Press Room

Media Contacts:

Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director, (857) 302-7023, cpavlos@mapublichealth.org

Maddie Ribble, Director of Public Policy & Campaign Strategy, 857-930-4191 (o), 617-697-2107 (c), mribble@mapublichealth.org


News Advisory 11/5/20: Public Health Experts and Local Officials to Call for Reforms to Fractured and Inconsistent Local Health System at Committee Hearing

WHEN and WHERE:

Friday, November 6, 2020, 11:00am, Online
Stream the live hearing here: https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/3598

WHAT:

This Friday, public health experts, municipal and regional officials, and healthcare leaders will testify in support of the Statewide Accelerated Public Health for Every Community Act (H.5045/S.2922) at an online hearing held by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health. The proposed bill would:

  • create minimum public health standards for every community,
  • ensure a qualified workforce,
  • incentivize municipalities to share services,
  • create a uniform data collection and reporting system, and
  • dedicate state funding to support local boards of health and health departments.

Read Full Advisory


News Release 11/2/20: Gov. Baker Misses Opportunity to Contain COVID-19 Spike

Boston, MA – Today, the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Baker’s announcement of new public health measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.

“We appreciate that Governor Baker recognizes that new actions must be taken to contain the surge in COVID cases, but he missed the opportunity to take the kinds of bold actions needed to protect all residents of Massachusetts,” said MPHA Executive Director Carlene Pavlos.

“Each of us must take responsibility to stop the spread, but COVID can’t be stopped by personal responsibility alone. Workers, people who need to double up in apartments because they were evicted, people living in shelters, and people who are incarcerated are just some of the folks suffering the most through no fault of their own.”

To truly protect all Massachusetts residents, Governor Baker should announce these actions this week:

  • Release the data that shows social gatherings are the main sources of spread. His own administration’s data on COVID-19 clusters directly contradicts this assertion, showing only 67 cases out of more than 8,000 linked to social gatherings, but more than 1,000 connected to places where people work.
  • Make a real commitment to safe workplaces for workers and patrons – including resources for inspections and enforcement to local boards of health and the Department of Labor Standards.
  • Create a plan to prevent evictions and homelessness that won’t take months to be available to a fraction of the people that need it. If the Governor wants people to go home at 9:30, they need a stable home to go to.
  • Implement a plan for preventing infections in correctional facilities. More testing is a good step, but testing alone is not a prevention strategy.”

Read Full Release


News Release 10/13/20: Public Health Advocates Call for Immediate Legislative Action to Avert Public Health Catastrophe

Boston, MA – Today, a coalition of more than 300 public health and health care leaders from across Massachusetts delivered an open letter, calling on Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo to take immediate action to avert a massive wave of evictions that are expected to take place as soon as the state’s eviction moratorium is lifted on Saturday, October 17.

“The moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expires in four days, leaving more than 100,000 Massachusetts households at risk of eviction, housing insecurity, and homelessness,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “Governor Baker’s announcement yesterday of new resources to support tenants was necessary, but his actions are woefully insufficient to address the scale of crisis facing Massachusetts renters.”

Advocates are urging passage of the Guaranteed Housing Stability Bill (H5018/S2918), sponsored by Rep. Mike Connolly, Rep. Kevin Honan, and Sen. Patricia Jehlen. The bill will protect tenants who are unable to pay rent due to the impact of COVID-19, and it will also create a fund to assist property owners who have lost income due to the pandemic (with a focus on working-class, small, owner-occupied, and nonprofit landlords).

“Stable housing is absolutely foundational for health – and even more critical during a pandemic,” said Howard Koh, MD, PhD, Professor of the Practice of Public Health Leadership at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, former US Assistant Secretary of Health, and former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. “We are facing an urgent public health deadline, with the state preparing to lift the eviction moratorium this Saturday. We cannot risk seeing more vulnerable people forced onto the street, thereby exacerbating an already unacceptable homelessness crisis. That is why all of our political leaders must collectively act now to keep thousands of families in their homes.”

