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Nov 17

Born in Australia in 2003, the Movember movement has made its way across the world and touched many lives in Boston in the past decade.  Supported widely among Boston residents, including our very own Patriots' and Bruins' players, organizations such as Dana Farber, the Harvard Hospitals Network, local restaurants and many more, Movember has truly become part of a November tradition in Boston.

So what's the deal with the moustaches?

Starting from the initial idea of asking men to grow a mustache and instead of spending money on shaving cream, razors, or any item used to up keep their facial hair, donating it to raise awareness for men's health. With the years the movement grew to become an inclusive global challenge, calling to action men (Mo Bros) women named (Mo Sisters) and organizations to make the commitment for 30 days and grow or sport a mustache on themselves, their products, or events with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of men dying needlessly each year.

Evidently, growing the mustache is the easiest part. The money raised, the conversations sparked, and actions taken to improve men's health are the vital components of this movement.  Targeting three focus areas, Movember funds, supports, and researches initiatives around prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

According to the Health of Boston Special Report on Cancer from 1999-2013, men in Boston are diagnosed with- and die from- prostate cancer at a greater rate than state and national averages. 

Prostate cancer has a disproportionate impact on black men overall.  In Boston, the death rate from prostate cancer is 2.65 times higher for black men than white men. This is more than the 2.3 times the death rate of black men, when compared to white men, at the national level. 

Want to know how to get involved to reverse this trend?  In addition to sporting a moustache, men and women can start awareness or fundraising campaigns, host events, set up a Mo Space to share with family and friends, and more!

So… get ready, get set, and make a contribution to men's health!​

Join the movement for men's health:

Nov 14
BU Dean Sandro Galea Will Present on Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue to the Board of Health

​Tomorrow, Sandro Galea, dean of Boston University's School of Public Health, will present on gun violence as a public health issue, advocating towards solutions like restricting the availability of guns, making guns safer, and rethinking concealed-carry laws. 

General discussion will be led by BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, and will include updates from the executive office and an update on BPHC's financial audit. 

BPHC will be live streaming the meeting on Facebook at

WHEN: Wednesday, November 15, 2017
TIME: 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
WHERE: Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor
* Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, Executive Director, BPHC
* Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, Dean and Robert A Knox Professor, School of Public Health​

Nov 06
Tattoo Safety

​Thinking about getting a tattoo? Here's what you need to know:

Make sure the shop and artist has the proper permits and licenses. To get a safe and sanitary tattoo, it is important to get tattoos from licensed artists working in permitted shops. All tattoo shops in Boston must have- and post- their BPHC Body Art Permit, and all tattoo artists working in tattoo shops must have- and post- their BPHC Body Art Artist License.

It's illegal to tattoo outside of a permitted tattoo shop in Boston. Tattoo artists may not come to your house to do a tattoo, and "tattoo parties" are also against the rules. These things can put you at risk of serious infections and injury.

Permitted shops are inspected regularly for safety and sanitation. Licensed artists have training in first aid, CPR, and preventing infections. They must also demonstrate to the BPHC that they have previous experience and knowledge of proper hygienic work practices before they can get licensed.


Nov 02
BPHC Receives $100,000 Grant as Part of Cultivating Healthy Communities Program

​The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has been awarded a $100,000 community grant through the Aetna Foundation's Cultivating Healthy Communities program. The funds will be used to implement a promotional campaign for the Green & Clean business recognition program, which works to reduce occupational and environmental health exposures in auto shops, nail salons, and hair salons in Boston.

"This funding will allow us to expand the reach of our Green & Clean business efforts, ultimately improving the health of employees, customers and neighbors," said BPHC Executive Director, Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "We are grateful for this funding and look forward to continuing to work with Boston's small businesses to reduce occupational and environmental health hazards in our neighborhoods."

Through this grant, BPHC will aim to increase the number of businesses participating in the Green & Clean Program, which recognizes businesses that are working to reduce chemical exposure and protect the environment. Green & Clean is part of the Safe Shops Program, which was launched 13 years ago to serve auto shops, and expanded to serve nail salons in 2007 and hair salons in 2016.

