As Massachusetts emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, MPHA is continuing to work on multiple fronts to address the impacts of COVID-19. On the policy side, we are advocating for equity in the state’s recovery and vaccination efforts, so that marginalized communities do not continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic and its economic impacts. At the same time, MPHA is helping to address the critical challenges faced by the local public health workforce, who are tasked with tracking cases, recommending testing, enforcing isolation and quarantine, implementing public health orders and administering vaccines.
Advancing Equity-Based Policies
In the early days of the pandemic, MPHA convened a Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity to advocate for equity in the state’s response to this crisis and rapidly develop policy recommendations. More than 150 organizations endorsed the Task Force’s initial recommendations, and its members successfully pushed for a number of equity-based policies, including the passage and subsequent extension of the nation’s strongest Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures.
Since the reopening began, the Task Force has transitioned to focus on:
- ensuring a safe, equitable reopening and recovery,
- advocating for equity in the vaccine rollout, and
- stabilizing housing to avoid mass evictions.
In addition, the Task Force is recommending action on several additional policy priorities to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on Black and Brown communities, poor communities, immigrant communities and others who have been disproportionately impacted. For a full list of our policy recommendations, click here.
Supporting Local Boards of Health
Across Massachusetts, local boards of health are working to stop the spread of COVID-19 by administering vaccines, investigating known and suspected cases, recommending and enforcing quarantine and isolation, making testing recommendations, and reporting to state public health officials. Their work is essential and all-too-often invisible.
To help connect the state’s COVID-19 Command Center with local public health departments and districts, MPHA and our partners have developed a network of seven Crisis Affiliates, collectively responsible for supporting and directing state resources to local health departments in 227 municipalities.
We have also assembled a broad coalition of municipal officials, public health experts, legislators and other partners to address the inefficient and inequitable structure of our local public health system by passing the Statewide Accelerated Public Health for Every Community Act (SAPHE 2.0). This critical legislation would establish minimum public health standards for every community, encourage municipalities to share services, create a uniform data collection and reporting system, and establish stain will state funding to support local public health.