September 14, 1919 – August 19, 2016
Helen Ann (Fuchs) Meltzer was the Executive Director of MPHA from 1965 to 1987. During her 22 year tenure, MPHA became a force for public health in Massachusetts. MPHA’s legislative accomplishments under Helene’s tenure include: statewide emergency medical services, determination of need, health planning, prevention, fluoridation, patient’s bill of rights, clean air, generic drugs, anti-smoking, school health, mental health and establishing a Preventive Medicine Division at the State Health Department.
Helen was the foundation and catalyst for public health, bringing people together to respond to the public health needs of the state. Although she was a part-time employee, Helen worked 24-7 for public health.
During Helen’s tenure, MPHA had over 1400 active members, 70 organization members, and 10 active Sections representing the various disciplines of public health i.e., dental health, environmental health, epidemiology, health administration, health education, medical care, mental health, nursing, nutrition, and vision care. Each Section had at least one meeting a year, in addition to MPHA’s Annual Meetings, some of which had more than 600 attendees. MPHA also developed the book Major Health Problems In Massachusetts in 1980 for legislators and decision makers, which was distributed yearly and was recognized by APHA as a model for other states. MPHA’s Recommendations for Health Block Grants in 1982 was also used extensively in Massachusetts and nationally, as was a model DNA ordinance. In 1985, Helen initiated and led an MPHA delegation to the People’s Republic of China to share common health concerns. Helen was also deeply involved in the initiation and development of the Massachusetts Public Health Museum which opened in 1994.
Helen was the foundation and soul of MPHA. She was creative, resourceful, patient and worked tirelessly to promote the public’s health. She was a joy to work with. We will miss her, but her legacy lives on, in all of us, and in MPHA.
Myron Allukian Jr., D.D.S., M.P.H.
MPHA President 1977-1978
APHA President 1989-1990