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Jan 21
Boston Biosafety Committee Meeting January 23, 2020

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 Regulations.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2020 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor, Hayes Conference Room.


Jan 14
Mayor Walsh, Boston EMS Celebrate New EMT Graduates

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined Boston EMS to celebrate the graduation of 24 Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) recruits in a ceremony at Faneuil Hall. This graduating class will be assigned to 911 ambulances, strengthening the City of Boston's emergency medical services (EMS).

"Congratulations to this new group of recruits who are joining the ranks of an elite first-responder family. Boston EMTs and Paramedics are heroes who often show up first on the scene of a crisis or tragedy," said Mayor Walsh. "They save lives and offer immediate help with the utmost professionalism and compassion. The men and women graduating today will be making a difference in the lives of Boston residents across the City, and we cannot thank them enough."


Today's ceremony in front of family, friends and colleagues formally acknowledges 24 recruits' successful completion of a rigorous post-hire training program for EMTs at Boston EMS. Already state-certified EMTs prior to hire, this graduating class, 50 percent of which is women, completed an additional 27 weeks of classroom and field training. Known as "Recruit Class 2019-2," the recruits were trained in a variety of life-threatening emergency situations, including active shooter incidents, hazardous materials exposure, transportation accidents, recovery services, human trafficking and mass casualty incidents.

"This job is more than a career. It is a calling," said Boston EMS Chief James Hooley. "Every day when they put on the uniform and hit the streets of Boston, they will be asked to help others through some of the most-frightening times of their lives. It demands passion, purpose and a lot of heart. Not everyone can do this job, but I know these graduates have what it takes. I'm proud to be here today to officially welcome them to the Boston EMS family." 


This academy class responded to nearly 5,000 9-1-1 calls during their training, treating and transporting more than 3,800 patients. Those emergency incidents included baby deliveries, cardiac arrests, motor vehicle accidents, shootings, stabbings, overdoses and more.

Seven of today's graduates, including the department's first Somali EMT, began the path toward employment through Boston's first EMT City Academy program, a partnership between the Office of Workforce Development and Boston EMS to expand the pool of qualified EMT applicants and reduce hiring barriers for city residents. The program included a scholarship for the Boston EMS EMT course. 

With guidance from seasoned EMT field training officers, recruits are not only prepared to care for patients, regardless of the circumstances, they also now understand the level of care, clinical excellence and professionalism expected of Boston EMS EMTs.

"It is a noble commitment to serve others every single day," said Rita Nieves, Interim Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. "Our EMTs and Paramedics are the ones people turn to during their most vulnerable and critical moments, and they answer the call with kindness, respect and the best medical care available. I want congratulate our graduates and thank them for bringing compassionate care to the people of Boston." 


Boston EMS is one of the busiest municipal EMS providers in New England, responding to more than 125,000 emergency medical incidents per year. As a bureau of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), Boston EMS is committed to serving Boston's residents through clinical excellence, emergency planning and preparedness, and community outreach.

In his FY19 budget, Mayor Walsh prioritized funding for 20 additional EMTs, increasing the number of budgeted full-time EMS providers from 375 to 395 for the City of Boston. Mayor Walsh's FY20 budget added 4 EMTs to promote diversity and recruitment as well as resources to expand the capacity of Boston EMS's 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, 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.




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.

About the Boston Public Health Commission

The Boston Public HealthCommission, 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 6 bureaus: Emergency Medical Services; Child Adolescent & Family Health; Community Health Initiatives; Homeless Services; Infectious Disease; and Recovery Services.

Jan 09
Boston Health Officials Alert Residents About Possible Exposure to Measles

​The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has confirmed that a Northeastern University student who lives in Boston was diagnosed with measles yesterday, January 8, 2020. During the infectious period, the individual went to locations where other people may have been exposed. The last confirmed case of measles in a Boston resident was in October 2019. 

Exposures at Northeastern University occurred from January 3 through January 6, 2020. The student frequented many locations on campus including dormitories, dining halls and classrooms.  