Read Full Release


News Release 9/30/20: Coalition calls for Accelerating Improvements to Local Public Health

Boston, MA – This morning, a coalition of public health, municipal, regional, state, and academic leaders gathered for an online rally, calling on the Legislature to take urgent action to improve the local public health system in Massachusetts. The group is calling for passage of the Statewide Accelerated Public Health for Every Community Act (SAPHE 2.0), which would create minimum public health standards for every community, ensure a qualified workforce, incentivize municipalities to share services, create a uniform data collection and reporting system, and dedicate state funding to support local boards of health and health departments.

“Public health protections must be available to every community in Massachusetts,” said Attorney General Maura Healy. “Local public health departments are on the frontlines of addressing health disparities, and they need funding, data, and consistent standards to get the job done.  I want to thank the Massachusetts Public Health Association for their leadership and for these thoughtful proposals.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the deep inequities in our local public health system. We have a moral obligation to our residents to take meaningful action now,” said State Senator Jo Comerford, the Senate sponsor of the bill. “We must do the hard work today, so that we will be ready for whatever comes.”

“Massachusetts is the only state in the nation with a local public health system that is based in hundreds of different municipalities,” said State Representative Hannah Kane, a lead House co-sponsor of the bill. “This legislation will put our state on a path to meet key benchmarks and create an efficient and effective local public health system accessible to all residents.”

“The COVID-19 virus pandemic has illuminated the responsibility and expectations of the actions of local health departments,” said Vice Chair of Ways & Means Representative Denise Garlick, a lead House co-sponsor of the bill. “As a Registered Nurse and former elected member and Chair of the Needham Board of Health, I know it has also shone a light on the need to increase resources for staffing, training, and education. Our Commonwealth and communities are only as healthy as our State and local health departments are strong.”

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Media Advisory 9/28/20: Coalition to Call for Public Health Standards for Every Community

WHEN and WHERE: Wednesday, September 30, 2020; 9:00 am via Zoom; Register at tinyurl.com/saphe2coalitionlaunch  

WHAT: A coalition of public health, municipal, regional, state and academic leaders will gather for an online rally, calling on the Legislature to take urgent action to improve the local public health system in Massachusetts. The group is calling for passage of the Statewide Accelerated Public Health for Every Community Act (SAPHE 2.0), which would:

  • create minimum public health standards for every community,
  • ensure a qualified workforce,
  • incentivize municipalities to share services,
  • create a uniform data collection and reporting system, and
  • dedicate state funding to support local boards of health and health departments.

The SAPHE 2.0 Coalition is led by municipal officials and public health experts. Earlier this spring, coalition members successfully advocated for passage of the original SAPHE Act, which created a voluntary grant-based approach to improving the local public health system. The new SAPHE 2.0 Act directs MA DPH to establish minimum standards for local public health departments and boards, sets out a clear timeline for communities to reach those standards, establishes state funding to support communities in reaching benchmarks, and creates a uniform data collection and reporting system.

Speakers will include:

  • State Senator Jo Comerford, Senate sponsor of the bill
  • State Representative Hannah Kane, lead House co-sponsor of the bill
  • State Representative Denise Garlick, lead House co-sponsor of the bill
  • Damon Chaplin, Director, Health Department, City of New Bedford
  • Kevin Mizikar, Town Manager, Town of Shrewsbury
  • Aimee Petrosky, Health Director, Town of East Longmeadow
  • Sigalle Reiss, President, MA Health Officers Association; Health Director, Town of Norwood
  • Kevin Sweet, Town Administrator, Town of Wrentham
  • Kristina Kimani, Assistant Policy Director, Massachusetts Public Health Association

News Release 9/24/20: Public Health Association Calls on Governor Baker to Correct Inaccurate Statements 

Claim of Consultation and Endorsement of MPHA Inaccurate

Boston, MA – Today, the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) called for a correction to a statement made by Governor Charlie Baker at his press conference yesterday. During the press conference, between the 14 minute and 15 minute marks on the video recording, Governor Baker discussed the state’s guidance to communities regarding returning to in-person school. He stated, “This guidance was developed and endorsed by the Massachusetts Academy of Pediatrics and the Massachusetts Public Health Association.” This statement is entirely inaccurate. MPHA was not involved in any way in developing the guidelines, and we have not endorsed them.  

