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May 22
Mayor Walsh, Boston EMS And Massport Open New EMS Station in East Boston

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined members of Boston EMS and Massport for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the newly renovated Boston EMS Station at Logan International Airport.

Building on his commitment to improving emergency response times citywide, last year Mayor Walsh announced a second ambulance would be dedicated to East Boston, bringing additional capacity to serve the neighborhood's residents.

"This second ambulance will bring major benefits," said Mayor Walsh. "It will help EMTs move more quickly and efficiently throughout East Boston, increasing capacity if there is an emergency happening at Logan Airport. It will reduce response times for our residents who need immediate medical care, saving even more lives."


Under Mayor Walsh, citywide response times for Priority 1 calls were 6.3 minutes in 2018, down from 6.4 minutes in 2017. Boston EMS responds to more than 125,000 calls all across the city each year, 7,700 of those incidents are in East Boston.

"Boston EMS is a national leader in emergency medical services. And this opportunity to add additional resources to serve residents and visitors to the city of Boston with this new facility is an important one," said EMS Chief James Hooley. "We are happy to be here in East Boston today with Mayor Walsh and Massport."

Mayor Walsh, EMS and Massport collaborated on the expansion of the station at Logan to give EMS a permanent home which can serve not only the airport but the entire East Boston neighborhood.

"At Logan Airport, we work collaboratively with Boston EMS, and when the City wanted to add a second ambulance to service East Boston, it only made sense that we upgrade and expand the existing facility," said Massport Acting CEO John Pranckevicius. "It is part of Massport's mission to be a good neighbor to our surrounding communities. This new facility will provide dividends to the growing East Boston neighborhood and to Logan Airport for many years ahead."

Mayor Walsh's FY20 budgetincludes additional resources to promote diversity in recruitment classes for the EMT City Academy program as well as resources for another Community Assistance Team, also known as Squad 80. Squad 80 is a two-person team that travels in an SUV and answers calls where patients have a low frequency of being transported to the emergency room. Squad 80 frees up city ambulances, making more ambulances available for priority calls that need to get patients to the hospital. It also connects people to our recovery or homeless services and other city programs.

The FY20-24 Capital Plan allocates an additional $375,000 for design and construction of a new EMS garage with staff amenities in the Seaport district. Both investments will allow the City's services to transform and expand as the City's population does the same.

Today's ribbon cutting falls in the middle of the 45th Annual National EMS week, a week designed to honor and celebrate the men & women who provide day-to-day lifesaving services.

About Boston EMS

Boston EMS is the primary provider of emergency medical services for the City of Boston and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of pre-hospital emergency medicine. The department leverages the latest advances in both medicine and technology to bring high-quality, compassionate care to the people of Boston. Boston EMS also plays a key role in the City's emergency preparedness efforts and provides community programming designed to educate the public about important health and safety topics.

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May 13
Boston Public Health Commission Announces New Division Director of Ryan White Services

​Katie Keating has been named the new Division Director of Ryan White Services at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).

 "The Ryan White Services Program is such an important program for people living with HIV and AIDS," said Keating. "I'm really excited to be part of such a big project that reaches people not only in Boston but across ten different counties in Massachusetts and New Hampshire."

The Ryan White Services Division serves as the grantee for the Ryan White Part A grant, funded by HRSA. Earlier this year BPHC announced it has received nearly $15 million in funding from HRSA for fiscal year 2020. The funds are intended to develop or enhance access to a comprehensive continuum of high quality, community-based care for low-income individuals and families with HIV disease. In her new role, Keating will oversee a staff charged with executing that grant and other important efforts related to Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs.

Katie is a familiar face with many of her colleagues at BPHC as she began working at BPHC four years ago as the Assistant Director of the Boston Healthy Start Initiative. In that role, Katie supported staff and community partners in providing services to pregnant and parenting women, children, and fathers in order to reduce racial inequities in infant mortality and poor birth outcomes. She also worked closely with the Community Action Network; a community coalition, to address racial inequities in maternal and child health through systems and policy change approaches that are strongly rooted in community engagement.