Safe Shops Program staff will continue to provide technical assistance and training to small businesses to help them adopt strategies such as using products that contain fewer hazardous chemicals, using personal protective equipment to decrease chemical exposure, and using less energy and water, honoring the business's dedication to the health and safety of workers, customers, and the environment. 

The Cultivating Healthy Communities program awarded over $2 million in grants to 25 nonprofit organizations in 14 states to advance the Aetna Foundation's mission to improve health at the local level. Grantees are working on projects that will address social determinants of health such as improving access to healthy foods, promoting biking and physical activity and reducing exposure to air and water contaminants. The grantees were chosen based on the strength of their strategies to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five domains: healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures.

Within Boston, there are approximately 500 automotive shops, and more than 200 nail salons and 100 hair salons. These businesses, which are usually locally owned, employ over 5,000 people, and may be using chemicals that can be hazardous to workers, customers, and the environment. Workers, clients, and neighbors can be exposed to carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, sensitizers for occupational asthma, solvents that can cause neurological damage, and caustic chemicals.

"The Aetna Foundation is committed to addressing the social determinants of health in order to reduce health disparities," said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation. "By identifying community-specific challenges, and unique ways to combat them, this year's grantees are a shining example of organizations who strive to make a measurable and positive local health impact. We are honored to contribute towards the great work they are doing in pursuit of health equity."

This funding addresses the need to improve opportunities for all Americans-regardless of income, education or ethnic background-to take an active role in living healthier lives. For more information on the Cultivating Healthy Communities program visit, visit

Nov 01
New Community Food Resources List and Map

In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Food Access (OFA) and the City of Boston Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), the Boston Public Health Commission developed a Community Food Resources List and Map


The map which resembles a tourist map, displays free, low-cost, and emergency food outlets including: food pantries and meals sites, affordable fresh fruit and vegetable sources (Fair Foods and Fresh Truck locations), senior dining sites, farmers market locations (where SNAP and HIP matching can be accessed), and SNAP enrollment assistance locations, as well as other general information. On one side, the information is organized by neighborhood to allow users easily locate resources that are convenient for them and on the other side a map shows the locations of these resources. The map is available in five initial languages including English, Spanish, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Haitian Creole, Russian and Vietnamese and will be initially distributed through CHCs, community centers, senior centers, and other community locations. Additionally, printer friendly black/white 8.5’’x11’’ versions of the food resources/map (in PDF format) classified by neighborhood are also available to print at any time.​

Oct 28
City of Boston Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs on Saturday, October 28

Today, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services (ORS), the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and the Boston Police Department (BPD) are encouraging Bostonians to play a role in curbing the misuse and theft of prescription drugs by dropping of their expired, unused, and unwanted medications at 11 disposal kiosks located around the city. 

This effort is part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and reinforces the commitment from Mayor Walsh’s Administration to address the opioid epidemic. Boston has drug collection kiosks at 11 BPD stations that are open to all residents as a safe, effective, and sustainable way to dispose of prescription medicines. 

“Expanding access for residents to dispose of prescription drugs in a safe and easy way is essential to our prevention efforts,” said Jen Tracey, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services. “Take Back Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness and educate the community about easy steps that can be taken to dispose of unused or expired medication in our homes because we know that the majority of people who misuse prescription drugs report that they obtained them from family or friends.”

The kiosks are available through a partnership with the DEA, the City of Boston, BPD, BPHC, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. This kiosk service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

"Properly disposing of unwanted or expired medications reduces opportunities for these drugs to end up being consumed by children or misused by adults. Take Back Day provides a safe and convenient method for the public to dispose of these items," said BPD Commissioner William Evans. 

