Massachusetts Public Health Association

Press Release: Massachusetts Public Health Association Applauds Inclusion of Food Access Funding in Governor’s Capital Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2017
Contact: Maddie Ribble, Massachusetts Public Health Association, 617-697-2107

Massachusetts Public Health Association Applauds Inclusion of Food Access Funding in Governor’s Capital Plan

Boston, MA – The Massachusetts Public Health Association applauds Governor Baker for inclusion of $1 million in funding for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program in the FY18 Capital Spending Plan released this afternoon:

Maddie Ribble, Policy Director at the Massachusetts Public Health Association said: “Finding a place to buy healthy, affordable food nearby is a problem faced by far too many Massachusetts residents – negatively impacting quality of life, health, and job opportunities in urban and rural communities across the Commonwealth. Governor Baker’s action today to invest $1 million in capital funds to the Food Trust Program is a crucial down payment to solving this problem and creating a healthier and more equitable Massachusetts. We thank the Governor, Secretary Lepore, and Secretary Ash for their leadership in tackling this issue head on, and we look forward to partnering with the Administration to fulfill the promise of this important new program.” Read More

MPHA Organizational Member Spotlight: The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs

The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCA’s (MA YMCAs) is a longstanding partner of MPHA, and was among the inaugural group of organizations that joined MPHA’s Organizational Membership program in 2013.

Massachusetts YMCAs serve 1.3 million people across the Commonwealth. The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs, Inc. works with more than 410 YMCA’s to promote and support centers in reaching children and teens with a wide range of activities designed to help youth achieve their potential and position them for success in their adult lives.

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2.8 Million Residents Lack Adequate Access to Healthy Food, Endure Economic Burden

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MPHA recently released new data which reveals that lack of available grocery stores impacts 2.8 million residents in Massachusetts, including more than 700,000 children and 523,000 seniors. This lack of grocery access has the greatest effect in small rural towns and Massachusetts Gateway Cities, including Chelsea, Springfield, and Taunton, the three cities with the highest percentage of residents lacking grocery access in the Commonwealth. Limited access to grocery stores is a pressing public health issue as lack of access to healthy foods has been linked to increased risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

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MPHA Co-Hosts Policy Assembly in Springfield, MA

Attendees participate an a group strategy session at the 2017 Policy Assembly in Springfield

On April 26, 2017, more than fifty health equity advocates from Western MA gathered in Springfield, MA, to gain a better understanding of several statewide policy issues and how to strategically advocate for them. In a pre-assembly poll, participants conveyed that they wanted to better understand the process for passing bills and getting funds in the state budget, so MPHA gave special attention to conveying the timelines and steps involved.

Participants also spent time at the Assembly reading about specific bills and budget line items, followed by small group strategy sessions to identify the key decision-makers, timing, method, message, and messengers to influence policy makers. Some small-group discussions also focused on how to involve more people from low-income communities and communities of color in advocacy issues.

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What our Health Equity Champions Mean to the Communities they Serve

By now you are familiar with the names of this year’s MPHA Health Equity Champions. We asked colleagues of our Spring Awards Breakfast awardees to share a more intimate perspective on what makes these individuals extraordinary in the public health space. Click here to reserve tickets and for more information on the event.

Deborah Klein Walker, Paul Revere Awardee

Deborah Klein Walker, Paul Revere Awardee

“It was a personal joy and a professional obligation to nominate Debbie Walker for the Paul Revere Award.  I will come back to that word, ‘obligation.’ First, the joy. I have known Debbie since I was assigned to her as an academic advisee when she was on the Maternal and Child Health faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health. From the start, she has been a mentor, a role model, an adviser, occasionally a co-conspirator and always a friend. She was clearly on her way to becoming a Big Macher, as we say in Jewish, even in those early days. But she has always been the most accessible of Big Machers.

The obligation I mentioned is not to Debbie, although I owe her much. Rather it is to public health. I worked with Debbie again at the Department of Public, and under her leadership we were at the forefront of family centered care for children with special health care needs, smoking prevention and cessation, universal coverage for pregnancy care, life span, person-centered systems of care for individual with disabilities, and on and on. The drive to be a trailblazer in public health has characterized Debbie’s work throughout her career, and is formed by her commitment to public health as a fundamental responsibility of any society to its people, and to public health systems as the means through which that duty is fulfilled. In honoring Debbie, I feel we all acknowledge how important that commitment is, and implicitly pledge to be part of fulfilling it.” – Deborah Allen, Director, Child, Adolescent and Family Health at Boston Public Health Commission

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Press Release: Quincy Mayor Koch, Pittsfield Mayor Tyer Join Prevention Trust Coalition as Co-Chairs, Lead Call to Protect Groundbreaking Program in House Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2017
Contact: Maddie Ribble, Massachusetts Public Health Association 617-697-2107, mribble@mapublichealth.org

Quincy Mayor Koch, Pittsfield Mayor Tyer Join Prevention Trust Coalition as Co-Chairs, Lead Call to Protect Groundbreaking Program in House Budget Effort Supported by Bipartisan Majority of the House of Representatives

The Massachusetts Public Health Association announced today that Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch have been named Co-Chairs of the Prevention Trust Coalition. The Mayors immediately called upon the House of Representatives to take action during this week’s debate on the state budget to continue the groundbreaking work of the Prevention Trust.

“The Prevention Trust is making a difference in Quincy as we work to improve health outcomes for everyone in our community while tackling rising health care costs,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch. “We ask our legislative leaders to stand with us to protect the investment in this important program, and more importantly, to protect the hard-won health improvements for our residents.”

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Action Alert! Help Protect Mass in Motion

On April 10, 2017, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee released their proposal for the FY18 state budget without funding to maintain Mass in Motion in line item 4513-1111.  Representative Cariddi will file an amendment to the budget which would continue level-funding for the Mass in Motion program.

We are in a critical window to build support for the MiM budget amendment in the House, and YOU can help get it adopted.

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Action Alert! Advocate for Healthy Food Access in the State Budget

Take Action Now!to support the Mass Food Trust Program and SNAP Access! (5)

On April 10, 2017, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee released their proposal for the FY18 state budget without funding for two important issues that address healthy food access and affordability: the Massachusetts Food Trust and the SNAP Gap. As planned, Representative Donahue and Representative Livingstone have each filed amendments to the budget which would dedicate $100,000 for the operating costs of the Massachusetts Food Trust, and would direct the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to allow MassHealth applicants and recipients to file a SNAP application at the same time they apply or get a renewal of their MassHealth benefits.

We are now in a critical window to build support for the Massachusetts Food Trust and SNAP Gap budget amendments in the House, and we need YOUR help get them adopted. Read More

Action Alert! Protect the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF)!

Please contact your state Representative this week to ask them to co-sponsor Amendment #24 to continue funding for the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund.

On April 10, 2017, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee released their proposal for the FY18 state budget without reference to PWTF. As planned, Representative Vega filed an amendment to the budget which would add language to continue funding for PWTF.

We are now in a critical window to build support for the PWTF budget amendment in the House, and YOU can help get it adopted.

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MPHA Testifies Before Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy

On Monday, April 3, 2017 MPHA Policy Director Maddie Ribble testified before the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy at a public hearing at the State House. Maddie urged the legislature to address three areas that MPHA has identified as deserving particular attention in the implementation of recreational marijuana policy in Massachusetts. These areas are 1) promoting racial equity, 2) protecting youth, and 3) providing for appropriate oversight and data collection.

Click here to read MPHA’s written testimony to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy.
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