March 2019

National Public Health Week (NPHW) is the first week of April-and it will be here before we know it! You'll find us marking NPHW on Kick Butts Day at the State House on the 3rd, the Public Health Museum on the 5th, and online for the NPHW twitter chat (follow #NPHWchat). In addition, MPHA staff are leading three workshops at the Department of Public Health Ounce of Prevention Conference on April 2nd. 

This month's newsletter if full of important information. In "Policy Notes" we focus on one of our top issue areas - transportation equity - and provide details on our state budget priorities as well as opportunities for you to join us in action for healthy food access and affordable housing. In "Events" you can learn more about our Spring Awards Breakfast and make certain you mark your calendars for other important upcoming events. Finally, the "Notice to Members," provides a reminder about the upcoming Special Membership Meeting later this month.

Stay tuned for advocacy updates and more opportunities to take action in the weeks ahead!

In partnership,

Carlene Pavlos
Executive Director
Policy Notes
Transportation Justice and Health Equity: MPHA Policy Priorities Address Both Access & Air Quality, Climate Impact 

Transportation is a critical issue for health equity. Not only does access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation connect people and communities to the resources needed to be healthy, the transportation sector is a driving factor of climate change and air pollution, both of which disproportionately impact low-income and communities of color, causing greater health inequity. 

MPHA has two transportation policy priorities for the 2019-2020 legislative session:

  1. Funding and modernization of Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs)
From the Berkshires to Cape Ann, the Commonwealth's 15 RTAs link residents outside the metro-Boston area to jobs, education, and social and health services. To meet the needs of their communities, RTAs need additional funding, as well as modernization in service delivery.

In FY19, MPHA and our partners successfully advocated for higher funding for RTAs in the state budget. Co-leading the new RTA Advocates Coalition (RTAAC) with Transportation for Massachusetts, MPHA is again leading the charge to increase RTA funding in the FY20 state budget. 

To help improve support and accountability of all RTAs and MassDOT, MPHA and our partners have been working closely with the RTA Task Force, which intends to release its draft report on March 15, 2019. MassDOT will hold public comment meetings in late March (as of 3/8/19, dates/locations unknown), and together with the RTAAC, MPHA will encourage  advocates throughout the state to attend or submit written comments.

2. Equitable implementation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI)

The Transportation and Climate Initiative is an agreement and collaboration between 12 states (including Massachusetts) and Washington, DC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. TCI would also raise funds that could be invested in public transit and other cleaner transportation options.

Quick action to slow climate change and reduce air pollution is essential to protect the health of our communities. In order to be successful, TCI must be implemented in a way that addresses inequities facing communities of color and low-income communities. MPHA is joining environmental justice and transportation leaders to discuss shared goals including advocating for equitable participation in the development of TCI initiatives and analysis of the racial equity impact of TCI policies.

FY20 State Budget Priorities to Advance Health Equity

In February, MPHA sent our list of FY20 budget priorities to the legislature. The following 10 priorities will advance health equity in the Commonwealth through strengthening local public health infrastructure--especially important for rural areas and gateway cities--and supporting programs that address key social determinants of health, which have disproportionate impact on low-income and communities of color.

Public Health Infrastructure
  • State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Program
  • Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Trust Fund
  • Bureau of Environmental Health
Social Determinants of Health: Transportation & Housing
  • Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs)
  • Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)
Social Determinants of Health: Healthy Food Access
  • Massachusetts Food Trust Program
  • Mass in Motion
  • Healthy Incentives Program
  • Closing the SNAP Gap
Clinical Care & Social Determinants of Health
  • Data Transparency on MassHealth Social Determinants of Health Supports
House Ways and Means will release its budget in mid-April. Stay-tuned to learn how you can join us in advocating for these important programs. 

To read MPHA's FY20 budget request, click here . 
Opportunities to Join us in Action for Health Equity: HIP & Housing Lobby Days

MPHA is proud to co-sponsor CHAPA's Housing Day at the State House. 

Date: Monday, March 11th
Time: 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Location: The State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston

More information and RSVP, here
Join MPHA and other advocates for healthy food access at HIP Lobby Day. 

Date: Thursday, March 21st
Time: 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location: The State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston

RSVP here. Learn more about the Healthy Incentives Program, here

Save the Date: WMHEN Health Equity Policy Assembly and MPHA Annual Conference

MPHA is thrilled to facilitate the Health Equity Policy Assembly hosted by the Western Massachusetts Health Equity Network. 

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Time: 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Location: Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Springfield

Free registration opens in mid-March. Click here to view the Save the Date and here to follow the Facebook event page. For additional questions, email Andrea Freeman at:
Attendees of the MPHA 2018 Annual Conference visit an expo table
MPHA's 2019 Annual Conference

Date: November 13, 2019
Time: TBD
Location: DCU Center
50 Foster Street, Worcester

Registration opens in September, 2019. View upcoming events on MPHA's website, here

Don't Miss Your Chance for Early Bird Tickets!
Join us at MPHA's Spring Awards Breakfast on Friday, June 7, 2019 at the State Room in Boston, MA. Early bird registration ends next week--reserve your seat today and save!

Paul Revere  
Senator Harriette L. Chandler
First Worcester District

Public Health Leadership 
In Medicine Award
Dr. Thea James
Boston Medical Center

Lemuel Shattuck Award 
Raheem Baraka (posthumous)
Baraka Community Wellness Center
Alfred Frechette Award
Dr. Nate Horwitz-Willis
Plymouth Public Health

Notice to Members
MPHA Special Membership Meeting: Your Vote Needed

The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Public Health Association is seeking to change its fiscal year. The current fiscal year, as established in the by-laws, runs annually from April 1 - March 31. In order to align the fiscal year with that of the state, and many other not-for-profit organizations, the MPHA Board has voted to change the fiscal year to July 1 - June 30.

The Board is now calling a special meeting of MPHA Members to approve this change to the by-laws. The meeting will be held at the conclusion of the March 22, 2019 meeting of the MPHA Board of Directors from 10:15 am to approximately 10:30 am at the MetroWest Health Foundation in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Special Meeting for MPHA Members
10:15 am / March 22, 2019
MetroWest Health Foundation
161 Worcester Road, Suite 202, Framingham, MA 01701

Members are encouraged to participate in this vote in one of three ways:
Should you have any questions prior to participation in this vote, please contact MPHA's Executive Director Carlene Pavlos ( or (857) 263-7072).
Massachusetts Public Health Association | (857) 263-7072 | |