Additional exposures to this individual may have occurred at the below specified locations and times in Boston: 

  • Friday, January 3rd - 8:50pm to 11:30pm  
    Logan International Airport Terminal E 

  • Saturday, January 4th - 1:00pm to 3:30pm  
    Blick Art Materials, 333 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115  

  • Saturday, January 4th - 2:00pm to 5:00pm  
    Tatte Bakery & Café at the Marino Center, 369 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115  

  • Saturday, January 4th - 12:45pm to 3:00pm  
    Wollaston Market in the Marino Center, 369 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115  

  • Saturday, January 4th - 9:00pm to 11:15pm  
    Wollaston Market in the Marino Center, 369 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115  

  • Sunday, January 5th - 11:55am to 2:30pm  
    CVS, 231 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115  

  • Monday, January 6th - 7:00am to 9:30am   
    Rebecca’s Café at Churchill Hall, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 

  • Monday, January 6th - 3:30pm to 7:30pm 
    AT&T Store, 699 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116 

  • Monday, January 6th - 5:30pm to 8:00pm  
    UNIQLO, Newbury 341 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115 

  • Monday, January 6th - 6:00pm to 8:30pm  
    Brandy Melville, 351 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115  

  • Monday, January 6th - 6:30pm to 9:00pm 
    Amelia’s Taqueria, 1076 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116  

People who were at these locations could become ill until January 24 – January 27, 2020 (up to 21 days following potential exposure). Anyone who was exposed and is unclear of their immunization status or begins to develop symptoms of measles should call their healthcare provider.

BPHC urges anyone who does not know their measles immunization status to get vaccinated with at least one dose of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. Those who have had measles in the past or have received two doses of measles containing vaccine are unlikely to become ill even if exposed.

Measles is a very contagious virus that is spread through the air, usually through coughing and sneezing. The virus may remain in the environment for up to two hours after the infectious person has left the area. Exposure can occur even without direct contact with an infectious person. Early symptoms include a high fever, runny nose, cough and red eyes. A skin rash usually occurs three to five days later and begins and flat, red spots on the face.

“Measles is a dangerous disease and can cause serious complications, but it is preventable. The best way for everyone to protect themselves is to get vaccinated. If you don’t know your immunity status, call your healthcare provider,” said BPHC Medical Director, Dr. Jennifer Lo. 

This is Boston’s second confirmed case of measles in a City resident in the past 3 months. A Boston resident was diagnosed with the disease on October 6, 2019. Prior to that case, there had been no cases of measles among Boston residents since 2013.

BPHC is working closely with Northeastern University to protect the health and well-being of their faculty, staff and student body. BPHC is also coordinating with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to contact individuals at high risk for exposure. For additional information, please contact BPHC at 617-534-5611, Northeastern University at 617-373-2772 or MDPH at 617-983-6800.

Fact sheets on measles are available online in English, Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Media Contact: Caitlin McLaughlin, cmclaughlin@bphc.org 857-393-0002.



Jan 06
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

​January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. The Boston Public Health Commission wants you to know that there's a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. Each year, more than 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer and about 4,000 of those cases are deadly. But the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening.

One of the main causes of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV).  HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. It is so common that most sexually active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like cervical cancer.

All women are at risk for cervical cancer. It occurs most often in women over age 30. When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life.

Get Vaccinated!

A vaccine is available to protect men and women from getting the most serious strains of HPV.  The vaccines are recommended for 11 to 12-year-olds. People who did not receive vaccinations at age 11-12 can catch up until the age of 26 for women, and 21 for men. Men with a weakened immune system or men who have sex with men are also eligible to catch up on vaccinations until the age of 26. Necessary doses can vary depending on your age. Talk to your health care provider for more details.

Get Tested!

Screening tests, such as the Pap test and HPV test, can find abnormal cells so they can be treated before turning into cancer. Call 617-534-5050 to find a primary care provider near you.

  • The Pap test looks for changes in cells on the cervix that that could turn into cancer if left untreated.