Kiosks are open to all residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and available at any of the following locations:

  • Downtown: 40 New Sudbury St. Boston, MA 02114

  • East Boston: 69 Paris St. East Boston, MA 02128

  • Roxbury: 2400 Washington St. Roxbury, MA 02119 

  • Mattapan: 1165 Blue Hill Ave. Dorchester, MA 02124

  • South Boston: 101 West Broadway South Boston, MA 02127

  • Dorchester: 40 Gibson St. Dorchester, MA 02122 

  • Back Bay: 650 Harrison Ave. Boston, MA 02116 

  • Brighton: 301 Washington St. Brighton, MA 02135 

  • West Roxbury: 1708 Centre St. West Roxbury, MA 02132

  • Jamaica Plain: 3345 Washington St. Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

  • Hyde Park: 1249 Hyde Park Ave. Hyde Park, MA 02136

Expanding drug stewardship is an important element of substance use prevention and a core component of one Mayor Walsh’s legislative priorities. Under An Act relative to substance use disorder diversion and treatment, sponsored by State Representative Liz Malia and supported by BPHC, a program financed by pharmaceutical product manufacturers would collect, secure, transport, and safely dispose of unwanted drugs. Residents would also be able to mail their unused prescription medicines back to the manufactures, welcoming an additional method to dispose of prescription drugs safely and easily. 

In 2015, Mayor Walsh created the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services, which works closely with the Boston Public Health Commission, other City of Boston departments, state and federal agencies, local service providers, and community networks to build and support recovery services throughout the City.

Since then, Boston has more than doubled staff and expanded hours at the City’s access to care program, created the City’s first 24/7 recovery support hotline through 311, and added a street outreach team in heavily impacted areas. Most recently, Mayor Walsh doubled the capacity of the Mobile Sharps Team to pick up improperly discarded hypodermic needles, and began to pilot an engagement center for individuals in need of a space to spend time during the day and get connected to the many housing and recovery services offered by the City and partners.

Last April Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds—more than 4,050 tons—of pills. 

For a map of Boston disposal kiosks, visit 

For more information on the types of prescriptions that can be disposed of in prescription drug disposal kiosks, visit

Oct 27
Mayor Walsh Announces Boston Awarded $2.6 Million to Expand Services for Pregnant and Postpartum Women with Substance Use Disorders

​Funds will integrate medical care into BPHC's residential substance use treatment program  Entre Familia

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today announced the City of Boston has received a $2.6 million federal award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to expand treatment, prevention and recovery support services for women and their children in substance use treatment facilities. The grant will serve 180 Latina women and their children in Entre Familia, a City residential substance use treatment program that offers culturally sensitive, gender-specific care and services.

This grant will support Entre Familia over a five-year period. The funds will integrate on-site primary and mental health care into the program by partnering with Boston Medical Center's Project RESPECT (Recovery, Empowerment, Social Services, Prenatal care, Education, Community and Treatment), a high risk obstetrical and addiction recovery medical home for pregnant women and their newborns.

This project will build upon the program's mission of providing cost-effective, comprehensive and sustainable clinical treatment and support services that address the needs of Latina women and their children, a population historically underserved in substance use treatment.

"This award will make a lasting, crucial difference in the lives of women and their children that are served by BPHC and Entre Familia," said Mayor Walsh. "Since 2014, we have helped over 11,000 people receive help with substance use disorders. I'm proud this funding will give young families the wraparound services they need and the support that will set them on a path to recovery."

"It is imperative that we work together to face this epidemic, and we look forward to working with the Boston Public Health Commission to expand access to the necessary treatment for Latina women with substance use disorders and their children," said Kelley Saia, MD, director of BMC's Project RESPECT.

As the first hospital in the region to have started a program specific to these patients more than three decades ago, BMC is a leader in caring for women with substance use disorders both during pregnancy and after they deliver their baby.

This award continues the Walsh Administration's goals to ensure all residents have access to the substance use treatments and supports they need. In 2014, more than 11,000 people received services for substance use disorders in Boston, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In 2015, Mayor Walsh created the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services, which works closely with the Boston Public Health Commission, other City of Boston departments, state and federal agencies, local service providers, and community networks to build and support recovery services throughout the City.

Since then, Boston has more than doubled staff and expanded hours at the City's access to care program, created the City's first 24/7 recovery support hotline through 311, and added a street outreach team in heavily impacted areas. Most recently, Mayor Walsh doubled the capacity of the Mobile Sharps Team to pick up improperly discarded hypodermic needles, and began to pilot an engagement center for individuals in need of a space to spend time during the day and get connected to the many housing and recovery services offered by the City and partners.

