Massachusetts Public Health Association
Action for Equity in Health   
June 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

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

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Thank you for making the 13th Annual Spring Awards Breakfast held at the State Room on Friday, June 5th, a huge success! We hope you were as inspired as we were by the four extraordinary public health heroes honored this year: Max Fripp, Ben Wood, Jose Rivera, and Renee Boynton-Jarrett. Check out pictures from the event. There is still time to make a donation if you haven't already. Click here to support our work.


Every year this event gives us more energy and momentum to dig deeper into the public health issues facing all of our communities and find solutions. You can continue to make a difference TODAY by contacting your legislators about important public health line items in the state Conference Budget - like preserving $250,000 the senate budget included for Mass in Motion, language supporting the Massachusetts Food Trust, and the effort to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, among other key priorities. Read on below for all the details.


We also proudly unveiled our new logo and website at the Breakfast and we look forward to better and even more accessible communications with you as we further implement our strategic plan. 


Thank you for all you do,





Rebekah Gewirtz

Executive Director 

actionTake Action: Public Health Priorities at Risk in Final Stages of State Budget
A six-member Conference Committee begins deliberations this week on the state's fiscal year 2016 budget. The Conference Committee will decide the final funding levels for public health programs and the fate of important policies contained in the budget.

Top Priorities include:
  • Adopt Senate funding and language for Mass in Motion (within 4513-1111) at $250,000 in dedicated funds and $3,902,386 in overall line item funding.
  • Adopt Senate language for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program (within 7007-0300).
  • Adopt House funding and Senate language for the State Laboratory and Communicable Disease Control Services (4516-1000) at $13,700,641.
  • Adopt Senate language increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (S1930, sections 31C through 31G).
  • Adopt Senate language closing the tax loophole on flavored cigars (S1930, sections 34A and 105T).

Read on to learn more about each of these priorities and how you can contact your Representative and Senator to take action for public health today. 

Media Highlights Need to Fund Massachusetts Food Trust Program

The Massachusetts Food Trust Program, established in the legislature in 2014, would provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to support new and expanded healthy food retailers and local food enterprises in low and moderate income communities. Securing financing for this program is a priority for MPHA. Over 1 million Massachusetts residents do not have adequate access to affordable food retailers.


News outlets across the state are drawing attention to the significance of this program. The Lowell Sun, The Boston Globe, and The Springfield Republican each published articles highlighting the need for this program.

Read on
Call to Action: Support Funding for BSAS/DPH to Combat Opioid Overdose Epidemic in MA

Funding is critically needed to provide a greater investment in addiction services in order to address the ongoing epidemic of opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts. In 2014, over 1,000 Massachusetts residents died as a result of opioid overdose. MPHA, as part of the Massachusetts Coalition for Addiction Services (MCAS), is asking you to contact your legislator to secure critical funding for the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) as part of the Department of Public Health (DPH). Read on

Rebekah Gewirtz to Speak at Healthy People, Healthy Economy Release Event

Healthy People, Healthy Economy: A Five-Year Review and Five Priorities for the Future is being released by The Boston Foundation on Tuesday, June 16th. In honor of the release, a keynote and panel discussion will be held. MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz will be one of the panelists. 


This report looks back at the Commonwealth's progress to date in adopting policies that support healthier living in Massachusetts. The report also highlights five focus areas for policymakers, noting that progress in these critical areas will help move the Commonwealth closer to the Healthy People/Healthy Economy Initiative's goal of making Massachusetts the preeminent state for health and wellness.

lookMPHA Has a New Look!
MPHA proudly unveiled its new logo and website at the 13th Annual Spring Awards Breakfast on Friday, June 5th. The new logo is a modernized version of MPHA's previous logo and better conveys our commitment to action and includes our new tagline: Action for Equity in Health. The new website,, integrates with our blog and provides visitors with easy access to current fact sheets and information about upcoming events and advocacy opportunities. Please explore the new website and let us know what you think!
New Bedford Receives Grant to Bolster Food Security
New Bedford, MA, is the recipient of $39,000 to increase food security and advance the Sustaining New Bedford Plan goals by promoting use of the SNAP benefits program at city farmers' markets and enhancing engagement with community gardens. Increased food security means residents will have better access to healthy foods, lowering rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. Grocery stores, farmers' markets, and community gardens are all ways to help connect residents to healthier foods and SNAP benefits are essential to affordability. Read on
New Initiative Promotes Collaboration to Improve Children's Health Outcomes 

Health Starts at Home is a new initiative from The Boston Foundation bringing together housing and health-care organizations to support work that focuses on the positive benefits of stable, affordable housing on children's health outcomes.

This four-year initiative supports partnerships among housing and health care organizations with the goal of:

  • highlighting the importance of affordable housing in children's health outcomes;
  • identifying promising new and existing models for partnership that can be brought to scale to improve children's health outcomes;
  • decreasing health care costs; and
  • decreasing costs related to homelessness
Read on
Public Health Happenings
Public Health events & opportunities open to you!

6.10.15: Social Innovation Forum "Second Look" 2015 Social Innovators, including MPHA, will present organizational pitches. The event will be held from 8:00 - 9:30 am at 11 Avenue de Lafayette in Boston. This event is free and open to the community. RSVP to

6.15.15: Bridging the Clinic-to-Community Gap. Hosted by Old Colony YMCA/Massachusetts State Alliance from 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM at the Shaw's Center in Brockton. All our welcome to attend. RSVP to Leah Serafin at

6.16.15: Healthy People/Healthy Economy: A Five-Year Review and Five Priorities for the Future. Hosted by The Boston Foundation from 8:30 am - 10:30 am. Learn more and register  here

6.16.15: Press conference at the State House in support of increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit. 11:30am. Details evolving. Contact Rebekah Gewirtz at for more information.

6.24.15 & 6.28.15: Society for Community Research and Action Summer Institute . Professional Development Workshops on Community Practice Competencies. All sessions will take place at UMass Lowell. More information here .

7.20.15: Letters of Intent due for The Tufts Health Plan Foundation for its Policy and Advocacy cycle of community investments. 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.