    • First pap tests are done when a woman turns 21-years-old (even if she completed all necessary doses of the HPV vaccine). If the results are normal, you may not have to repeat the test for 3 years. If the results are abnormal, your health care provider will determine how often you needs to be tested.

    • Most women don't need a Pap test every year.

  • The HPV test looks for the virus that causes abnormal cells to change.

    • Not recommended for women under 30 years old. 

  • You can stop getting screened if:

    • You're older than 65 and have had normal Pap test results for many years.

    • Your cervix was removed during surgery for a non-cancerous condition like fibroids.


      Help prevent cervical cancer. Vaccinate your children against HPV infection, and if you are a woman 21 years old or older, get screened regularly! 
      Click here to learn more about HPV.


Jan 03
Boston Kicks Off Free Winter Fitness Class Series

​The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department have announced the Boston Parks Winter Fitness Series sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts from January 5 through May 1. The four-month-long series will offer free classes at 11 locations across the city.  Winter Fitness Series Graphic.jpg

Winter offerings include walking group/snowshoeing at Franklin Park, yoga at BCYF Paris Street Community Center in East Boston and Veronica B. Smith Senior Center in Brighton, strength training at BCYF Gallivan Community Center in Mattapan, Zumba Gold at BCYF Golden Age Senior Center in Charlestown, bootcamp in the ADSL Building at Town Field in  Dorchester, barre at BCYF Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury, POUND at Anna Mae Cole Center in Jamaica Plain, chair yoga at Morville House in the Fenway, Zumba at BCYF Curtis Hall in Jamaica Plain, and cardio fitness at the Bubble at Carter Field in Roxbury/South End.

The program is tailored to the interests of residents and participants, including age-friendly classes for kids and older adults as well as those new to fitness classes.  Outdoor activities are weather permitting.

PICK YOUR ACTIVITY

All fitness levels are welcome. All classes are FREE and open to the public.

BARRE

  • Inspired by elements of ballet, yoga, and pilates. Low-impact, high intensity movements designed to strengthen and tone your body.

BOOTCAMP

  • Targets your cardiovascular system and muscles utilizing exercises, such as jumping jacks, push-ups and lunges.

CARDIO FITNESS

  • A fun, high-energy dance class that incorporates Dancehall moves with cardio combinations.

CHAIR YOGA

  • A gentle form of yoga that can be done sitting on a chair or standing on the ground while using the chair for support.

POUND

  • A combination of cardio and weight training exercises that includes some techniques from Pilates. Using lightly weighted drumsticks, POUND transforms drumming into an incredibly effective work out.

STRENGTH TRAINING

  • Increases lean muscle tissue, improves structural strength, decreases excess body fat, increase endurance, and more.

WALKING/SNOWSHOEING GROUP

  • Experience the strength-training and cardio benefits of walking or snowshoeing through Franklin Park. Meet at the William J. Devine Clubhouse for a group walk that is sure to work your core, quads and lung capacity! Distances may vary. It is an outdoor class so dress accordingly.

YOGA

  • A physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. Releases stress and increases your energy. Instructors will provide flow movement for all abilities.

ZUMBA

  • A fitness program that combines Latin and international music with dance moves.

ZUMBA GOLD

  • Perfect for active older adults or beginners who are looking for a modified Zumba class that recreates the original moves at a lower-intensity.

FULL WINTER CLASS SCHEDULE

January 5, 2020 – May 1, 2020

SUNDAYS:

Walking Group/                      9:00am                        Franklin Park Club House
Snow Shoeing                                                            1 Circuit Drive, Dorchester

MONDAYS:

Yoga                                       6:00pm                       BCYF Paris Street Community Center

                                                                                112 Paris Street, East Boston

TUESDAYS

Strength Training                    11:00am                      BCYF Gallivan Community Center

                                                                               61 Woodruff Way, Mattapan

Yoga                                      11:00am                     Veronica B. Smith Senior Center

                                                                              20 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton

WEDNESDAYS

Zumba Gold                           10:00am                    Charlestown Golden Age

                                                                              382 Main Street, Charlestown


Bootcamp                               6:00pm                      ADSL Building at Town Field

