The Public Health Council (PHC) has had an important role in public health since it was established by legislation in the nineteenth century. The PHC, which was reconstituted in 2007 as part of Health Care Reform, consists of the Commissioner as Chairman and fourteen members.Twelve of the fourteen members are appointed by the Governor. The other two members, who must be non-providers, are appointed respectively by the Secretary of Elder Affairs and the Secretary of Veterans' Services.

Among the PHC's responsibilities are:

  • Promulgation of most regulations

  • Approval of Determination of Need (DoN) applications

  • Advising the Department on major policy decisions, at the discretion of the Commissioner

  • Granting the Commissioner authority to take necessary actions to protect the public health upon a declaration of a public health emergency by the Governor

The PHC meets once a month at the Department of Public Health, 250 Washington Street, Bowditch Public Health Council Room - 2 nd Floor, Boston, MA. Regular meetings of the PHC are open to public observation of the proceedings. Copies of materials presented to the Council are available by request from the Secretary of the Council.

Composition of the Public Health Council

  • The Commissioner of Public Health, Chairperson

  • One member appointed by the governor from a list of four persons: the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and three nominees of the chancellor;

  • One member appointed by the governor from a list of four persons: the dean of the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and three nominees of the dean;

  • One member appointed by the governor from a list of heads of the non-public schools of medicine in the commonwealth or their nominees;

  • One member appointed by the governor from a list of heads of the non-public schools of public health in the commonwealth or their nominees;

  • One provider of health services, appointed by the governor, who has expertise in acute care hospital management;

  • One provider of health services, appointed by the governor, who has expertise in long term care management;

  • One provider of health services, appointed by the governor, who has expertise in home or community-based care management;

  • One provider of health services, appointed by the governor, who has expertise in the practice of primary care medicine or public health nursing;

  • A non-health care provider appointed by the Secretary of Elder Affairs;

  • A non-health care provider appointed by the Secretary of Veterans' Services;

  • A non-health care provider appointed by the governor from a list of three persons nominated by Health Care for All, Inc.;

  • A non-health care provider appointed by the governor from a list of three persons nominated by the Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors, Inc.;

  • A non-health care provider appointed by the governor from a list of three persons nominated by Massachusetts Public Health Association; and

  • A non-health care provider appointed by the governor from a list of three persons nominated by the Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers.


This information is provided by the Public Health Council within the Department of Public Health.