Originally from the Boston area, Katie has her B.S. from Northeastern University and her MPH from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She is passionate about health equity and racial justice and has over 12 years of experience working in the field of public health in both governmental and non-profit settings.

"I like thinking about how we can improve systems and policies to promote health equity and serve those who are most in need. I enjoy working with the community and other partners to promote changes that are relevant to community needs and will help improve health and quality of life for all groups," said Keating.

Katie has also lived in northern California where she worked on projects aimed at reducing substance use and promoting adolescent health. She coordinated community engagement and youth leadership on various policy initiatives targeting tobacco use, underage drinking, and driving under the influence. She was also the director of community-based collaborative project to improve adolescent health.

Keating began her role as Division Director on May 13th.

Apr 27
Are your children's vaccinations up-to-date?

Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In the 1950's, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died. Today, thanks to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, many healthcare providers have never seen a case of measles.

Vaccines save lives!

 Vaccines can protect children from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2! It's easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases. 

"As a pediatrician myself, I speak with many parents about vaccinations. There is no debate regarding the fact that vaccines prevent severe disease and death from infections, many of which are still common throughout the world. I tell parents that taking steps to ensure that they themselves and all individuals in the household are vaccinated is crucial to creating an environment where every child is safe from preventable diseases," said Jenifer Leaf Jaeger, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the Infectious Disease Bureau and Director of Population Health at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).


BPHC provides fact sheets on many diseases for which children can be vaccinated in multiple languages, including Chinese, Haitian Creole, Spanish and others. Click on the links below to learn more:

Chickenpox
Diphtheria
Flu
Measles
Rubella
Mumps
Tetanus
Hepatitis B
Meningitis
Rotavirus
Whooping Cough
Polio

You can also provide extra protection to your children by making sure those around them are current on their vaccines. When family members and caregivers of children are vaccinated, they are not only protecting their own health from vaccine preventable diseases, but they are also helping to limit the children's exposure to these diseases. This is especially important in the children's first few months of life when they haven't been fully vaccinated.  


Talk to your health care provider to make sure you and your children are up-to-date with their vaccinations.

To learn more about vaccines, visit Vaccination Myths and Facts.


Apr 23
BPHC Provides Update on Ill Passengers Landing at Logan Airport on April 21, 2019

​On the morning of Sunday, April 21, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) was notified about an aircraft landing at Logan International Airport with passengers presenting with gastrointestinal illness symptoms. 

A group of 40 high school students and chaperones were on board an American Airlines plane returning from Ecuador, with a layover in Miami.

Boston EMS transported 13 of those 40 to Mass General Hospital after landing and on-site evaluation by EMTs. 

BPHC’s Infectious Disease Bureau began to coordinate with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Massport to investigate the cause of the illness. While the investigation is ongoing, the illness appears to be food related. Preliminary results suggest that infection occurred during a family style dinner the entire group ate before departing Ecuador.

Since Sunday, at least 30 of the individuals in the group have reported symptoms. Norovirus has been identified among several travelers. The Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory is continuing its evaluation. Results of this investigation are pending at this time.

BPHC has been in communication with treating hospitals as well as the Dover-Sherborn Regional High School, the Dover Board of Health and the tour company regarding findings as well as treatment and prevention recommendations. 

BPHC provides fact sheets on Norovirus including symptoms, prevention and treatment in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese online. Anyone who may have been on the plane and believes they may be experiencing symptoms are encouraged to contact their primary healthcare provider. 

Media Contact: Caitlin McLaughlin, cmclaughlin@bphc.org, 617-534-2821

Apr 23
Boston Biosafety Committee Meeting April 25, 2019

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is holding a meeting of the Boston Biosafety Committee, an advisory group appointed by the BPHC Executive Director under the BPHC Biological Laboratory Regulation.  

The meeting will be held on Thursday, April 25, 2019 from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor, Hayes Conference Room.


Apr 19
Mosquito Spraying to Begin This Month in Boston

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) would like to advise residents and community members in Hyde Park and West Roxbury of upcoming sprayings to help control mosquito populations in selected neighborhood areas. BPHC partners with the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project (SCMCP) to protect Boston residents from mosquito-borne disease transmission.

