Massachusetts Public Health Association
Action for Equity in Health   
May 2016
In This Issue:


Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn 

The 2016 Spring Awards Breakfast is Three Weeks Away!
Click here to reserve your spot today and here to sponsor the breakfast. 


This month, in addition to making significant strides in our campaign for the Massachusetts Food Trust, we  received recognition for our advocacy and organizing work from two important organizations, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) and The Boston Foundation.

MPHA is honored to be a finalist for MNN's 2016 Award in Advocacy. I am also proud to announce that MPHA has received a three-year grant from The Boston Foundation. 
I would like to thank you, our members for your ongoing support which is integral to our success. Recognition for MPHA is recognition for our coalition partners and our members! 

The MPHA Spring Awards Breakfast is three weeks away!   We have a wonderful event planned, including special guests  Attorney General Maura Healey and Congressman Jim McGovern , as well as DPH Commissioner Monica Bharel. Check out our fantastic honorees here. Sponsor the event or purchase tickets below.  Thank you to our incredible sponsors to date!

Read below for important updates on MPHA policy priorities, MPHA's May 12 Forum on Marijuana Policy and other public health news

Thank you for everything you do and for being a part of our movement for social justice and health equity!


Rebekah Gewirtz
Executive Director
MPHA UpdatesUpcomingMPHAEvents
MMNMPHA is a Finalist for the Excellence in Advocacy Award by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network
MPHA is thrilled to be among the finalists for  Massachusetts Nonprofit Network's 2016 Excellence in Advocacy Award. MNN regards their finalists as, " the best-of-the-best in the sector." "We are honored to have been selected as a finalist for the MNN Excellence in Advocacy award.  Our success in advocacy is the power of our coalition work.  We are proud to work with so many fearless and hardworking community based partners who know the power of collective action to achieve results." said Rebekah Gewirtz, Executive Director of MPHA.   Read on.

Policy NotesPolicyNotes
MPHA Forum - Marijuana Legalization: Long Overdue  Criminal Justice Reform or  Public Health Threat?MJForum
May 12, 2016 | 8:00 - 10:00 am | Jaharis Behrakis Auditorium (Room 130),Tufts University School of Medicine,150 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA
Click above to view event flyer

The public discussion on the marijuana initiative expected to be on the ballot in November 2016 is heating up. Last month, Governor Charlie Baker and other local leaders announced a new campaign against the legalization of marijuana. At the same time, the Boston Globe published an op ed by MPHA Forum Panelist, Dr. Kevin Hill, who argues that policymakers must focus on enacting sound marijuana policy. 

Join us on Thursday, May 12th for a panel discussion with experts who hold vastly different positions on the issue to hear their reasons why legalization is either a long overdue criminal justice reform or a threat to public health and public safety in Massachusetts. Moderated panel discussion will be followed by Q & A with the audience. 

This event is free but prior registration is required. Click here to register.
Speak up for the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment
  On May 18, 2016, the Massachusetts legislature will hold a constitutional convention otherwise known as a "con con" and will take up the  Fair Share Constitutional Amendment -a proposal that would dedicate upwards of $1.5 billion annually to improve two key social determinants of health: transportation and public education, while making the tax system more fair and equitable.

If you haven't done so already, please contact your state Senator and Representative and encourage them both to vote for the Fair Share Constitutional Amendment.  (And please let us know what  action you took!) Also join us in the State House, House Gallery on May 18th at 12:30pm to cheer for passage with other advocates working on the campaign.  Read on
HouseBudgetHouse Budget Advances Key Measures on Substance Abuse Prevention and Food Affordability
On April 27th, the House passed its version of the fiscal year 2017 budget, considering 1,300 amendments over 3 days. The final House budget contained several meaningful successes, including an amendment from Rep. Cantwell to create a   Promote Prevent Commission  to evaluate what works in the prevention of substance use disorder and behavioral health conditions. MPHA executive director, Rebekah Gewirtz testified at the hearing on this initiative. She argued that the work of this Commission is an essential compliment to the additional $2.4 million in substance abuse funding provided by the House, most of which is dedicated to much needed treatment resources. 