                                                                               1545 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester

Barre                                      6:30pm                       BCYF Vinie Streeet Community Center

                                                                                339 Dudley Street, Roxbury

POUND                                 7:00pm                       Anna Mae Cole Center

                                                                               10 Lamartine Extension, Jamaica Plain

THURSDAYS           

Chair Yoga                              10:00am                     Morville House at Symphony Park

                                                                                39 Edgerly Road, Boston

Zumba                                    6:00pm                       BCYF Curtis Hall

                                                                                20 South Street, Jamaica Plain

FRIDAYS

Cardio Fitness                        10:00am                      The Bubble at Carter Field

                                                                               687 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury

Winter Fitness Series Class Description.jpg


For more information including dates and times, please visit Boston.gov/winter-fitness. For information on cancellations, check Twitter at @healthyboston and @bostonparksdept or call (617) 534-2355.


Dec 19
Winter Safety Tips

We want everyone to stay safe and healthy during this winter. Here is the Boston Public Health Commission's comprehensive set of safety tips for this season.

Preventing Hypothermia and Frostbite

  • Dress for the weather 
    • Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing when it gets very cold outside.  

    • Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.  

    • Wear mittens over gloves; layering works for your hands as well. 

    • Always wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from the cold air.   

    • Dress children warmly and set reasonable time limits on outdoor play. 

    • Restrict infants' outdoor exposure when it is colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • Watch for signs of Frostbite

    • High wind can make it much colder much quicker, causing frostbite danger even after a short period of time outside. 

    • Signs of frostbite include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. 

  • Watch for signs of hypothermia: 

    • These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. 

    • If you or someone you know shows any of these symptoms, get in touch with a healthcare provider immediately. If symptoms are severe, call 911. 

Heating Safety


  • Using faulty or improper heating sources is the number two cause of home fires in Massachusetts. Never try to heat your home using a charcoal or gas grill, the kitchen stove, or other product not specifically designed as a heater. These can cause a fire or produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide very quickly. 

    • Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible gas produced whenever any fuel is burned such as near gas furnaces, generators, water heaters, fireplaces, stoves and some space heaters. It has no smell, taste or color. It is a poison and it is deadly. Call 911 immediately if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. 

  • Have your heating system cleaned and checked annually.  

  • It is the law: install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Batteries should be checked regularly, at least every six months. 

  • Keep your heat at a normal level to prevent pipes from bursting. If pipes do freeze, slow thaw with a hair dryer. If water is lost in all taps, call the Boston Water and Sewer Commission’s 24-hour Emergency Assistance line at 617-989-7000.  

  • Income eligible homeowners and Boston's residents over age 60 can receive assistance with winter emergencies and repairs, such as fixing storm damage, leaking roofs, furnaces and leaking/frozen pipes. For assistance, residents should call the Mayor's hotline at 311 or the Boston Home Center at 617-635-HOME (4663). In addition, the Mayor's Seniors Save program helps income eligible Bostonians over the age of 60 replace old, inefficient heating systems with a new brand-new heating system even before a catastrophic failure occurs during the cold winter months. Older adults can also call 311 or the Boston Home Center at (617) 635-HOME (4663) to be connected with a City staffer to provide additional details. 

Snow Shoveling Tips 

  • Avoid shoveling if you are elderly or have a heart condition. 

  • Warm up with a small walk or march in place before starting. 

  • Bend at the hips rather than the lower back. 

  • Don’t try to fling snow long distances. 

  • Use a smaller shovel and make sure your shovel isn’t bent, tilting, or damaged. 

  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack, which is a major cause of death in the winter. 

  • Take frequent breaks, even if only for a few minutes. And drink plenty of fluids. 

  • Help a neighbor who may require special assistance-- seniors and people with disabilities.  

Snowblower Safety 

  • Always start your snowblower in a well-ventilated area to avoid possible carbon monoxide poisoning. 

  • If you haven’t used your snowblower in a while, it is a good idea to have it serviced by a professional. Remember that gasoline may still be inside from the last time it was used. Gasoline is only good for about 30 days, unless you’ve added a fuel stabilizer. 