“We want to be clear that we had no involvement in the development of those guidelines,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of MPHA. “We have also not endorsed them as they are not sufficiently nuanced or inclusive of health and safety concerns for students, teachers and the community. In fact, since March we have repeatedly asked to meet with Governor Baker or a staff member from the Governor’s office, but we have received no reply.” 

Read Full Release


News Release 9/18/2020: Dr. Camara Jones Honored with Paul Revere Award for Visionary Leadership and Lifetime Achievement

Boston, MA – Today, the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) presented the Paul Revere Award for Lifetime Achievement, its highest honor, to Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, for her unwavering commitment to eradicating health inequities and structural racism. The award was presented this morning at MPHA’s virtual Awards Breakfast by David Satcher, MD, PhD, former Surgeon General of the United States and the founder of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute.

“Dr. Camara Jones has been a true trailblazer in the field of public health,” said MPHA Executive Director Carlene Pavlos. “Her work has shaped the national health and public health analysis of structural racism and has challenged the public health community to develop new perspectives and new tools to respond. When we recognize structural racism as a public health crisis, it is in no small part due to her pioneering work. MPHA is thrilled to honor this public health hero who has informed our own commitment to dismantling structural racism.”

“I am delighted to accept this honor from the Massachusetts Public Health Association,” said Dr. Jones. “During this moment, when our country is grappling with a pandemic that has brought racial health inequities into sharp relief, it is more important than ever to expose the forces of structural racism that still shape life in America. Eliminating racism benefits everyone, because racism saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources.”

Read Full Release


News Release 8/11/2020: Public Health Association Calls on Governor Baker to Take More Aggressive Public Health Measures to Stop Spread of COVID-19 

Boston, MA – In advance of today’s announcement from Governor Baker about new measures to contain the rise in cases of COVID-19, Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, released the following statement: 

“The recent uptick in COVID-19 infections should cause serious concern for all residents of Massachusetts. We appreciate that Governor Baker has responded with additional actions in the face of the worsening data. But his actions to date fall short of what is needed. 

“We call on Governor Baker to act more comprehensively and strategically to address this uptick in cases before a curve turns into spike. With the start of the school year in a few weeks, reducing the case trend now must be the highest priority.  

Read Full Release


News Release 7/23/20: In Anticipation of Fall Surge, Municipal Leaders Highlight Dangers Posed to All Massachusetts Residents by “Fractured” and “Inconsistent” Local Public Health System

Pledge Partnership with Baker Administration to Accelerate System Improvements

Boston, MA – Today, 65 municipal leaders sent a letter to Governor Baker and senior Administration officials calling for improvements in the Massachusetts local public health system and drawing attention to the danger that is posed to the entire state by our fractured and inconsistent structure.

The signers include mayors, town managers, selectboard members, city councilors, and other officials representing 53 cities and towns across 10 counties. Signers include officials from Monroe, Egremont, Hamilton, Blandford and 18 other communities with populations less than 10,000 residents, together with mayors from 9 of the state’s largest cities, including Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Somerville, and Framingham with a combined population of more than 1.2 million residents.

“Because viruses do not respect municipal borders, the extreme variability of protections provided across municipal health departments pose a risk and harm to all communities,” the officials wrote.

Read Full Release

Read Municipal Official Letter

Read Local Health Leader Letter

Read Legislator Letter


News Release 7/22/20: Over 400 Public Health Experts Call for Police Accountability

Boston, MA — More than 400 public health and health care leaders are calling on Massachusetts lawmakers to pass police reform that addresses the public health harms caused by racially disparate police violence and surveillance. In a letter sent to lawmakers and released publicly today, the health professionals urge legislators to eliminate qualified immunity, require police officers to attempt de-escalation, and restrict harmful use of force practices.

“Systemic racism is a lethal public health crisis,” write public health experts in the letter. “The public health and health care community has long recognized the ways in which racism has contributed to the pervasive health inequities and injustices that permeate every aspect of existence for people of color, and have devastated both the physical and mental health of individuals subjected to these abuses on a daily basis.”