SCMCP will be conducting a helicopter application of the biological larvicide, Bti, to control mosquito larvae over large wetlands. 

  • Wetlands currently being evaluated include the Fowl Meadow area of Hyde Park, the Hancock Woods area near VFW Parkway and Corey Street and wetlands near Millennium Park in West Roxbury.
  • The application will be conducted between April 22 and April 26.
  • The larvicide will be applied in a granular formulation by a helicopter flying low directly over the wetlands.

Residents do not need to take any special precautions for this application.

Mosquito species have different breeding habits, but most want to lay their eggs near water – usually in vegetation or in still water. To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, BPHC advises residents to limit places around the home where standing water can collect. People should turn over unused flower pots, buckets, wheelbarrows and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools when not in use.

Click here for more information about the mosquito control work of BPHC and its partnership with SCMCP. 

About Bti: The material to be applied, Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis), is a natural bacterium found in soil. The EPA classifies Bti as a relatively non-toxic pesticide.  Bti is considered a target selective and environmentally compatible pesticide that affects mosquito larvae and a few closely related aquatic insects in the fly family. Once applied Bti stays suspended in water for 24 to 48 hours and then biodegrades as it settles to the bottom. The product name of the Bti is VectoBac GR (EPA Reg. #73049-486).

For further information contact the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project at 781-899-5730. 

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About the Boston Public Health Commission 

The Boston Public Health Commission, one of the country's oldest health departments, is an independent public agency providing a wide range of health services and programs. It is governed by a seven-member board of health appointed by the Mayor of Boston.

Public service and access to quality health care are the cornerstones of our mission - to protect, preserve, and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable. The Commission's more than 40 programs are grouped into six bureaus: Child, Adolescent & Family Health; Community Health Initiatives; Homeless Services; Infectious Disease; Recovery Services; and Emergency Medical Services. 

Apr 18
National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month Blog: Getting Treated, Getting Cured

Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be cured with the right medicine. Bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured with antibiotics. Remember to take the medicine as directed and never share your medication with others. If it is safe to do so, talk to your sex partner(s) about getting tested for STIs. If your current sex partner is infected, it is important they be treated at the same time to prevent you from becoming re-infected. Having an STI and getting it treated does not protect you from future infections!


Some STIs, such as HIV  aren't curable, but they are treatable. Talk to your healthcare provider to start treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment not only helps you stay healthy but can also reduce your chance of spreading the virus to someone else. 


If left untreated, STIs can cause very serious health problems such as:

  • Gonorrhea can cause men and women to become infertile.

  • Long term infection of syphilis can damage internal organs.

  • HIV can progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Having one STI also increases your chances of getting other STIs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chlamydia rates across the country have inreased 22% since 2013 and gonorrhea rates have gone up by 67% in the same time frame. However, even more troubling are increases in syphillis rates, including a 154% increase in congenital syphililis rates since 2013. Looking specifically at the Commonwealth, the Massachsuetts Department of Public Health reports similar increases in those three STIs. 

This is the final blog in our series as part of National Sexually Transmitted Infection Awareness Month. To learn more about sextually transmitted infections, visit www.bphc.org/STI

Apr 12
$5 Million Grant to Help Address Infant Mortality Rate in Boston

Direct services and community coalition focused on racial inequities and providing linkage to care

 The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) announced today that it has been awarded a new five-year grant of $4.8 million from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the Boston Healthy Start Initiative (BHSI). The BHSI is focused on eliminating racial inequities in infant mortality and related birth outcomes through direct support of pregnant and parenting women, children and fathers through care coordination, connection to resources, health education, and advocacy.

This new grant focuses on the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park which are areas of the city that have higher than average infant mortality rates. According to data analyzed by BPHC staff, including some from the most recent Health of Boston report, the infant mortality rate between 2013-2015 for Black women in these four neighborhoods was 10.3 per 1,000 live births is almost double the overall Boston rate (5.8) and is 3.5 times the rate for White women citywide (2.9). Data analysis also shows promise, as the rate of infant mortality in Black babies decreased by 36% between 2006-2015, suggesting that the long-term investments in programs such as BSHI may be having an impact on health outcomes.