  • Make sure the snowblower is completely turned off before making any adjustments or replacing any parts. 

  • Fix clogs carefully. If it becomes clogged, turn it off, and remove the key before trying to clear it. Do NOT use your hands to clear debris. Use a stick instead. 

Winter Driving Safety 

  • Avoid traveling by car in a storm or wait until conditions improve if possible. If you need to go out during a storm, listen to local radio or tv stations for updated information. Roads may be blocked by snow or emergency vehicles. Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route. 

  • Have an emergency kit in your car that includes jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, ice scraper, car cell phone charger, blanket, map and cat litter or sand for better tire traction.  

  • Keep your car's gas tank full for emergency use and to keep the fuel line from freezing. Also be sure to have working windshield wipers and washer fluid. 

  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route. 

  • If your car becomes stuck:

    • Stay with your car. Do not try to walk to safety. 

    • Start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes every hour. Keep the exhaust pipe clear so fumes won’t back up into the car. 

    • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so you can be seen.  

    • As you sit, keep moving your arms and legs to keep blood circulating and to stay warm.  

    • Keep one window away from the blowing wind slightly open to let in air. 

Winter Fun and Sports Safety 

  • Keep slippery driveways and sidewalks well-shoveled. Apply material for traction, such as rock salt to avoid slips and falls. Snow piles can make navigating intersections dangerous for walkers and drivers, please take extra care when turning corners where snow is piled high.  

  • Sledding: Find a safe stop and be sure the bottom of the hill is away from bodies of water, streets, and traffic. Use a sled with a steering mechanism. Wear warm clothing but avoid a scarf because it can get caught in a sled.  

  • Skiing: Wear a helmet! Enroll in at least one ski lesson before hitting the slopes. Use caution around lifts, control speed and be aware of other skiers. Wear goggles and properly dress for the weather. Take lots of breaks.  

  • Ice skating: Wear a helmet! Make sure the ice is thick and safe before stepping out onto the frozen body of water. Dress in layers. Wear gloves or mittens. Wear thin socks. Tie skates snugly; they should be stiff enough to support the skater. 

Holiday Safety 

  • Decorate with lights labeled “UL approved. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections, and broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords or outlets and do not run an electrical cord under a rug. Turn off lights before going to bed or leaving the house.  

  • Do not leave candles unattended. 

  • Use labeling information on toys as a guide in selecting toys for children. Follow the age recommendations and warning labels on toys. The recommendations consider a child’s ability and skill level at each age. 

Know how and where to access official information prior to, and during emergencies. Official information will come from Boston City Hall or any of the three public safety agencies (EMS, Fire, Police). Here's a list of trusted sources to get you started: 

  • ALERTBoston: Sign-up for ALERTBoston to receive emergency alerts from the City of Boston. 

  •  Boston.gov/winter: The City of Boston homepage will always have important information regarding emergencies as it becomes available. 

  • Mayor's 24-hour Constituent Services Hotline: Connect to city services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 311 or 617-635-4500. You can also access this service online or through their mobile application - click here. 

  • Mayor's Health Line: Access this free and confidential information and referral phone service, open Monday-Friday from 9:00AM - 5:00PM ET, by calling 617-534-5050. 

  • Twitter: Follow these Twitter accounts for additional resources and information: 

Dec 04
Donated Artwork Lifts Spirits at Recovery Facility

​There is a new piece of artwork hanging in the halls at Transitions, a residential recovery treatment program for adults in Boston. The piece titled “Together We Soar” was placed outside the admissions office so it will be seen by each client entering the program run by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC).

“Anyone who has been through recovery or knows someone who has, understands it is a painstaking and often painful process. That is what this artwork represents: Together, we will find the right path to recovery for you and move along it together. Together, you too can soar,” said Jess Nieuwenhuizen, the Director of Programs and Planning at BPHC’s Bureau of Recovery Services.


