Our mission is to protect, promote, and preserve the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly the most vulnerable.
We strive to fulfill our mission through a wide range of health initiatives that target preventable disease and injury. Through the years, public health has made great strides when it comes to infant mortality, childhood immunization, cancer, heart disease, and tuberculosis, to name a few.
But there is still work to do. These days of economic stress and fear of new and unknown viruses and disease have reminded many of the importance of a sound public health system. Public health is here for the city of Boston, now more than ever.
To address some of our city’s most pressing public health issues, the Commission has adopted three overarching goals for the next five years:
1. Reduce the low birth-weight rate among Boston infants and reduce the gap between the White and Black LBW rate by 25%. Currently, 12.7% of Black babies are born at a low birth weight whereas 8.0% of White babies are born at a low birth weight. Read more >>
2. Reduce obesity rates among Boston residents and reduce the gap between White and Black obesity rates by 30% for school-aged children and 20% for adults. Our data show that 32% of Black adults are obese versus 17% of White adults. Read more >>
3. Reduce Chlamydia rates among Boston residents 15 through 24 years of age and reduce the gap in Chlamydia rates between Black, Latino and White residents 15 through 24 years of age by 25%. Read more >>
Thank you for visiting our website. I hope you find it to be a useful source of public health information for you and your family.
Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd
As the City’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Ferrer manages a $172 million budget and oversees 1,200 employees. In addition to operating public health programs, the Commission provides oversight of Boston Emergency Medical Services, several substance abuse treatment facilities, and the second largest homeless services program in New England.
A high school principal in the Boston Public Schools from 2004 to 2007, Dr. Ferrer returned to the Commission in 2007 after having previously served as the Deputy Director for six years. During that time she spearheaded a broad-based and comprehensive campaign to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.
Dr. Ferrer has more than 25 years of experience working in healthcare. Prior to joining the Boston Public Health Commission, she spent five years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health - first as Director of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and later as Director of the Division of Maternal and Child Health.
In 1988, Dr. Ferrer received a master’s degree in public health from Boston University, and was awarded a Pew Foundation doctoral fellowship to attend Brandeis University. She wrote her doctoral thesis on hospital length-of-stay determinants for AIDS patients and, in 1994, received her doctorate from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare. Dr. Ferrer also holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Download Dr. Ferrer's bio
Dr. Huy Nguyen joined the Boston Public Health Commission as medical director in December, 2011. Among other projects, he is working on improving the integration of the city’s public health initiatives with Boston’s many primary care resources.
Since 2003, he has worked as a primary care pediatrician at the Dorchester House Multi-Service Center, a community health center in Fields Corner, Dorchester. His focus has been on promoting early childhood literacy and culturally competent care for families of different backgrounds. Dr. Nguyen has also worked to create a teen-friendly clinic environment by ensuring that adolescents have ready access to care that acknowledges their increasing independence and concerns for confidentiality. He continues to provide pediatric primary care part-time at the Dorchester House.
Dr. Nguyen received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and completed his pediatric training in Seattle at the University of Washington. He lives with his wife and two children.
Read past monthly columns from the medical director:
May 2013 - Supporting children after the Marathon bombing