The Services Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women awarded to Boston is part of a $49 million nationwide award from SAMHSA. BPHC is one of 19 organizations across the country and the only health department selected to participate in the program, which is designed to expand services for women and their children in residential substance use treatment facilities.

"Opioid use disorders continue to plague our nation," said Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. "These funds will support and expand prevention, treatment and recovery services in America's communities." 

Entre Familia is a six to 12-month residential substance use treatment program that guides Latina mothers into recovery by offering core clinical treatment services, including screening, counseling, and referrals to relevant care. Since the inception of the program in 1996, Entre Familia has helped 800 Latina women and their families on their paths to recovery.

Earlier this month, Boston was also awarded a $2.4 million SAMHSA grant to support Boston's continued work in ending chronic and veteran homelessness. The grant will serve 270 chronically homeless individuals by further increasing the City's capacity to house and provide treatment for homeless individuals with mental health and substance use disorders.​

Oct 23
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: Lead Free Kids for a Healthy Future

Did you know that lead paint is the most common source of lead exposure in children, and is common in homes built before 1978? Since most homes in Boston were built before 1978, children in Boston are at increased risk of lead exposure. Lead exposure often leads to lead poisoning, which may cause developmental delays, neurologic changes, abdominal pain, and irritability. Children are exposed to lead mostly through lead paint in their homes, through the ingestion and inhalation of leaded dust and chips from deteriorating lead paint or soil contaminated with lead in their yards.

Here are some things you can do to protect your child from lead poisoning:

  • Regularly clean up dust and chips from paint that has come off of window and door trim, doors, door jams, and from soil that may have been tracked into your home.
  • Make sure your child washes their hands when coming inside from playing, and make sure they take off their shoes before entering the house.
  • Ask your child's doctor about getting your child tested for lead exposure. All children up to age 4 are required to be tested each year for lead exposure. We recommend that all children up to age 6 be tested.
  • Get your home inspected for lead-based paint. Call the Lead Program at 617-534-5965 for more information about home inspections.
  • Paint and renovate your home safely. Call the Lead Program at 617-534-5965 to learn more.
  • Does your home have a lead service line? Check the Boston Water and Sewer Commission's website.

If you child has lead poisoning, we can help. We provide home visits and case management to families with children less than 6 years of age with concerns about lead.  BPHC's Lead Program and Boston Medical Center's  Pediatric Lead Clinic can provide treatment and other services if your child has tested positive for lead.

The MA Lead Law protects a child's right to a lead-safe home. It requires the removal or covering of lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978 where any children under 6 live. Landlords cannot reject you or evict you because of lead, and homeowners are required to remove or cover lead paint hazards in homes where a child under the age of 6 lives. Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development, MassHousing, and Boston Water and Sewer Commission offer financial assistance to homeowners to help them address lead hazards.

 For more information, visit the Lead Program's webpage or call 617-534-5965.​

Oct 17
Mayor Walsh Announces Completion of Finland Building Mural in South End


Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services, the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and Boston University today announced the completion of a mural on the Finland Building at 774 Albany Street in Boston.​

"The Finland Building mural is an excellent depiction of the strength and resilience of the surrounding community," said Mayor Walsh. "I hope this will serve as a reminder to those struggling with addiction that each day brings new opportunities and that the City of Boston is here to support them every step of the way."

The mural, which primarily consists of bright blue, orange and purple, is a depiction of several city rooftops and a sunrise, with a painting of that same scene on one of the rooftops. According to artist Timothy McCool, the easel and paintbrushes are evidence of someone being inspired by the sunrise and wanting to capture it on a canvas.

"I chose the design and colors of my mural to be bright and hopeful," said artist Timothy McCool. "Making art is a way to describe the indescribable and to express feelings that are hard to express with just words. So it's my hope that it can brighten their day even just a little bit by providing some sunshine in their life."

McCool is a South End resident who has made several contributions to Boston's public art landscape. Last October, he assisted in the creation of the Spaces of Hope mural, which can be seen from the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway.