The artwork was generously donated by the National Organization of Arts in Health (NOAH). Each feather of the wings was crafted by the attendees at this year’s 3rd annual NOAH conference. The conference was held in Boston in September.

“Art has a unique and powerful way of reaching people and lifting spirits. We’ve placed this piece in our building hoping it will inspire everyone who sees it and will let them know they’re not alone on the path to recovery,” said Jennifer Lo, M.D., BPHC Medical Director and NOAH Board member.

Transitions serves approximately 500 individuals every year. Its goal is to offer a safe and therapeutic environment that support clients in recovery. Transitions focuses on relapse prevention, behavior modification, interpersonal skill development, and re-socialization skills.

The City of Boston has taken a comprehensive approach to tackle the opioid epidemic, serving people in all stages of the continuum of care, from providing harm reduction services to ensure people can maintain health in various aspects of their lives, to connecting people to rehabilitation services and facilities to offering inpatient and outpatient programming, to long-term peer support.



About the Boston Public Health Commission: 

The Boston Public Health Commission, one of the country's oldest health department, 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.

About NOAH:

As the National Organization for Arts in Health, NOAH provides transformational leadership to bring the fields of arts in health together, and to move the field forward. NOAH’s focus is on the future of arts, health, and wellbeing; and creating the tangible impact from its goals and initiatives. NOAH knows through research and experience that the arts are an integral component to health, and it is committed to shaping a reality where that fact is accepted fully, and incorporated into medical treatment, medical education, prevention and public health and wellbeing.

Nov 27
Food Safety for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here! Many of us will spend the next several weeks getting together with family and friends and enjoying our favorite foods and traditions. Following these guidelines can go a long way towards keeping everyone healthy this holiday season! 


Clean:

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing food, after touching raw food, before eating, and after using the restroom. 

  • Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables under running water before cooking, packing or eating. 

  • Wash dishes, utensils and all surfaces, like cutting boards, with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before going onto the next item. 

Separate: 

  • Make sure you understand all of your guests allergies, such as gluten or dairy, and communicate with them about which items at your meal they may want to skip. 

  • Keep raw eggs, meat, poultry and fish - and their juices - away from other foods.  

  • Use separate plates for raw and cooked eggs, meat, fish or poultry. 

  • If possible, use one cutting board for meat or poultry that will be cooked and another for ready-to-eat food, such as raw vegetables or fruit. If only one cutting board is available, wash it with soap and hot water in between preparing raw meat, poultry, or fish and preparing produce that will not be cooked. 

Cook:

  • Raw eggs, meat, poultry and fish need to be cooked thoroughly.  

  • Use a thermometer to ensure foods have reached a high enough internal temperature to kill any harmful germs that might be present. 

​​Food 

​Internal Temperatures  

​Roast Beef, Steaks 

​145°F with 3-minute rest* 

​Ground Beef 

​160°F 

​Ribs, Chops, Roast Pork, Sausage (fresh) 

​145°F with 3-minute rest*​ 

​Ground pork 

 ​160°F​ 

​Chicken, Duck, Turkey, Ground Poultry 

​ ​165°F​ 

​Fried or Poached Eggs 

​Until yolk is firm 

*After removing your meat from the heat source, let it sit for at least three minutes. Your meat will continue to cook during this time, helping to kill any remaining germs. 

Leftovers:

  • Harmful bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature and leaving food out too long is one of the biggest holiday food safety problems. Don’t leave food sitting out for more than two hours. 

  • Smaller portions and shallow containers work best. An entire turkey or a large container may take too long to cool down to a safe temperature, which gives bacteria a chance to multiply. 

  • Most leftovers can be kept covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If you store leftovers in the freezer, they will be of the best quality within 2 to 6 months. When in doubt, throw it out. If food looks or smells questionable, throw it away. 


To learn more about food poisoning and ways to avoid it, click here. The Boston Public Health Commission would like to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season! 

