking Attorney General Healey to follow the recent example set in California, where ten cities and counties successfully sued lead paint manufacturers to fund the removal of lead paint in their jurisdictions. The open letter cites ample evidence that paint companies marketed lead paint for residential use with full knowledge that it would cause devastating and irreversible harm to young children. Thousands of children in Massachusetts have been lead poisoned as a result. To learn more about MPHA's work to prevent lead poisoning, and to read the letter to Attorney General Healey, click here.
Intern with MPHA!
MPHA is seeking a graduate/advanced college student to serve as an intern in our Boston office, assisting with our policy and advocacy work during the upcoming semester. Each intern will act as the lead on one or more projects, including researching policy priorities, supporting State House advocacy, designing training activities and more. Please share this post with your networks to help us attract qualified candidates! For the full job description, click here.
Transportation and Public Health in the News
Decades of underinvestment in transportation have now reached a crisis point across the Commonwealth. In Western Massachusetts, MPHA is proud of our partners who are highlighting the connection between investing in public transportation and improving public health. Recently, an opinion editorial by
Berkshire Interfaith Organizing
ran in The Berkshire Eagle
, pointing out that
Berkshire County residents spend a larger percentage of their income on transportation and housing than any other region in the state, and calling for major public transportation investments, both locally and statewide. Another
opinion editorial by
Community Action Pioneer Valley, the Public Health Institute of Western MA, and the Western MA Network to End Homelessness
ran in the Springfield Republican
calling on elected officials to raise the gas tax to fund the investments needed in the region and the state, and to do so in an equitable manner. To learn more about MPHA's transportation priorities, click here