According to the letter, new state law must reduce the role of police in situations where social interventions are safer and more effective, and explicitly recognize that police violence poses dangers to public health. The public health experts, for example, support eliminating qualified immunity, a judicial doctrine that shields police from being held accountable to their victims even when excessive use of force results in serious physical harm or death. 

“There can be no true health equity without transforming of our system of policing,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “Our current laws do far too little to ensure equal justice for Black and Brown residents and far too much to shield police from accountability – and this is exactly what institutional racism looks like. The status quo must change and it must change now.” 

Read Full Release

Read Open Letter


News Release 6/22/2020: Task Force Gives Governor Baker D’s and F’s For Protecting Marginalized Groups During Reopening

Boston, MA – Today, Governor Baker received all D’s and F’s on a report card rating his reopening policies, based on how they prioritize the health of Black and Latinx residents, low wage workers, and others that have been most impacted by COVID-19.

The Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity, a coalition of 94 public health, community, and labor organizations that began meeting in mid-March, released today’s report card to monitor progress on four key criteria that they announced on June 4, 2020.

The report card comes as Massachusetts enters Step 2 of Phase II of reopening, bringing far greater numbers of workers and consumers into contact at indoor dining, offices, and services that require close personal contact. The latest move in Massachusetts comes as 23 states are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“We are eager for a safe reopening for the sake of workers, small businesses, and our overall economy, but Governor Baker’s reopening policies to date have shown a disregard for the health of Black and Latinx residents, low-wage workers, and others who have been hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, which coordinates the Task Force. “It’s not too late to change this. We call on the Governor to immediately implement commonsense policies that value the lives of the communities that have borne the brunt of the pandemic.”

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News Release 6/8/2020: Public Health Association Applauds Signing of “An Act Addressing COVID-19 Data Collection and Disparities in Treatment”

Yesterday, Governor Baker signed “An Act Addressing COVID-19 Data Collection and Disparities in Treatment,” a bill that the Legislature sent to him on May 28th. In response, Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, issued the following statement:

“We are pleased that Governor Baker signed this important and overdue bill into law. Public health experts have long known that social inequities are linked to poor health outcomes. When the coronavirus epidemic began, the Massachusetts Public Health Association was extremely concerned about how the virus would affect already marginalized populations. Addressing this issue has been a primary focus of our Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity.

If effectively implemented, this law will dramatically improve our understanding of how the pandemic is impacting marginalized communities in Massachusetts – including Black and Latinx residents, low-wage workers, people who don’t speak English, and people with disabilities. The bill will also improve transparency by requiring regular reporting from the Baker Administration on actions being taken to address inequities that exist in Massachusetts.

This level of data collection should have happened months ago, but later is better than never. Implementing this law effectively will require a significant improvement in how data is collected and reported in Massachusetts, so we expect to see an announcement in short order about how the Administration will accomplish these goals. We will be closely monitoring progress and providing periodic progress reports.

We stand ready to partner with the Governor to develop a response and recovery strategy that has equity for all residents at the center.”

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News Release 6/6/20: Public Health Association Statement on Governor Baker’s Reopening Announcement

BOSTON – In response to Governor Baker’s announcement about Phase Two reopening today, Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association issued the following statement:

“We’re eager to have our businesses reopen as soon as it is safe. We want to see our Main Streets thriving once again, workers receiving wages and benefits, and a strengthening of our battered economy. Together with more than 100 community, labor, and public health organizations, we have laid out clear criteria that must be met to proceed with an equitable reopening that truly values the lives of people from communities that have already suffered the most during the pandemic. Today, Governor Baker chose to ignore these basic standards and instead to put Massachusetts residents at increased risk of illness and death – with little in the way of data to track impact on Black and Latinx residents, no meaningful protections for low-wage workers, testing that falls dramatically short of the Governor’s own goals, and – adding insult to injury – no seat at the table for the very communities that stand to be most impacted. The Governor claims to always “follow the data” and to “listen to the experts,” but today he did exactly the opposite. For these reasons, we strongly oppose the Governor’s decision today.”

