Summer 2019

Happy Summer! Despite the heat - and the rain - we have been hard at work this month and have a lot of news to share.
MPHA is excited to announce that Ronnie Galvin, Vice President of Engaged Practice at the Democracy Collaborative, will be the keynote speaker at our Annual Conference & Expo on November 13th! More information about Ronnie and his work can be found below.
We are also pleased to report that the Joint Committee on Public Health has favorably reported out the State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Act, and that the state's Fiscal Year 20 budget has passed! MPHA and our partners were at least partly successful on all of our six priorities, and there are also a number of other public health wins included in the budget. Read on for specifics.
Last month we shared good news regarding the first projects funded through the Massachusetts Food Trust Program. Below you will find four new, exciting projects that have received awards.
And earlier this month, members of the  Alliance for Community Health Integration, including MPHA, published an Op-Ed in Commonwealth Magazine praising Boston area hospitals, the city's community health centers, community organizations, and the Boston Public Health Commission, who have formed a city-wide collaborative to do community health assessment and planning together. We believe this collaborative can serve as a model and offered three recommendations for shared investments, measurement and accountability as the process moves forward.
Finally, MPHA is looking for a part-time Policy Associate  to be based in our Boston office. Please share the word to help us fill this important position!
Thank you for your continued partnership in working for greater health equity,

Carlene Pavlos
Executive Director
Policy Notes
Moving Towards Public Health Excellence

In June, the Joint Committee on Public Health favorably reported out the State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Act (S1294/H1935). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hannah Kane, Rep. Denise Garlick, and Sen. Jason Lewis, creates the State Action for Public Health Excellence Program, which will advance the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health , which recently released its final report . Recommendations will help municipalities to more effectively safeguard our food, water and air quality; ensure safe and healthy housing conditions; control communicable diseases, and meet other public health obligations. The bill provides increased training opportunities for municipal staff, provides incentives for municipalities to share services, and lays the groundwork for nationally aligned local public health standards.

The SAPHE Act is now in the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. To learn more about SAPHE, click here . To sign on as an endorser, click here .
Public Health & Equity Wins in FY20 State Budget

On July 22, the Legislature sent the FY20 State budget to Governor Charlie Baker. With the help  of many partners, MPHA achieved a number of successes, including:

1.  State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE):  $500,000 in new funding to support implementation of the recom mendations  m ade by the Special Commission on Local & Regional Public Health
2. Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program:
$2.7 million in new funding to prevent and respond to cases of childh ood lead poisoning. Additionally, funding will allow DPH to re-institute a proactive prevention program working with medical providers, landlords, housi ng authorities, and others to promote screening and reporting of blood lead levels, support testi ng and remediation of hazards, and combat housing discrimination.

3. Closing the SNAP Gap:  $1 million in new funding for a pilot project to continue closing the SNAP Gap . The SNAP gap refers to approximately 700,000 people who are receiving Mass Health and likely eligible for SNAP, but aren't signed up to receive SNAP benefits. 
4. Healthy Incentives Program:  $6.5 million for this important program to help SNAP recipients have more affordable access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables - which also helps local farmers!

5. MA Rental Voucher Program:  $110 million to provide housing stability and security to more than 8,300 low-income households, including elders, disabled individuals, and families with children. This is an increase of $10 million over last year.

6. Mass in Motion:  Level funding from the state to maintain community-based efforts to increase opportunities for healthy eating and active living.

7. Regional Transit Authorities:  A $5 million increase in base funding, bringing us closer to full funding and protecting against service cuts. There is also $3.5M in discretionary funding for the MA Department of Transportation to award to Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs). RTAs are a lifeline for low-income people, those with disabilities, and the elderly, many of whom rely on local public transit to access jobs, medical care, and food.

New Food Trust Awards

The MA Food Trust Program (MFTP) has announced four new awards of low-interest loans, grants, and/ or technical assistance to increase access to healthy, affordable food:

1. Coastal Foodshed (CFS), a nonprofit based in New Bedford (Bristol County), which will receive business assistance with help from the MFTP to start a regional food hub in Southeastern MA with the support of the Southeastern MA Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP).

2. Stop and Compare Market, a family-owned ethnic food retailer with stores in Chelsea and Lynn. The Lynn location will use the MFTP award to expand its produce section and allow for a long-overdue upgrade to the store's fa├žade and windows. 

3. Oasis Community Partners, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., which received funding to expand their Good Food Markets (GFM) grocery store chain to the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.

4. The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center , which was awarded funds by the MFTP to support its local farmers' market. Since 2008, the East Boston Farmers' Market (EBFM) has been an outlet for the Health Center to increase food access and combat food insecurity for patients and their families. In the neighborhood where the market operates, more than 37% of the residents live below the poverty line.

To see more information about each project, as well as the first six projects awarded in June, click here.



Ronnie Galvin to Keynote MPHA Annual Conference

MPH A is proud to announce that Ronnie Galvin , Vice President of Engaged Practice at the Democ racy Collaborative , will be the keynote speaker at our Annual Conference & Expo on November 13, 2019! 
Ronnie has committed his life's work to community building, community organizing, and social change. His current work focuses on fostering racial equity, building community wealth and creating a new economic system anchored in democratic ownership.

We hope you will join us on November 13th at the  DCU Center in Worcester for an inspiring and important presentation on the intersection of community wealth building, racial justice, and health equity. Early bird tickets go on sale in August - so stay tuned! For more information or to discuss becoming an exhibitor, contact MPHA Development and Events Manager Alexa Piacenza at .

Save the Date

Save the date for the Western MA Transportation Forum: How Do We Get There from Here? Featuring a keynote address by Senator Eric Lesser, the gathering will be held on Friday, September 13, 2019, at the Northampton Center for the Arts from 9 A.M. to 12 Noon. For more information, to suggest a speaker or volunteer to share your work, contact Laura Sylvester at .


MPHA is Hiring!
MPHA is looking for a part-time Policy Associate to be based in our Boston office at 50 Federal Street. The ideal candidate is a proactive, detail-oriented person, driven to constantly learn new things and to build and strengthen relationships with MPHA partners and coalition members.

MPHA is an equal opportunity employer committed to a workplace that reflects the diversity of the people of Massachusetts. We encourage people of color to apply. For the full job description and application instructions,
click here . Please share and help us find someone great to join the MPHA staff!
Health Equity Funding Opportunity
Is your organization or municipality looking to advance health equity in Massachusetts? Join staff from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Health Resources in Action to learn about two exciting new Massachusetts funds focused on community health and health equity: The Statewide Community Health Initiative Fund and the Healthy Aging Fund. Three webinars on August 13, 14 and 15 will provide information about who is eligible to apply and what may be considered for funding. For more information, click here .
OpEd Praises Citywide Collaboration
Earlier this month members of the Alliance for Community Health Integration, including MPHA, published an Op-Ed in Commonwealth Magazine praising Boston area hospitals, the city's community health centers, community organizations, and the Boston Public Health Commission who have formed a city-wide collaborative to do community health assessment and planning together.
We are thrilled that Boston hospitals are working collaboratively to identify the most pressing health challenges facing the city, because d ata shows that most of what drives health outcomes are social and  economic factors - access to stable housing, exposure to violence, income, educational op portunities, and access to healthy food.
To continue the progress made through this collaboration, hospitals should 1) move beyond collaborative planning and pool resources to tackle common challenges, 2) identify clear measures to assess the impact of these investments, including the impact on racial equity, and 3) provide true accountability to the residents of Boston neighborhoods that bear the brunt of health inequities and social injustice.

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