August 2018

Earlier this summer, a rising Sophomore at Smith College in Northampton was enjoying lunch on campus when police informed her that she had  been reported by a college employee as a suspicious person, as someone who was "out of place." This is just one of many recent examples of the way people of color, especially Black Americans, are targeted and deemed suspect -- even dangerous -- while simply going about their lives.

The public health impacts of racism are many, including increasing  chronic stress  through repeated experiences of racial discrimination, as well as limiting access to social determinants of health, such as quality housing and education. 

This is why combating racism in all its forms is a priority for MPHA. MPHA uses a Health Equity Framework to identify policy priorities that will markedly reduce racial health inequities and to guide us in our commitment to advancing racial justice in all aspects of our work. We are grateful to our members and partners who are just as committed and who work alongside us every day to make racial equity a reality. 

The 2017-2018 formal legislative session ended on July 31st. I want to take a moment to recognize a few of our successes this year including securing funding for the Massachusetts Food Trust, helping to pass a minimum wage increase and Paid Family Medical Leave, and successfully advocating for MPHA priority programs in the  FY19 state budgetI look forward to partnering with you to achieve many more successes in the year to come! 

Save the date: MPHA's Annual Meeting will be on Thursday, November 15th at the DCU Center in Worcester. 

Thank you for all that you do for justice and health equity. 

In partnership,
Carlene Pavlos
Executive Director
Policy Notes PNotes
Legislature Unable to Reach Agreement on Health Care Before Close of Formal Session: PWTF Funding Derailed

MPHA is very disappointed to report that the House and Senate were unable to reach agreement on health care policy before the close of the formal legislative session, leaving the  Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF)  without funding at the close of the session on Tuesday, July 31st. Both chambers included strong PWTF language and funding in their respective health care bills, however  lack of agreement on the overall bill  meant that nothing advanced before the session came to a close at the end of last month. 
Despite this disappointment, we are incredibly proud of the fact that we built a near-unanimous consensus among legislative leaders and the public health and health care communities about the value and importance of PWTF. This would not have been possible without the support of House and Senate champions and allies: Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Aaron Vega, the lead sponsors of the bill; Sens. Harriette Chandler and Jim Welch; House Public Health Chairwoman Kate Hogan; House Majority Leader Ron Mariano; Rep. Tackey Chan; and Sen. Julian Cyr. It would also not have been possible without a coalition of more than 100 organizations from every corner of the state who worked together to promote the value of prevention in health care reform.
MPHA will continue this work in the next legislative session; and we will not be starting from scratch. We have built tremendous consensus on the need for PWTF and MPHA and our allies will be building upon that momentum as we move forward.
budgetFinal FY19 Budget Strong in Public Health Protections

On Thursday, July 26th, Governor Baker signed the FY19 budget maintaining or expanding core funding for MPHA priority programs. While Governor Baker did veto some earmarks within a few of these programs, those vetoes were overridden by the legislature.

The final FY19 budget includes increased funding for the Bureau of Environmental Health and the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, level funding for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program and Mass in Motion Program, and increased funding for key social determinants of health including housing and transportation. It also includes language and funding for a new Office of Health Equity and funds environmental justice staff under the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

In addition, the FY19 budget includes language that will ensure the availability of MassHealth data about screening and interventions related to the social determinants of health (SDOH). This data is essential to understand the activities, successes, and challenges of ACOs and social service providers in responding to these needs. It will also allow the public to assess the availability of social services and identify any gaps that may exist by region, population, or service type. Click here to learn about MPHA's work on addressing the social determinants of health through health care. 

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Upcoming Event events
Audience member asks a question to the panel at MPHA's 2017 Annual Meeting
Save the Date: MPHA 2018 Annual Meeting will be on November 15th

Mark your calendar: MPHA's 2018 Annual Meeting will be on Thursday, November 15th at the DCU Center in Worcester

Stay tuned for announcements on the program and registration. Not a member of MPHA? Join now and save on your admittance. 
Massachusetts Public Health Association | (857) 263-7072 | |