Where we live, work, and play greatly shapes our health and well-being. While it’s common to think first about individual behavior, genes, and health care access as most important for good health, in actuality, factors such as housing, education, environmental exposure, public safety, employment and income are also strong predictors of health and well-being. When examining how these factors contribute to health inequities, it is important to understand how experiences within the individual and community context differ by race. In the United States, racism plays a significant role in creating and perpetuating health inequities. Social inequities, such as poverty, segregation, and lack of educational and employment opportunities have origins in discriminatory laws, policies, and practices that have historically denied people of color the right to earn income, own property, and accumulate wealth. Health promoting resources are distributed unevenly across the city of Boston and follow patterns of racial segregation and poverty concentration. As a result, on average, Boston residents who are White enjoy better health than many residents of color. These significant differences in health outcomes between residents of color and White residents are systemic, avoidable, unfair, and unjust. Other forms of oppression also contribute to different health outcomes. We must understand and address the many factors shaping our individual and collective health and provide all residents with fair access to the conditions that promote the best possible health.
The mission of the Boston Public Health Commission is to protect, preserve, and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly the most vulnerable.
We achieve our mission by providing and supporting accessible high quality community-based health and social services, community engagement and advocacy, development of health promoting policies and regulations, disease and injury prevention, emergency services, health promotion, and health education services.
The Boston Public Health Commission envisions a thriving Boston where all residents live healthy, fulfilling lives free of racism, poverty, violence, and other systems of oppression. All residents will have equitable opportunities and resources, leading to optimal health and well-being.
BPHC is committed to the following principles:
- Promote the fair treatment of all people.
- Ensure internal policies, procedures, and practices are fair and equitable.
- Continually strive to improve public policies, systems, and environments that influence social conditions.
- Foster mutual respect, transparency, and accountability with colleagues, residents, coalitions, and other partners.
- Strengthen community capacity and uplift community voices.
- Use the best available scientific evidence to inform the Commission’s work.
- Provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to people from all backgrounds.
- Ensure effective communication and coordination with other city agencies, community-based organizations, residents, and other partners.
To address some of our city’s most pressing public health issues, the Commission has adopted three overarching goals for the next five years: