For Immediate Release - June 17, 2011


Funding to help cities and towns regionalize local services and protect public health

WORCESTER -- Friday, June 17, 2011 -- Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray today joined local elected officials and public health leaders at Worcester City Hall to officially announce more than $275,000 in federal funding awards to strengthen health services at the local level. As part of the program, 114 cities and towns serving more than 1.8 million people will engage in planning to form eleven new public health districts to support food protection, disease control, emergency preparedness, septic inspections, tobacco control and prevention of chronic disease.

"Our Administration continues to work with cities and towns to identify opportunities to increase the efficiency and effectiveness for the delivery of local services," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "By partnering with our congressional delegation, this federal funding will help cities and towns collaborate, share and strengthen local public health services."

The Public Health District Incentive Grant Program will provide financial support for groups of municipalities to enter into formal, long-term agreements to share resources and coordinate activities with the goal of improving the scope, quality and effectiveness of local public health services for their combined populations.

The program seeks to permanently strengthen the local public health infrastructure in Massachusetts by taking maximum advantage of limited resources to protect population health, prevent injury and disease and promote healthy behaviors through policy change and service delivery at the regional level.
"This investment will help us strengthen local health services and expand access to first-rate resources that promote healthy living and prevent illness in the first place," said U.S. Senator John Kerry.

"I am pleased to see the benefits of health reform continue in Massachusetts in support of much needed public health infrastructure," said Congressman James McGovern. "Population-based public health efforts are a proven, cost-effective way to keep people healthy, and I believe they should continue to be a priority."

The initiative is also designed to reduce disparities among local public health systems in their capacities to carry out the responsibilities of Boards of Health; promote policy change to address persistent and emerging public health challenges; enhance the qualifications of the state's local public health workforce; and prepare for voluntary national accreditation of local health systems.

The funding builds on the Patrick-Murray Administration's continued efforts to promote and encourage regionalization. Last year, Lieutenant Governor Murray chaired the Regionalization Advisory Commission, which included a sub-committee focused on regionalizing public health services. In September, 2011, Lieutenant Governor Murray plans to participate in the Administration's 3rd Annual Regionalization Conference that attracts local officials from across the state to discuss and share best practices for regionalization.

"This is a historic opportunity for cities and towns in Massachusetts to collaborate on public health needs," said Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner John Auerbach. "With these new federal resources, cities and towns will be able to work together to better protect the public and prevent injury and disease among residents."

The Public Health District Incentive Grant Program is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure to Improve Health Outcomes initiative. Massachusetts is one of 14 states funded by the CDC through the newly created Prevention and Public Health Fund.

Eighteen groups of communities competed for the planning grants. The eleven groups of communities selected to receive awards will be eligible to compete for a smaller number of multi-year operating grants, which the Department of Public Health expects to offer beginning later this year. Resources for the operating grants will depend on continued funding of national health care reform by Congress.

Awarded Planning Grants Include:

  • Central Massachusetts Regional Health District: $15,000
    Lead Agency: City of Worcester, Department of Health
    Proposed Communities (10): Auburn, Grafton, Boylston, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Northborough, Shrewsbury, West Boylston, Worcester
  • Berkshire Public Health Partnership: $29,000
    Lead Agency: Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
    Proposed Communities (17): Adams, Alford, Becket, Dalton, Egremont, Great Barrington, Hancock, Lanesborough, New Marlborough, North Adams, Peru, Savoy, Sheffield, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, Windsor
  • Franklin County Cooperative Health Services: $29,550
    Lead Agency: Franklin Regional Council of Governments
    Proposed Communities (19): Ashfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Greenfield, Hawley, Leverett, Leyden, Monroe, Montague, Northfield, Orange, Shelburne, Sunderland, Whately
  • Hampshire Health District: $27,400
    Lead Agency: City of Northampton
    Proposed Communities (22): Amherst, Belchertown, Chester, Goshen, Granby, Hatfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Northampton, Pelham, Plainfield, South Hadley, Southampton, Ware, Westhampton, Whately, Williamsburg, Chesterfield, Cummington, Easthampton, Hadley, Worthington
  • Montachusett Regional Planning District: $27,000
    Lead Agency: Montachusett Regional Planning Commission
    Proposed Communities (5): Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Westminster, Hubbardston
  • Upper Merrimack Valley Health District: $28,000
    Lead Agency: Methuen Health Department
    Proposed Communities (3): Methuen, Lawrence, Haverhill
  • Integrated Public Health Network: $15,000
    Lead Agency: Cambridge Public Health Department
    Proposed Communities (4): Cambridge, Everett, Somerville, Watertown
  • Southeast Regional Health District: $30,450
    Lead Agency: Middleborough Health Department
    Proposed Communities (13): Middleborough, Abington, Bridgewater, Lakeville, Mattapoisett, Raynham, Plympton, Wareham, Halifax, Marion, Rochester, Rockland, Duxbury
  • North Shore Shared Health Services Project: $25,000
    Lead Agency: Metropolitan Area Planning Council
    Proposed Communities (5): Lynn, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem, Swampscott
  • Tri-Town: $20,000
    Lead Agency: Lowell Health Department
    Proposed Communities (3): Lowell, Dracut, Tyngsboro
  • MetroWest Public Health and Nursing District: $30,000
    Lead Agency: Acton Board of Health
    Proposed Communities (13): Acton, Concord, Framingham, Hudson, Southborough, Weston, Lincoln, Holliston, Carlisle, Marlborough, Stow, Maynard, Westborough


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