Issue 1
October 2015
Welcome to the first issue of the Let's Get Healthy, Boston! newsletter. Let's Get Healthy, Boston! is part of the national Partnership to Improve Community Health (PICH), a three-year $5.4 million project funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support implementation of voluntary policy and systems changes to encourage Bostonians to make healthy choices. Boston was one of the 40 communities to receive funding in September 2014.
Let's Get Healthy, Boston! is a collaboration of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH), and more than 20 city agencies, community based organizations and coalitions.
Our specific goals for a Healthy Boston are:
  • Access to Healthy Food and Beverage Access 
  • Active Transit (Walking and Biking)
  • Smoke-Free Homes
Welcome to the movement! We hope this newsletter is a useful tool to keep up-to-date on our work and see where we can work together towards your organizational, community or personal wellness goals.
Healthy Community Champions 
A key part of the Let's Get Healthy, Boston! strategy for change is mobilizing community members to be grassroots ambassadors and educators in their neighborhoods. Healthy Community Champ
ions (HCCs) were recruited by community-based organizations and coalitions that are familiar with the residents, resources and culture of their individual neighborhoods.  In addition to contributing to the specific goals of  Let's Get Healthy, Boston! , the HCC program will build a sustainable and vital network of community residents trained in 
public health approaches to building healthier communities.
The Healthy Community Champions initiative helps to widen the impact of Let
's Get Healthy, Boston!
and increase community ownership of the project. The Champions received a total of 30 hours of classroom instruction and additional on-site, topic-specific training. By equipping Champions with tools and knowledge, the training series has provided a strong foundation for the work to come.  
Let's Get Healthy, Boston! 
Launch Event  
On Saturday September 19 the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and The Boston Alliance for Community Health (BACH) hosted the Let's Get Healthy, Boston! launch event at the Roxbury YMCA. Over 300 Boston residents, along with the BPHC's Interim Executive Director Dr. Huy Nguyen, Congressman Michael Capuano, Chief of Health an d Human Services Felix Arroyo, Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson and Esther Medina and Vivian Ortiz from our Healthy Community Champion (HCC) team attended the celebration.
The Let's Get Healthy, Boston! launch celebrated  the work the project has accomplished so far, especially our Healthy Community Champions. It provided a space for partners, neighborhood residents, and Champions to network and have fun. The event included interactive activities, resources related to accessing food and beverages, promoting smoke-free homes and active transportation. The event also included activities for children, music, and healthy food. Attendees shopped for fruits and vegetables from the Fresh Truck and shared why they want to live in smoke-free homes. 

The BPHC Injury Prevention program also fitted adults and children for bike helmets and gave away 70 helmets. The Boston Cyclist Union trained residents on bike repair. Through a bike rodeo children learned the basic skills and tips to ride bikes safely and in a Safe Routes to School activity, children learned how to walk safely from and to school. Guests were educated on how to add flavor by infusing their water with fresh fruit and herbs; they also received resources and education on the risks of  sugar sweetened beverages. 

To learn more about the Let's Get Healthy, Boston! Launch Event,  check out our  recent  HERE!
Active Transit 
The Healthy Community Champions are also addressing bicycling equity by working with their community-based organizations to increase subsidized memberships for Hubway throughout their neighborhoods. Although a number of neighborhoods do not have Hubway stations, Champions are encouraging their residents to use Hubway in other parts of the city where stations are more available. Champions are also organizing resident support to build the Hubway network in their neighborhoods and engaging community businesses to support new stations. For more information about the Hubway subsidized membership please click HERE.


Let's Get Healthy, Boston! supports multiple biking initiatives through our partners, Boston Bikes and the Boston Cyclists Union (BCU). The lack of bike repair shops in many neighborhoods of color is an equity issue for local residents who bike. Through BCU's Bike to Market bicyclists can bring their bikes to weekly farmers' markets. An additional bike repair resource will be Boston Bikes' Keep It Rolling. This program plans to offer free bike inspections, tune-ups, and basic repairs for all bikes. For more information about the Keep It Rolling program, contact:


To learn more about active transportation and its role in improving health, check out our recent Active Transportation blog post!