The mural was one of several initiatives championed by the City during ​September, which marked Recovery Month, a national effort that aims to combat the social stigma around addictions, celebrate recovery and promote awareness of recovery services.

The Finland building houses several recovery service programs operated by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) that offer detox and other treatment programs, as well as harm reduction services. This artwork serves as a form of encouragement and support for those taking advantages of the services offered inside the building.

Boston University partnered with the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission last year to improve the neighborhoods around the Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue intersection, which is home to their medical school's campus.

The City of Boston released a call for artists in April 2017, as part of a broader effort to improve the neighborhood around the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue.

In the span of only a few square miles, there are several opioid treatment clinics, two of the largest emergency shelters in the region, a detox facility, a long-term residential treatment program, a resource and referral center that places scores of individuals in treatment every day, a peer recovery center, the biggest harm reduction site in New England, and a world-class health-care organization whose mission it is to serve Boston's most vulnerable residents.

The mural is one of several ongoing efforts to beautify this part of the City where people in recovery go to receive services. Since last year, four outreach workers have been walking main roads and side streets in the area seven days a week, engaging with individuals and helping them access the services they might need. Most recently, the Mayor increased resources for the Mobile Sharps Team, doubling the number of workers available to locate used syringes and properly dispose of them.

"This is one of our many efforts to pair recovery with art, which is a critical form of catharsis for so many recovering from addiction," said Jen Tracey, Director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services. "By using the City's infrastructure and buildings as a canvas, we hope to raise awareness, combat stigma, and promote the collective resilience of individuals in recovery."

"At the Boston Public Health Commission, we are proud to serve all Boston residents," said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "This building is the entry point into recovery for so many, and we want this physical entrance to reflect the welcoming nature of our staff and programs."

The mural is also an embodiment of Boston Creates, the city's ten year cultural plan for improving and expanding the arts and culture industry in Boston.

"A key vision of the Boston Creates Cultural Plan is to create a City that uses art as a means to foster creative thinking and solve problems," said Julie Burros, Chief of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture. "It's great to see this mural play a role in the conversation about tackling the issue of addiction in Boston."

McCool worked on the mural for 10 days, and it took 71 hours to complete. Approximately 10.5 gallons of paint were used during the project.

Oct 16
International Infection Prevention Week: Antibiotic Resistance

The 2017 theme for International Infection Prevention Week is Antibiotic Resistance. Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of a medicine to which they were once sensitive. Thus this medicine is unable to treat and cure an infection caused by that bacterium. Antibiotic resistance is rising in all parts of the world. Tuberculosis and gonorrhea are some of the infections that are becoming harder to treat. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics have made them become less effective. Poor infection prevention and control also add to this problem.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce the impact and limit the spread of resistance. To prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance:

  • Only use antibiotics prescribed by your healthcare provider.
    • Never demand antibiotics if your health provider says you don't need them.
  • Take antibiotics as directed by your health care provider.
  • Never share or use leftover antibiotics.

You can also avoid the need of antibiotics by preventing infections. Prevent infections by:

Washing your hands. Hand-washing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself from germs and most infections. Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly before preparing or eating food, after coughing or sneezing, after changing a diaper, and after using the toilet. If you don't have soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer.

Getting vaccinated. Vaccination is your best line of defense for many diseases such as measles and chickenpox. Vaccines are not only for children! Adults still need to be routinely vaccinated to prevent some illnesses, such as tetanus and the flu. Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you and your family's vaccines are up-to-date.

Keeping food safe. Proper handling and cooking of food is also important to make sure you stay healthy. Don't eat any cooked food that has been left at room temperature for two hours or more. Perishable food should be refrigerated or frozen if it will not be promptly used. Cook foods to proper temperatures and use a food thermometer to make sure food is at a safe internal temperature. Also, avoid food that has been handled or prepared with unwashed hands.

Practicing safer sex. Always use a latex, nitrile or polyurethane condom or barrier (dental dam) when having sex (vaginal, oral, or anal). You should also limit your number of sex partners and talk with your partner about their status and getting tested. Talk with your health care provider about safer sex practices and getting tested.


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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
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