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Health Equity Goals

In 2012 the Boston Public Health Commission set a goal of reducing the gap in health outcomes between Boston residents of color and White residents in 3 key health areas:  Low birth weight, Chlamydia and Obesity
  • ​Reduce Low Birth Weight (LBW) rates among Boston infants and reduce the gap between White and Black LBW rates by 25% by 2016. Read more.​​
  • Reduce Chlamydia rates among Boston residents 15-24 years of age, and reduce the gap between White and Black/Latino Chlamydia rates for residents 15-24 years of age by 25% by 2016. Read more.
  • Reduce Obesity/Overweight rates among Boston residents and reduce the gap between White and Black/Latino obesity/overweight rates by 20% for adults and 30% for school aged children. Read more​​.

Within each bureau, across bureaus, and working closely with our community partners, we have been working tirelessly to address some of our city's most pressing public health issues. Here are a few examples:

Healthy Start in Housing
In partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, The Healthy Start in Housing (HSiH) Program is provides stable housing and case management for pregnant women and their families who are at high risk of homelessness.   At least one of 3 criteria must be met:

  1. the mother has a chronic health condition;
  2. the mother has had a previous poor birth outcome like pre-term birth or low-birth weight; and
  3. the family includes a child under age 5 with a complex condition requiring specialty care. 

This program ceases to curb low birth weight by addressing homelessness and limited social support as stressors affecting pregnancy outcomes.

Boston Healthy Childcare Initiative
The Boston Healthy Childcare Initiative provides training on healthy eating, increasing physical activity, increasing breast feeding, and decreasing screen time to center and family based child care staff.  As a result of participating in this program, childcare centers across Boston have adopted related policies and practices that ensure that our youngest Boston residents are being cared for in healthier environments.  Each of the policy changes are aimed at improving overall health and addressing the issue of childhood obesity.

It Could be Hiding in You
Throughout the City of Boston, on billboards, on public transportation, in schools, on tee shirts, and in the social realm, you may have seen evidence of the social marketing campaign:  Chlamydia:  It Could be Hiding in You.  This initiative was developed with the active participation of Boston young people as a youth-focused effort to encourage testing and treatment for Chlamydia among sexually active young adults ages 15-24. In 2012, Chlamydia was the most commonly reported communicable disease in Boston, with 4,823 reported cases. 64% of these cases occurred in youth ages 15-24. In 2010, the rate of Chlamydia among Black adolescents and young adults was 21 times higher than among White adolescents and young adults.

Reaching health equity requires big changes in social structures that affect our lives.  We are asking for your support of policy initiatives that potentially affect many more people than individual programs.  For example, the restoration of Mass Health Dental benefits for adults may play a role in preventing low birth weight babies.  Dental benefits for pregnant women and women in their childbearing years can help reducing the racial gap in Boston's rates of low birth weight babies.  For more information and to get involves in this effort, contact the MA Oral Health Advocacy Taskforce at 508 438-0009.  

BPHC has also been supporting legislation requiring school to incorporate a minimum amount of physical activity into each school day and supporting quality physical education in all schools.  This effort is one prong of many efforts to decrease childhood obesity.  If you'd like to support this legislation, please contact Lisa Conley in the BPHC IGR Office​ at or 617 534-2288. 


To learn more two get involved with reducing health inequities in obesity, low birth weight or Chlamydia, contact:   Vivien Morris at 617 534-9642 or email at


Health Equity Goals Newsletter: 

Volume 1, Issue 1

Volume 1, Issue 2 

Volume 1, Issue 3

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