The budget was notably austere in most areas and provided very limited funds to other public health, housing, and environmental programs. Despite the tight budget, we built tremendous momentum around priority issues, including the 
MassDOT Commits $50m to Complete Streets in Major Capital Plan; Seeks Input on Funding Priorities
In a major victory for MPHA and allies, MassDOT has committed $50 million for the Complete Streets Funding Program to support municipalities to make streets safer and more accessible for transit riders, pedestrians, and cyclists. 

The funding is in MassDOT's draft $14 billion plan for capital investments in our state's transportation system over the next five years. This is an integrated plan that includes investments in all regions and all modes, from roads and bridges to public transit and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

The plan also provides for capital investments in the state's Regional Transit Authorities, which provide bus service to communities outside of greater Boston. We are pleased that for the first time, the plan uses a set of project selection criteria that evaluate proposed projects' contributions to goals like health, environmental, and equity (click here to read an OpEd from MPHA and the Conservation Law Foundation about this process) - though we hope MassDOT will be more transparent in the future about how these criteria impact funding proposals. Read on
Report Details Impact of Mass in Motion Program
Last week The Boston Foundation released a report, The Evolution of Mass in Motion: One State's Response to a National Epidemic," highlighting the successes of the Mass in Motion program, a statewide movement that works with municipalities, schools, child-care centers and businesses to promote opportunities for healthy eating and active living. Currently, there are 27 programs covering more than 60 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
MPHA has been integral in providing Technical Assistance to coordinators and advocating for funding for the program in the state budget. Mass in Motion communities have passed (or are in process of passing) 63 local policies related to complete streets, transportation plans, zoning or healthy community design and have advanced healthy food access program or policies in almost 350 sites.

Mass in Motion is funded by state, federal, and private dollars. Protecting state funding is a top budget priority of MPHA.
Click here to read our budget fact sheet, and get involved in protecting this important program!
Public Health NewsPubHealthNews
Heart on the Hill - May 23, 2016
May 23, 2016 | 11 am - 2 pm | Massachusetts State House

Advocate for healthy food access, opportunities for physical activity in schools, Complete Streets and other essential investments in public health at the American Heart Association's Heart on the Hill on May 23, 2016. 

A n advocacy training will be held and you will
have the opportunity for scheduled visits with your Representative and Senator (or their staff) to talk about American Heart Association legislative priorities, many of which are MPHA priorities too. Read on 
Massachusetts Health Council Conference: Our Workplaces & the Opioid Epidemic - June 16, 2016
June 16, 2016 | 8 am - 12 pm | Westin Waltham
On Jun 16, 2016, the Massachusetts Health Council is hosting a conference on for the business community on opioids in the workplace. Our Workplaces and the Opioid Epidemic: what we need to know, what we need to do is a response to requests made to the Massachusetts Health Council from management and executives for practical, focused information and action strategies on opioid addiction in the workplace. Read on
Orientation to Local Public Health in Massachusetts - June 21, 2016
June 21, 2016 | 8:30 am - 3 pm | Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Boylston MA
The Coalition for Local Public Health, of which MPHA is a member organization, is hosting an Orientation to Local Public Health in Massachusetts on June 21, 2016. The orientation is for staff and governing body members from local and regional public health agencies. Attendees will learn about public health service delivery and community health activities in Massachusetts, gather ideas to advance public health goals and network with other local, regional, and state health professionals. The Coalition for Local Public Health is made up of five member organizations including: MPHA, Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, Massachusetts Environmental Health Organization and Massachusetts Health Officers Association.

