Notes from the Field: MPHA Builds Capacity of Local Leaders Across MA

MPHA’s staff meet our partners where they are rooted. Across the state, we build the capacity of local organizations to be powerful advocates at the state and local levels. By working with local leaders and providing timely technical assistance, we can support their work and also better understand local issues and shared priorities. Here are some glimpses of our work with local partners:

10.21.2015_TranpoCapitalConversations_LeominsterThe MA Department of Transportation (MassDOT) held a series of  “Capital Conversations” across the state this past fall. MPHA’s Field Director, Andrea Freeman, participated in this one in Leominster, MA. She encouraged staff and teens from the United Neighbors of Fitchburg to participate in the gathering and met with them after they asked a member of MassDOT’s Board of Directors to improve regional bus service.

1_Let's get healthy event_fresh truck

As part of our partnership with the Boston Alliance for Community Health and the Boston Public Health Commission, MPHA’s Coalition and Field Organizer Kristina St. Cyr served as part of the volunteer crew for an exciting “Let’s Get Healthy, Boston” event in Roxbury, MA.  She assisted with day-of logistics and worked with volunteers from Boston Public Schools to facilitate the “Safe Routes to School” station. Together they engaged young children in road safety activities, teaching them to read traffic signs and safely cross streets. Before leaving for the day, Kristina spotted a mobile food market! As MPHA’s point person for funding and implementing the MA Food Trust, she’s always looking for ways to increase access to healthy affordable foods.

SenGobi&farmersGreenfield, MA, has been a frequent destination for Andrea lately. The Western MA Food Processing Center hosted the official release of the MA Local Food Plan which drew several elected officials including Senator Ann Gobi (right) plus many farmers and food entrepreneurs. Also in Greenfield, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments’ Community Health Program Manager Rachel Stoler (left) hosted  a training for school food service directors to learn about procuring local foods. In the same meeting room a few weeks later–also standing room only–Andrea attended one of MassDOT’s first “Complete Streets 101” workshops about implementing the new Complete Streets Certification Program, a $12.5 million grant program for which MPHA led the charge.

Francey & staffers

Andrea was in Lowell, MA, to strategize with Mill City Grows and the Greater Lowell Health Alliance–both current Act FRESH partners. She also met with staff from the Coalition for a Better Acre to learn about their latest victories, discuss shared concerns for improving health equity, and to explore future collaborations.

Additionally, our Field Staff have been in Chelsea, Fall River, Fitchburg, Lawrence, Melrose, Northampton, Peabody, Pittsfield, Springfield, Weymouth,  and Worcester over the past few months.

If you have questions or suggestions about our field work, please contact Andrea (|857-263-7072 x103) or Kristina (|857-263-7072 x109).





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