The full Criteria for an Equitable Reopening, including a list of endorsing organizations is available here: https://tinyurl.com/EquitableReopeningCriteria.##


News Release 6/4/20: Public Health & Community Leaders Demand that Governor Baker Not Allow a Reopening at the Expense of Black and Latinx Communities

Coalition announces four criteria for a reopening that protects all residents

BOSTON – Today, public health and community leaders announced four criteria that must be met before moving to Phase Two of reopening to ensure that low wage workers, communities of color, and other disproportionately-impacted populations are adequately protected. The criteria, backed by a coalition of more than 100 organizations, are:

The full statement, description of the criteria, and a list of endorsing organizations is available here: https://tinyurl.com/EquitableReopeningCriteria.

 The announcement came two days before Governor Baker is slated to decide whether to proceed with Phase Two of reopening and amid a national outcry of protest against police brutality and structural racism.

“Good jobs that provide benefits and a living wage are important contributors to health. We want to see a strong and vibrant economy,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association.  “But we will not accept a reopening that happens at the expense of low wage workers and people of color.  Across this state people are demanding change.  The administration can and must choose to change its plans for reopening to place equity at the center of those plans.  These criteria will provide a framework for such an equitable reopening.”

“Although Black people have borne the disproportionate burden of the cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Boston, the problems with the COVID-19 response are not “Black” problems, but problems with our systems, structures, policies, programs, and decision-making processes that impact all of us,” said Dr. Atyia Martin, member of the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition. “The Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition (BBCC) is demanding a return on our investment in the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the use of best practices for responding to a pandemic.”

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Media Advisory 6/3/20: Four Criteria for an Equitable Reopening to Be Announced Thursday by Public Health and Community Leaders

Advocates to call on Governor Baker not to allow a reopening at the expense of Black and Latinx communities

WHAT: Public health and community leaders will release four criteria that must be met before moving to Phase Two of reopening to ensure that low wage workers, communities of color, and other disproportionately-impacted populations are adequately protected.

WHEN and WHERE:  Thursday, June 4th, 9:00am Zoom registration: https://tinyurl.com/EquitableReopening

WHO: The Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity, joined by dozens of supporting organizations, including the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition, Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Massachusetts Senior Action Council, Massachusetts Councils on Aging, Community Labor United, National Association of Social Workers – Massachusetts Chapter, and the ACLU of Massachusetts, among many others.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director, Massachusetts Public Health Association 
  • Dr. Atiya Martin, Member, Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition
  • Roxana Rivera, Vice President, SEIU 32BJ New England District 615
  • Oami Amarasingham, Deputy Legislative Director, ACLU of Massachusetts
  • Al Vega, Director of Policy & Programs, Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Helena DaSilva Hughes, Executive Director, Immigrant’s Assistance Center
  • Roxana Rivera, Vice President, SEIU 32BJ New England District 615

Read Full Advisory


Media Advisory 6/1/20: Equity Task Force to Release Criteria for an Equitable Reopening Thursday 6/4

As outrage over police brutality grows, public health leaders call on Governor Baker not to allow a reopening at the expense of Black and Latinx communities

WHEN and WHERE: Thursday, June 4th at 9:00am via Zoom Register at https://tinyurl.com/EquitableReopening

WHO: The Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity, a coalition of 90 organizations with the purpose of combatting the way that COVID-19 is exacerbating health and economic inequities driven by racism, poverty, and xenophobia.

WHAT: The Task Force will release a detailed list of criteria that must be met before moving to Phase Two of reopening to ensure that low wage workers, Black and Latinx communities, and other disproportionately impacted populations are adequately protected.

