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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants to Support, Expand Local Public Health

For immediate release:
6/22/2020
  • Executive Office of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Public Health

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants to Support, Expand Local Public Health

Brooke Karanovich, Media Relations Manager

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration has announced an additional $156,756 for a total of $500,000 annually to strengthen local public health services under a Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) program launched in January 2020. Created in response to recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health, the State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Grant Program awards funds to four additional groups representing twenty cities and towns to plan for or to expand the sharing of staff and resources in a more efficient and effective manner.

With this new award, the SAPHE Grant Program strengthens local health services to residents in over 75 cities and towns. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, local health departments and boards of health have made critical contributions to the Commonwealth’s efforts and initiatives to keep people safe and save lives. Their tireless work—enforcement of orders, contact tracing, and public education  to mitigate the spread of the disease and support for people with the disease—highlights the essential role of the local public health workforce in every city and town in promoting health and preventing disease.

“This public health grant program underscores our administration’s continuing commitment to being an effective partner with municipal governments, especially as they continue to confront ongoing public health challenges,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By committing these resources for local health departments and boards of health, we are supporting communities’ efforts to promote public health during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

“Supporting the Commonwealth’s cities and towns has been a hallmark of our Administration, and the awarding of these SAPHE grants will help us support important public health priorities in our municipalities” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are proud to announce further support for Massachusetts communities through this public health initiative that will contribute to the ability of local health departments and boards of health to provide stronger and more effective public health protections through shared services.”

The grants support local officials to develop plans to share public health staff and services such as public health nursing, animal control, vector-borne disease management, and housing and restaurant inspections. These four groups join six programs funded earlier this year.

“Our boards of health are the backbone of local public health across the Commonwealth,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “They have been at the front lines of the COVID-19 response. These funds  allow these twenty  communities to further build their capacity by forging new collaboration and  municipal coordination.”

The four planning grants include:

  • North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative: Revere (lead municipality) with Chelsea and Winthrop
  • Norfolk County – 8 Local Public Health Coalition: Norwood (lead municipality) with Canton, Dedham, Milton, Needham, Wellesley, Walpole,​ Westwood
  • Martha’s Vineyard Public Health Environmental District:  Oak Bluffs, Chilmark, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Aquinnah and Edgartown
  • Mansfield, Foxborough, and Norton

The shared services programs begin in July 2020.

“This is an important next step in advancing the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH.  “With these state resources, we will strengthen the scope and quality of local public health services and help cities and towns take advantage of the benefits of working together to protect the public and prevent injury and disease.”

These four programs join six others who were previously awarded:

  • Framingham Health Department for shared public health nursing services with Ashland, Hudson, and Holliston (in partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council).
  • Peabody Department of Health and Human Services and nine other municipalities for the North Shore Mother Home Visiting Program (in partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council).
  • East Longmeadow-Longmeadow Health Departments for shared public health services.
  • Newburyport Health Department with Amesbury, Salisbury, Newbury, and West Newbury for regional animal control services
  • Cooperative Public Health Service (Franklin Regional Council of Governments) to address distressed and abandoned housing in 14 Franklin County towns and to provide training for members of local boards of health.
  • Berkshire Public Health Alliance (Berkshire Regional Planning Council) to develop a more efficient system of online permitting and inspection scheduling among the 24 Berkshire County municipalities.

To learn more about the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health and the work of Massachusetts Department of Public Health with local boards of health, visit the MDPH Office of Local and Regional Health web site at www.mass.gov/dph/olrh.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants to Support, Expand Local Public Health

Executive Office of Health and Human Services 

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services is the largest secretariat in state government and is comprised of 12 agencies, in addition to 2 soldiers’ homes and the MassHealth program. Our efforts are focused on the health, resilience, and independence of the one in four residents of the Commonwealth we serve. Our public health programs touch every community in the Commonwealth.

Department of Public Health 

DPH promotes the health and well-being of all residents by ensuring access to high-quality public health and healthcare services, and by focusing on prevention, wellness, and health equity in all people.
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