 


Nov 25
Boston Board of Health Approves Proposed Changes to Tobacco and Nicotine Product Sales

​Today the Boston Board of Health approved changes to regulations aimed at addressing vaping and tobacco use among youth in Boston proposed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) in September 2019, followed by resident engagement and a public comment period and hearing. The amendments call for mint and menthol nicotine and tobacco products to only be sold in verified adult-only tobacco retailers. In addition to removing the menthol exemption, the amendments strengthen retailer ID checking requirements and restrict the sale of products that attract young people. 

“What we are seeing now with the explosive expansion of vaping products risks reversing decades of gains in reducing youth tobacco use,” said Boston Board of Health Chair Manny Lopes. “When it comes to local tobacco control, data shows strong policies work. I believe today’s actions take important steps to prevent Boston’s youth from entering into a lifetime of nicotine and tobacco dependency.”

The regulatory amendments also seek to address long-standing disparities in tobacco use patterns and associated mortality from diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. BPHC researchers found that among adults in Boston, black adults suffer the greatest burden of tobacco-related mortality of any ethnic or racial group. Tobacco use is a major contributor to the three leading causes of death among African Americans - heart disease, cancer and stroke. 

Mayor Walsh asked BPHC staff to present the Board of Health with local public health data and a permanent regulatory response in response to both the long-standing issue of menthol tobacco use as well as the rapidly emerging issue of youth nicotine use and vaping. 

"I believe that now is the time to act, and I applaud the Board of Health for taking action to ensure Boston has some of the strongest regulations in the country to protect our young people,” said Mayor Walsh. "Teen vaping is an epidemic that is particularly alarming because we know that nicotine use at a young age can have the power to lead to a lifelong dependency. The data is undeniable in showing that these amendments would save lives.”

The proposed amendments were presented at the Board of Health meeting in September. It was followed by a public comment period, which ran from September 18, 2019 through November 8, 2019. During that time, 210 total comments were received. A public hearing on September 7th was well attended by members of the community and 56 individual offered testimony. Retailers have until June 1, 2020 to implement flavored tobacco restrictions. Flavored nicotine restrictions and other proposed changes go into effect immediately.

Boston continues to be a leader at taking steps at the local level to restrict youth access to tobacco and other nicotine products such as e-cigarettes, vapes and "e-juice," making it among the first jurisdictions in the United States to regulate e-cigarettes and other nicotine products on equal footing with tobacco. In 2015, the Board of Health increased the sales age for nicotine and tobacco products to 21 and restricted the sale of the majority of flavored tobacco and nicotine products to adult-only tobacco retail locations. After Board’s flavoring restrictions were implemented, Boston public high school current vaping rate decreased from 14.5 percent in 2015 to 5.7 percent in 2017. Most recent national data showed that youth vaping rates have continued to increase with more than 27 percent of youth report current vaping.


Amendment language and supporting materials are available online at www.bphc.org/regulations


Oct 23
Mayor Walsh, Boston Health Officials Issue Health Advisory

​Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today issued a health advisory involving two cases of young children diagnosed with meningococcal disease. All individuals who are known to have been in close contact with these two cases have been identified and received antibiotics as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of further infection. 

Meningococcal disease is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacterial infection. Both cases have been associated with day care centers specializing in serving children who have experienced homelessness, however it is not currently known if the two cases are connected. The last date that either case was at one of the day care centers was October 18th and no secondary cases have been identified at this time. 

The disease is spread from person to person through saliva, requiring close contact with infected individuals. Time from exposure to developing symptoms is between one to 10 days, and usually less than four days. Symptoms develop rapidly and include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and altered mental status or confusion. 

Meningococcal disease has become less common in recent years, with between 10 to 15 reported cases statewide each year. There are several different forms of meningococcal disease, including infection of the blood and infection of the brain and spinal cord, known as meningitis. Early detection and initiation of antibiotics for suspected meningococcal disease is critically important.

There are safe and effective vaccines available to prevent infection from the most common forms of meningococcal disease and residents are encouraged to speak with their health care provider about vaccination options.

Any resident with questions about meningococcal disease should call BPHC at (617) 534-5611. Fact sheets are also available at bphc.org in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese.

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Boston Public Health Commission
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Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org