Read Full Advisory


News Release 5/28/20: Public Health Association Applauds Passage of Bill to Improve COVID-19 Data Reporting, Calls for Action to Address Inequities

BOSTON – In response to final passage of “An Act Addressing COVID-19 Data Collection and Disparities in Treatment” by the House and Senate today, Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association issued the following statement:

“We’re pleased with the very strong bill that was finalized by the House and Senate today, which provides for better data and increased legislative oversight to ensure Massachusetts is aggressively working to counter the inequitable impact of the pandemic on Massachusetts residents. Equally important to data reporting, the bill requires greater transparency from the Baker Administration about what actions they are taking to address the inequities shown in the data. Knowledge is crucial, but it’s only valuable if it leads to smart action. As Massachusetts considers additional stages of reopening, we must use data to ensure that communities of color, low wage workers, and other marginalized populations do not suffer further than they have already.”

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News Release 5/12/20: Coalition Releases 10 Point Emergency Plan for Prisons & Jails

Calls for Decarceration to Reduce Spread of Coronavirus Infections

Boston, MA – Today, a coalition of 22 community groups held a press conference to release a 10 Point Emergency Plan for addressing the rapid spread of COVID-19 infections in Massachusetts prisons and jails. Top recommendations include accelerating the release of those who have reached or are within six-months of reaching their parole eligibility date and granting medical paroles to those who are eligible.

“Compassion needs to be the North Star by which we navigate the crisis. Just as in the HIV epidemic, lives will be lost because of governmental inaction toward a politically unpopular group,” said Michael Cox, Director of Policy for Black and Pink, Boston (formerly incarcerated).

Massachusetts prisons have one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in the country.

Read Full Release

Decarceration Slide Deck


Media Advisory 5/11/20: Coalition to Release 10 Point Emergency Plan for Prisons & Jails

Press Conference to Call for Decarceration to Reduce Spread of Coronavirus Infections

WHAT: A coalition of more than 20 Massachusetts organizations will hold a press conference tomorrow to present concrete, urgent steps that Governor Baker must take to end the spread of the COVID-19 in the Commonwealth’s prisons and houses of correction. The 10-point plan for decarceration aims to support the safety and health of incarcerated people, Correction Officers and their families, and the broader community.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 12, 2020  10:00 EST

REGISTER AT: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Hhm0_44OR_OfsC-Pkb4cyA 

Read Full Advisory


News Release 5/5/20: Public Health Leaders Call for Swift Decarceration in Face of Pandemic

Boston, MA – Today, public health leaders called for passage of legislation to safely decarcerate as many people as possible to limit the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and interrupt the staggering racial inequities evident in state data on COVID-19 cases.

In testimony to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Judiciary, the Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity asked the committee to take swift action in support of House Bill 4562, sponsored by Representative Lindsay Sabodosa.

“The people in prisons and jails are important members of our communities, they are our husbands, wives, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, and neighbors,” wrote Sandro Galea, Cheryl Barlett, and Carlene Pavlos on behalf of the Task Force. “Simply because they have been arrested or convicted for a crime does not justify sentencing them to sickness and potentially death from COVID-19.”

Read Full Release

Task Force Testimony

Decarceration Bill Fact Sheet


News Release 4/29/20: Public Health Association Applauds the Signing of the State Action for Public Heath Excellence (SAPHE) Act

Boston, MA – Today, Governor Baker signed H4503, An Act Relative to Strengthening the Local and Regional Public Health System. In response, Kristina Kimani, Coalition and Advocacy Manager for the Massachusetts Public Health Association, issued the following statement:

“We’re so pleased that Governor Baker signed the SAPHE Act today. In the midst of this emergency, it’s become ever-more clear how essential it is that we have an effective, efficient, and equitable local public health system.”

Read Full Release


News Release 4/17/20: Statewide Task Force Calls on Governor Baker to Fill Gaps in State Data Collection, Develop Clear Action Plan to Address Health Inequities

Boston, MA – Today, the Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity issued an open letter to Governor Baker and Secretary Sudders, signed by 59 organizations, calling on them to take decisive action to address inequities in the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on communities of color and other marginalized populations.

“We respect the immense challenges faced by Governor Baker right now,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, which coordinates the Task Force. “But his Administration must act with more urgency to understand the equity impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic in Massachusetts and – more importantly – to take bold action to support those communities that are most impacted.”

