October 3rd marks Dr. Barbara Ferrer’s last day as Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC). Dr. Ferrer is a tireless public servant and innovative public health pioneer who departs Boston to take a position as Chief Strategy Office at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the nation’s leading foundations addressing healthy communities.
In 2013 MPHA recognized Dr. Barbara Ferrer with our most prestigious honor, the Paul Revere Award.
Dr. Ferrer has been executive director of BPHC since 2007, serving as deputy director of the commission prior to that. In her 25+ years in the Massachusetts public health community she has spearheaded numerous campaigns and programs to combat health inequities and disparities. Dr. Ferrer prides herself on the partnerships she has helped to foster across the city and notes that it is these strong and vibrant partnerships led by extraordinary and passionate leaders that have resulted in the numerous public health successes throughout her tenure.
Her determination and strong emphasis on collaboration in public health has led to successes such as:
- Creating a broad-based and comprehensive campaign to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities
- Working to see a decline in the infant mortality rate for black infants
- Combating childhood obesity rates through collaborate efforts across city departments
- Increasing access to healthy food and spaces to be physically active
- Crafting a multidisciplinary approach to address violence
- Organizing a citywide immunization campaign during the 2009-2010 H1N1 outbreak to provide free vaccinations
- Building the infrastructure to rapidly respond to flu-related public health emergencies as seen in 2013 when 7,000 residents were vaccinated in two days’ time
- Advocating for youth issues and serving as a mentor to young people in the community
- Addressing asthma rates in public housing
- Seeing a reduction of smoking rates across the city
MPHA has sincerely enjoyed collaborating with Dr. Ferrer on many issues, and we thank her for her support. Dr. Barbara Ferrer has made Boston a healthier place to live and she will be sorely missed.