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Nov 22
BPHC Awarded National Accreditation Through the Public Health Accreditation Board

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today announced that it has achieved national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). The national accreditation program works to improve and protect the health of the public by advancing and ultimately transforming the quality and performance of the nation's public health departments. BPHC is the second local public health department in Massachusetts and one of fewer than 200 health departments that have thus far achieved accreditation through PHAB since the organization launched in 2011.

"BPHC works hard every day ensuring the good health of our residents and I'm proud we've received national accreditation," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "As a City, we're constantly thinking of ways to improve our services and performance, and with this accreditation we can be sure we are meeting the public health needs of those we serve as effectively as possible."

"We are excited to be recognized for achieving national standards that foster effectiveness and promote continuous quality improvement," said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "Over the last two years, we have ramped up our efforts with staff and key community partners to prepare us for accreditation. Achieving accreditation allows us to demonstrate increased accountability and credibility to the public and partner organizations with which we work. Finally, through our accreditation journey we've been able to build on our strategic priority of advancing health equity by strengthening our collaborative partnerships with community stakeholders to ensure that all Bostonians have opportunities for achieving optimal health."​

The national accreditation program, jointly supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation's nearly 3,000 governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance. To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures.

Public health departments play a critical role in protecting and improving the health of people and communities. In cities, towns, and states across the nation, health departments provide a range of services aimed at promoting healthy behaviors; preventing diseases and injuries; ensuring access to safe food, water, clean air, and life-saving immunizations; and preparing for and responding to public health emergencies.

As the City's health department, BPHC provides a wide range of health services and programs to protect, preserve, and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents. Programming is guided through the Executive Director's strategic priorities, which include creating strong partnerships with health care organizations, achieving health equity for all Bostonians, and preventing and treating substance use disorders.

"BPHC joins the growing ranks of accredited health departments in a strong commitment to their public health mission," said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. "The peer-review process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement, so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people they serve in their communities. Residents of a community served by a nationally accredited health department can be assured that their health department has demonstrated the capacity to protect and promote the health of that community."

The national accreditation program was created collaboratively over a 10-year period by hundreds of public health practitioners working at the national, Tribal, state, and local levels. Since the program's launch in September 2011, hundreds of public health departments have applied to PHAB for accreditation, and hundreds of public health practitioners from across the nation have been trained to serve as volunteer peer site visitors for the program. ​

Nov 22
Health and Safety Advisory for Humanitarian Aid Work in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

​In response to the recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), many people who work in the fields of public safety, environmental health, and healthcare have joined other humanitarian aid workers in volunteering to go to these areas to support on-going recovery response efforts. Protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our employees is a priority for the Boston Public Health Commission.

This document provides information (current as of October 2017) on known health conditions and potential safety hazards in these regions. This document will provide information for volunteers as they prepare for these trips, and provides the minimum recommended health and safety guidelines. Volunteers should review their own health history and risks with their healthcare providers prior to departure. This advisory may also provide information to healthcare providers should their patients feel sick after returning to the continental U.S. The period of heightened risk in Puerto Rico and the USVI may last through March 2018, based on current predictions for full restoration of power and safe water systems.​

Health and Safety Advisory for Humanitarian Aid Work
in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands​


Nov 21
BPHC Welcomes Shelter Guests with "You Are Loved" Mural in City Shelter

The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today announced the completion of a "You Are Loved" mural, a collaboration with a local artist and guests of the City's emergency shelter for men, the Southampton Street Shelter.

 
"We're happy to share this message of love and gratitude with our guests, many of whom have built strong connections with our shelter staff," said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "This building provides shelter, critical services, and support to more than 500 guests every night. We are proud that this mural reflects the commitment of our staff and programs in serving our guests."
 
The mural consists of various shades of blue and a simple message with significant meaning: "You Are Loved." The artist, Alex Cook, painted it with help from the shelter's guests over the course of three days. Since 2014, Cook has created murals in schools and communal spaces that spread this positive message across the country.
 
"I make 'You Are Loved' murals because so many people are suffering from terrible fear, self-hatred, and countless other kinds of mental darkness. A simple, intimate message, expressed confidently and beautifully, can serve as a voice of support in peoples' embattled lives," said Alex Cook. "It can be a reminder that they are valuable and it can really make a difference. Working with the clients here at the shelter really connects it with the community - it's theirs and they can feel it."
 
Cook is a Jamaica Plain resident who has made several contributions to Boston's public art landscape, including a "You Are Loved" paint box in Fields Corner and the "Love Forest" at the BHA's Lenox/Camden housing development in Roxbury. Since he started the project, he has painted with hundreds of students, community members, inmates, and more, to create 41 murals across the U.S.
 
The mural is one of several ongoing efforts to beautify this part of the City where there are two of the largest emergency shelters serving the region, as well as 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 shelter at 112 Southampton Street is a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2015 and operates 24/7 year round with capacity to serve more than 500 nightly. BPHC staff assist shelter guests with career counseling, job training, substance use disorder treatment, and transitional and permanent housing support services.

Nov 17
Movember

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: Movember.com

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 https://www.facebook.com/HealthyBoston/


WHEN: Wednesday, November 15, 2017
TIME: 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
WHERE: Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor
Boston 
WHO:
* 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 www.aetna-foundation.org.

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 http://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/Recovery-Services/community-mobilization/Pages/Med-Return-Locations.aspx 

For more information on the types of prescriptions that can be disposed of in prescription drug disposal kiosks, visit http://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/Recovery-Services/community-mobilization/Pages/Drug-Take-Back.aspx

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.​

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