In the letter, the Task Force praised the Baker Administration’s recent decision to make more data publicly available, including data on the race and ethnicity of confirmed cases and deaths, as well as case counts by municipality. They called on the Administration to continue to improve the quality of data being released, and more importantly, to develop a clear plan for responding to the inequities being revealed.

Read Full Release

Read Open Letter


News Release 4/7/20: Massachusetts in the Dark on Demographic Impact of Outbreak, Say Public Health and Civil Rights Leaders
As Evidence of Inequities Pile Up, Groups Call on Baker Administration to Take Swift Action

Boston, MA – Today, public health and civil rights organizations called on the Baker Administration to move quickly to collect and release demographic data about COVID-19 testing, confirmed cases, and deaths, including race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, language, disability, age, and county of residence.

The groups pointed to data being released in other parts of the country such as Michigan, Florida, Louisiana, Milwaukee, Chicago, and the District of Columbia.  The data collected and released so far strongly suggest that the pandemic is disproportionately impacting Black and Latinx residents. Boston has begun releasing data which suggests that infection rates are higher in neighborhoods with a large proportion of the city’s residents of color and low-income residents.

“As a state, Massachusetts is stumbling in the dark right now. Without good data on who is being most impacted, our response will be both ineffective and irresponsible, and it will predictably serve to deepen the inequities that existed across Massachusetts before this outbreak,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “Collecting this data is crucial to inform us about who is getting sick and who is dying, so that we can develop effective prevention strategies and deploy limited health resources in ways that will save the most lives.”

Read Full Release


News Release 3/20/20: Emergency Task Force Calls for Immediate Action to Address Equity in the Face of Epidemic

Boston, MA – This morning, more than 100 leading public health, grassroots, civil rights, medical, labor, and social service organizations issued a call to action to state leaders to take urgent action to address the impact of the epidemic on low wage workers, immigrants, people at risk of losing their homes, and people experiencing homelessness.

“This outbreak is not affecting Massachusetts residents equally,” said Carlene Pavlos, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “The impact of this virus is both exposing and worsening deep inequities rooted in racism, poverty, and xenophobia. We need Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, and the Legislature to take action immediately in the face of this public health emergency.” The Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity, convened by the Massachusetts Public Health Association on March 17, is calling on state leaders to immediately act on four urgent policy priorities.

Read Full Release


Media Advisory 3/19/20: Emergency Task Force to Call for Immediate Action from Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, and Legislature to Address Equity in the Face of Epidemic

WHEN and WHERE: Friday, March 20, 2020 at 9:00am via Zoom
Register at https://tinyurl.com/COVID19-Equity-PressConf

WHAT: The Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity will call for urgent action from Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey, and the Legislature on four state policy priorities to address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus outbreak on communities already experiencing marginalization, including low-wage workers, immigrants, and people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.

The Task Force, convened by the Massachusetts Public Health Association on March 17, is calling on Governor Baker, Attorney General Healey & the Legislature to:

  • Ensure Immigrants Have Safe Access to Testing & Treatment
  • Ensure Everyone Has Access to Safe Quarantine
  • Pass Emergency Paid Sick Time
  • Enact a Moratorium on Evictions, Foreclosures & Termination of Public Benefits

To date, 86 organizations have endorsed the call to action, including leading civil rights, grassroots, public health, medical, labor, and social service organizations.

Read Full Advisory


News Release 3/10/20: Public Health Association to Convene Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus and Equity

The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) announced today that it is convening an Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity to rapidly develop policy recommendations to ensure adequate prevention and response measures for communities that will be disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and its economic repercussions – including low income people, people of color, immigrants, low wage workers, those who are food insecure, people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, and older adults, among others.

The Task Force will be chaired by Sandro Galea, Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health and Cheryl Bartlett, CEO of the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center and former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Preliminary recommendations will be released on Friday, March 20th at 9am in Room 222 at the State House.

The Emergency Task Force is being formed in recognition of the inequities likely to be experienced by these populations, and with an understanding that this represents a public health preparedness issue for the entire population. 

