On April 1, 2015, MPHA joined forces with the Western Mass Health Equity Network (WMHEN) to determine which areas of MPHA’s new Policy Agenda WMHEN would focus on to advance health equity in Western MA. After learning about and discussing several policy priorities that could help improve health equity in Western MA, nearly 200 people from the region shared their preferences via online and in-person polls. WMHEN selected the following advocacy effort priorities to focus on during this legislative session: adopt Medicaid state plan amendment to reimburse for community-based prevention, including Community Health Worker (CHW) services and support roll-out of the CHW Certification Program; secure financing for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program, and establish an Office of Rural Affairs within the MA Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development based on a White Paper on Rural Housing Issues in MA.
See how WMHEN’s new policy priorities fit into MPHA’s 2015-2016 policy agenda:
|MPHA Focus Area||WMHEN’s Selected Advocacy Effort Priorities|
|Connecting Community Health & Clinical Care||Adopt Medicaid state plan amendment to reimburse for community based prevention, including Community Health Worker (CHW) services and support rollout of the CHW Certification Program.|
|Healthy Eating & Active Living||Secure financing for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program|
|(not part of MPHA’s current policy agenda)||Establish an Office of Rural Affairs within the MA Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development based on a White Paper on Rural Housing Issues in MA|
The WMHEN began as a committee to plan an informational, networking event for public health and medical professionals, academics, and nonprofit leaders in Western MA. This turned in to a fully-subscribed 300-person Western Mass Health Equity Summit in the Fall of 2014. Feedback from participants said the Summit needed to be more than a 1-day event. This inspired the creation of the Western Mass Health Equity Network, determined to focus on these four areas to advance health equity:
- Racial Justice
- Cross-Sector Collaboration
- Community Data
- Political advocacy (Yes, MPHA is thrilled!)
Interested in receiving WMHEN updates and announcements? Send your contact info, with “WMHEN e-list” in the subject line to SPHHS Outreach Coordinator Risa Silverman, email@example.com.
Interested in getting your network or organization involved in advocating for MPHA’s policy priorities? Contact MPHA’s Field Director, Andrea Freeman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 857-263-7072 x103.