On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, MPHA joined public health organizations and professionals from across the state at Ounce of Prevention: Working Together for Healthier Families. This annual statewide public health conference is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and aims to “bring together a wide range of stakeholders in support of healthier and more equitable communities in Massachusetts”. MPHA Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz moderated a panel titled “Getting Health in All Policies at the Local Level”. Rebekah was joined by Michelle Ciccolo (Hudson Community Development Director), Carolyn Misch (Senior Planner for the City of Northampton), DJ Wilson (Tobacco Control Director and Public Health Liaison for the Massachusetts Municipal Association), and Mayor Lisa A. Wong of Fitchburg. Together they explored how cities and towns can incorporate health considerations in local policy to ultimately improve health outcomes.
The event was held at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, and kicked off with a welcome from the new Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Monica Bharel. Dr. Bharel opened the event by discussing the striking health disparities in MA and how these are too often determined by one’s zip code. She challenged us to work together to eliminate disparities in health outcomes across Massachusetts.
MPHA also sponsored an informational session with other members of the public health community to share MPHA’s 2015-2016 Policy Priorities and garner support for movements to address healthy eating and active living, housing and family stability, violence prevention, connecting community health and clinical care, and essential public health services.