Healthy Food Access

Farmers' market season is still in full swing; all neighborhood farmers markets are open through October!  Boston residents are able to visit their local farmers markets for fresh fruits, vegetables and fish. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/Electronic Benefit Transfer (SNAP/EBT) users are able to save up to $10 with Boston Bounty Bucks (BBB). The program helps to make healthy food more affordable by providing a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $10 per day, each time a SNAP recipient shops at a participating farmers market. The BBB program was started in 2008 with just seven markets participating and a total of $2,300 in sales. Since then, the program has grown considerably: in 2014 SNAP customers purchased over $190,000 in fresh, healthy, local food at 22 participating markets citywide.


To support the ongoing growth of BBB, Let's Get Healthy, Boston! is collaborating with the Mayor's Office of Food Initiatives to launch a new digital system. This summer, six farmers markets are part of a pilot program that can be expanded over time. This system will enable more seamless processing of SNAP and Bounty Bucks transactions at participating farmers markets - reducing stigma for the customer, reducing administrative burdens, and ensuring compliance with program guidelines. The pilot is already showing signs of success and we look forward to reporting results at the close of the season.


To learn more about Let's Get Healthy, Boston!'s efforts to improve access to healthy food in Boston's neighborhoods, check out our recent Healthy Food Access blog post!

Champion of the Month
Name:  Vernell Jordan  
Organization: Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative

Neighborhood: Roxbury/Dorchester

Topic Area: Healthy Food

Why did you become involved with the Healthy Community Champions (HCC) program?
"The goals and mission of the HCC program are in line with choices that I have already made in my life, and also with work that I do with my community and neighbors. Over the past year, my main focus has been on food growing (gardening/farming) learning and using organic and sustainable methods. I have found various ways to involve folks in that experience. My intentions have been to share my knowledge and experiences with community members as a way to help more people understand they can have more control over the quality of food they have access to by growing that food themselves."

So far, what have you enjoyed the most about being a Champion?
"Thus far the training has given me the opportunity to connect with other committed individuals throughout the city who are all concerned about the well-being and health of the people in their own neighborhoods.  I've gained a better understanding and insight about the different groups, institutions, individuals and organizations that all play a role in the policy, systems and environmental changes."

"I've experienced growth in my ability to be in the role of a community worker (Champion). I'm learning very useful skills that will enable me to adapt to the needs of the various situations/responsibilities that I will encounter. In these training workshops, I've met some really interesting individuals who are serious about their work."

As a Champion, what do you want to accomplish in your community through this work?
"As a Champion, I hope my work will help neighborhood residents and other community members become more informed about healthier lifestyle choices including the food and beverages they consume and also their activities.  I will continue my work related to getting people to be more interested in and excited about preparing and growing food.  Also, I look forward to neighborhood businesses making adjustments to respond to the community's needs for healthier produce and neighbors supporting those businesses who are making these positive changes."
I am going to do work and be involved with others who are working to create and use safe places for intergenerational physical activity for residents."

How has the knowledge you have acquired so far, from the HCC program influenced your personal choices/views?
"As a gardener I've been generally mindful in making healthy choices. However, with that physical work and being out in the sun, it can be so convenient to grab things on the run and not take the time to read labels. With the sugar-sweetened beverages work this will help me to pay closer attention on what I choose to quench my thirst with, especially with those drinks that are marketed to seem healthy."

What is one piece of advice you'd like to share with others in Boston who'd like to take action to improve their health and the health of their community?
"It starts with self; therefore it is important for individuals to grow to get a clearer understanding of what healthy cho
ices means. There is a lot of information out there, so I would recommend that folks take their time to become more informed and then share that knowledge with others. Sharing knowledge doesn't have to be formal or structured, use every opportunity you get to share knowledge on healthy choices with your community."
Member Benefits

For more information about Let's Get Healthy, Boston! please contact
Stephanie Voltaire
Boston Public Health Commission 

Let's Get Healthy, Boston!, 
formerly  known as Partnerships to Improve Community Health project (PICH), is a partnership of the Boston Alliance for Community Health and the Boston Public Health Commission to make it easier for residents to make healthy choices in physical activity, nutrition and smoke-free housing. 


This three-year initiative is funded by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce the prevalence of obesity, tobacco use and exposure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in the city of Boston.

On Thursday, September 17, Mary Bovenzi and Stephanie Voltaire promoted the Let's Get Healthy, Boston! Launch Event with an interview on BNN. To watch the interview click HERE

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