Remembering Thomas M. Menino, The Public Health Mayor
The Board and the staff of the Boston Public Health Commission send our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Menino and the entire Menino family on this very sad day.
Frequently referred to as the "Public Health Mayor" by Boston's health leaders, Tom Menino's leadership in building a healthier Boston spanned his twenty-year tenure as the city's mayor.
From the time that he created the Boston Public Health Commission in 1996 to the day he left office, his focus was to promote and protect the health of every man, woman and child in this city -- especially those who lived on the margins of society. Regardless of skin color, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or neighborhood of residence, he believed that the City had an important role in ensuring that every Bostonian had equitable opportunities and resources to achieve optimal health. He was often quoted saying that the Commission had to "make the healthy choice the easy choice" for our residents. A stalwart supporter of public health's social justice mission, he championed the Commission's groundbreaking work to eliminate health disparities and inequities – a Boston paradigm that became a national model.
Under Tom Menino's leadership, Boston saw improvements in almost every area of public health. Significantly lower rates of smoking among adults and teens, lower obesity rates, a decrease in asthma rates in public housing, a significant decline in the infant mortality rate for Black infants, and higher life expectancy for Boston residents. He also built one of the world's best emergency medical services systems and was one of the first mayors in America to address urban violence as a public health problem. These are but a few of his many accomplishments. Tom Menino was never satisfied and he always knew there was more work to be done.
We will miss him greatly, but we thank him for his leadership and indomitable spirit which has infused the efforts of the Boston Public Health Commission since its founding. His commitment to build a healthier and more equitable Boston will be his legacy and will live on in our mission and in our work.
Like the city he served for so long and so well, we will never forget him.