"The Boston Healthy Start Initiative takes a comprehensive, lived-experience based approach to address some of the causes linked to infant mortality. We have built on the existing community assets and significant progress that has been made over the years. This funding allows us to provide services directly to families and engage the community in addressing the root causes of racial inequities influencing infant mortality," said Monica Valdes Lupi, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission.


This grant will fund case managers, known as Family Partners, embedded within the Codman Square Health Center, Mattapan Community Health Center, Whitter Street Health Center, Bowdoin Street Health Center and the Teen & Tot Program at Boston Medical Center.

 BHSI Family Partners provide one-on-one support to mothers during pregnancy and through the first 18 months of the infant's life to support them reach their goals for their family, including help enrolling in health insurance, health education, support with breastfeeding and safe sleep, accessing mental or behavioral health services, among others. They also provide linkage to resources to address social determinants of health: housing and food insecurity issues, education, employment and legal topics. Importantly, family partners bring their lived-experiences to their work which often includes being an advocate on behalf of mothers and babies.

"We are pleased to receive this funding to continue our commitment, advocacy and services in striving for birth equity and optimal population health for individuals of color and communities disproportionately impacted by health inequities. We have made progress in infant mortality rates however there is still much more work to be done, said Heavenly Mitchell, Director, Healthy Start Systems at BPHC.

In addition to funding for family partners, this new grant will fund staffing and programmatic expenses to operate two other programs coordinated by BSHI: the Community Action Network (CAN) and the Father Friendly Initiative. The CAN is a group of community residents and organizations working together to reduce racial inequities in infant mortality and poor birth outcomes in Boston through policy and community level changes. The Father Friendly Initiative provides opportunities to men living in the city of Boston to become fully involved members of their families and community. 

BPHC was one of the original grantees of funding from HRSA when it began piloting HSI in 1991. Phone numbers for residents to connect with a BHSI Family Partner can be found on its website, by clicking here.  

The Boston Healthy Start Initiative is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Boston Public Health Commission.

Apr 11
National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness Month Blog: When should you be tested?

Many sexually transmitted infections (sometimes called sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or STI) don't cause any symptoms. If you're having sex, getting tested is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health and it's the only way to know for sure if you're infected.


Yearly STI testing is recommended for:

  • All sexually active persons under the age of 25

  • People who have had unprotected sex

More frequent testing (every 3 to 6 months) is recommended for people at high risk, these include:

  • People with multiple partners

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)

You should also get tested:

  • When you are pregnant

  • 3 months after treatment for any sexually transmitted infection

  • Every time you have a new sex partner and are unsure of the partner's status

All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV and anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.

If you're not comfortable talking with your regular healthcare provider about STI testing, find a clinic near you that provides confidential and free or low-cost testing. 

Click here for a list of free and confidential STI testing clinics in Boston.

You can also find a testing site near you by calling the Mayor's Health Line at 617-534-5050 or visit https://www.helpsteps.com.

Apr 09
Celebrating Community Champions for Racial Equity in Maternal and Infant Health in Boston

The Community Action Network (CAN) is a group of community residents, representatives from community-based organizations, healthcare, government, and other groups that are working together to eliminate racial and ethnic inequities in infant mortality and poor birth outcomes in Boston by mobilizing the community to do outreach, education, and policy change. Community engagement and leadership is a core strategy of CAN.

The CAN hosted an 'Appreciation' themed meeting on March 21st at the Great Hall at Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester. It was a wonderful meeting where CAN members got to reconnect with each other, celebrate CAN accomplishments, and share resources and announcements. A total of 51 CAN members were in attendance, including 22 new members.

"What the Community Action Network is doing through community engagement and advocacy to achieve health equity is a best practice," said Monica Valdes Lupi, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, who was a special guest speaker at the recent meeting.


Nine CAN members were awarded for outstanding commitment and dedication. If you'd like to learn more about the Community Action Network go to www.bphc.org/CAN or email CAN@BPHC.org


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1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org