Date: June 21, 2016
Time: 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
Location: Tower Hill Botanical Garden, 11 French Drive Boylston, MA 01505

There is no registration fee but space is limited.  Email Ruth-Ellen Sandler and include word Orientation in the subject line. 
Upcoming Public Health Events  

5.16 - 5.17.16: The Summit on Race and Equity: A Call to Government and Community. More info and registration, here
5.23.16: Taking Community ACTION on Health Disparities A Critical MASS Toolkit Community Leadership Training.  Madison Park Village - Smith House, Roxbury, MA. More info and registration, here

5.23.16: Early Childhood Education Symposium: Stimulating a vibrant local economy. Hosted by Project LEARN, Inc. More info and registration, here.

Spotlight: Spring Awards Breakfast Speakers

These two leaders will join us at MPHA's Spring Awards Breakfast on June 3, 2016 and share their work to reduce health inequities in Massachusetts

Welcoming Remarks:   Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General

Attorney General Maura Healey will join MPHA at the Spring Awards Breakfast to give the welcoming remarks to the honorees and guests. Maura Healey became Massachusetts Attorney General in January 2015. 

Since taking office, AG Healey has tackled public health issues touching the lives of residents across Massachusetts including the heroin and prescription drug epidemic, escalating health care costs, human rights, and violence prevention.  She has worked to ensure that every woman in the state has access to reproductive health care regardless of where she lives, her occupation or her income.  And she has been a staunch advocate of enhancing the background check system on firearms to include information on recent restraining orders and any relationship to domestic violence.  

In addition, AG Healey is an advocate for a more equal and inclusive workplace, promoting health and wellbeing in her own office. In May 2015, she announced that her office would provide six weeks of paid family leave for all employees - making the AG's Office the first state agency to offer paid parental leave. The office has also helped shape state legislation that would expand opportunities for women in the workplace including Pay Equity and Pregnant Workers Fairness bills.
Read on

Award Presenter:   U.S. Congressman, Jim McGovern

Congressman McGovern joins MPHA in celebrating Donna Lombardi for her efforts in creating healthy food options in the Worcester School System and in the fight against hunger for youth in Massachusetts.

As a leading champion of the push to tackle poverty and end hunger, McGovern partnered with a broad range of elected leaders and advocacy organizations working to help the most vulnerable families in our communities. As a National leader on hunger, McGovern has kept the issue in the spotlight in Congress, calling for stronger investments to help the 48 million Americans who struggle with hunger every year. The Congressman actively speaks out about the costs of hunger and the devastating impact it can have on health outcomes. Read on
Thank You to our 14th Annual Spring Awards Breakfast Sponsors to date!Sponsors
Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Boston University School of Public Health
Bronze Sponsors

Association for Behavioral Healthcare
Beacon Strategies Group
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Cambridge Health Alliance
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Justice Resources Institute
Lahey Health
Massachusetts League of Community 
Health Centers
New England Dairy & Food Council
Tufts University School of Medicine

BMC Health Net Plan
Commonwealth Medicine/UMASS Medical School
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Friends of Brookline Health
G & L Labs
John Snow, Inc.
Mike & Michelle Keenan
The Boston Foundation
Nancy Turnbull


Alfred DeMaria, Jr.
Boston University School of Social Work
Citizens Housing and Planning Association
LUK, Inc.
Dr. Neil Maniar and Dr. Ami Bhatt
Novo Nordisk
Nutter McClennen & Fish, LLP
Sisters of Providence Health System
University of Massachusetts Amherst, School of Public Health
Geoff Wilkinson and Sally Johnson

The Awards Breakfast is an opportunity for the public health community to come together and salute our partners, celebrate our accomplishments, reconnect with colleagues  and energize ourselves for the advocacy we do to promote social justice and reduce health inequity.
Help us celebrate these champions
while supporting MPHA!
We invite you to honor the awardees with a sponsorship of the event, by purchasing a program greeting or by buying a table.

To sponsor use the link above or please contact 
Michele McQuillen, 
Events Manager
(857) 263-7072, Ext. 107

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.