“From the family in shelter – to the child who depends on getting a healthy breakfast and lunch at school – to immigrants fearful of coming forward because of draconian federal policies – we are only as prepared as our most marginalized communities,” said MPHA Executive Director Carlene Pavlos. “It is vital that we develop concrete solutions to protect Massachusetts residents who are already burdened with the effects of discrimination, oppression, and poor health. The fate of everyone in our society is bound together – something which is always true but is seldom as crystal clear as it is now.”

Task Force members include organizations that represent low-wage workers, immigrants, older adults, emergency food service providers, homelessness service providers, disability advocacy organizations, local health departments, and health care organizations. Policy recommendations will be focused on concrete actions that can be taken by the state legislature, Governor Baker and state Executive Branch agencies.


*Postponed* Legislative Breakfast on Public Transportation and the Needs of Older Adults – New Date to be Determined

Out of an abundance of caution, we are POSTPONING the legislative breakfast that was planned for Friday, March 13, 2020, in Leominster.

If you would like us to notify you when we have set a new dates, please email: Veronica at vcanas@mapublichealth.org or call 857-930-4369

Media Advisory: Legislative Breakfast on Public Transportation and the Needs of Older Adults – March 13, 2020

Leominster, MA – On March 13, 2020, community leaders, elected officials, transportation advocates, program managers, public transportation users, and community members will come together for a Legislative Breakfast on transportation and the needs of older adults/seniors. This event will be held from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM at the Veterans’ Center, 100 West Street. It is free and open to the public. To RSVP, call 857-930-4369 or click https://tinyurl.com/NorthCentralTranspoMar13.

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News Release 11/20/19: MPHA Presents Legislative Leadership Awards to Representatives Garlick and Kane

Boston, MA – Today, the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) presented Representative Denise Garlick and Representative Hannah Kane with Legislative Leadership Awards in recognition of their commitment to building an effective, efficient, and equitable local public health system.

In presenting the awards, MPHA Executive Director Carlene Pavlos cited Representative Garlick’s work to advance knowledge, develop recommendations, and champion legislative action to strengthen the Commonwealth’s municipal public health system. She also praised Representative Kane’s work to advance knowledge, develop recommendations, and champion legislative action to strengthen the Commonwealth’s municipal public health system.

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News Release 10/29/19: 40 Public Health, Civil Rights Organizations and Leaders Urge Attorney General To Sue Lead Paint Companies

Boston, MA – Forty prominent public health, civil rights, and community-based organizations and leaders issued an open letter today to Attorney General Maura Healey urging her to file a lawsuit against lead paint companies to hold them accountable for deceptive marketing campaigns that have caused catastrophic harm to children in the Commonwealth.

Led by Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) and the Massachusetts Public Health Association, the coalition urges Attorney General Healey to follow the recent example set in California, where ten cities and counties successfully sued lead paint manufacturers, resulting in a $305 million settlement that will fund the removal of lead paint in those jurisdictions.

Full News Release

Open Letter to Attorney General


Media Advisory 9/24/19: Anti-hunger Advocates and Elected Officials Rally at State House

Boston, MA — Today, advocates and elected officials from across Massachusetts stand strong for the right to food. At a rally on the State House front steps, advocates will oppose the attacks on federal food assistance programs and promote state policies to expand food access. The rally will take place at 12:15-1 p.m. and is hosted by Children’s Health Watch, Food Bank Coalition of Massachusetts, MA Food System Caucus, MA Food System Collaborative, Mass Law Reform Institute, Massachusetts Public Health Association…

Full Media Advisory

Anti-Hunger Policy Goals


News Release 9/17/19: 160+ Civic and Community Leaders Calls for Action on Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund

Boston, MA — Today, more than 160 organizations and civic leaders – including 20 mayors and town managers – sent a letter to legislative leaders urging them to include funding for the Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund in any health care legislation that advances this session.

Between 2014-2018, PWTF funded successful clinical-community partnerships focused on childhood asthma, falls among older adults, hypertension, and tobacco use. An independent evaluation concluded that “PWTF appears to be a very sound investment from…

Full Press Release

2019 Open Letter to Legislative Leaders supporting PWTF

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