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 Wednesday, July 24, 2019 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm, at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor, Hayes Conference Room.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today
announced that in anticipation of the hot and humid weather that is forecasted
for this weekend, the City of Boston has declared a heat emergency, beginning
Friday at noon through Sunday evening. Temperatures are expected to be between
96 and 102 degrees with a real feel temperature of between mid 90s to 112
To help residents stay cool, Mayor Walsh has declared that cooling centers will be open at Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) community centers and residents can swim at the City's pools free of charge. A full list of centers including hours of operation and a brief form to fill out before swimming is available here.
Information on heat safety tips can be found online at boston.gov/heat and by following @CityofBoston on Twitter. Residents can sign up for Alert Boston, the City's emergency notification system, to receive emergency alerts by phone, email or text. Sign up online here. Residents are also encouraged to call 311 with any questions about available city services.
Keep cool with showers, shade, and ventilation. If you need help finding a place to cool off, call 311. The City of Boston operates outdoor and indoor pools, splash pads and spray decks, and several beaches in Boston at which you can cool off.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, and muscle aches could all be signs of heat exhaustion. If symptoms persist, call 911 immediately.
Please check on neighbors, especially older adults, and people with disabilities. Community partners are encouraged to share information on preparedness, safety, and resources within their networks. Additional tips and resources can be found at boston.gov/heat, including information sheets translated into 10 languages.
Helping the Homeless:
Outdoor Fires and Grilling:
Mosquitoes and Ticks:
If you are in a grassy or wooded area, apply a DEET containing repellent that will protect against mosquitoes AND ticks. Always check yourself, children, and pets for ticks after returning indoors and remove attached ticks immediately using tweezers. Mosquito bites can spread West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), while attached ticks can spread Lyme disease.
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) advises residents and community members in East Boston of upcoming spraying to help control mosquito populations in selected neighborhood areas. BPHC partners with the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project (SCMCP) to protect Boston residents from mosquito-borne disease transmission.
SCMCP will be using a truck mounted aerosol sprayer to apply a formula that contains the pesticide, sumithrin, to control mosquitoes.
- Spraying is scheduled for neighborhoods located near Orient Heights, including streets in the vicinity of Orient Avenue, Boardman Street, Andrew Road, and Horace Street in East Boston. (See map below)
- Spraying will be conducted Tuesday, July 23, 2019 between dusk and 11:30pm. If spraying is postponed for any reason, it will be rescheduled for Wednesday, July 24, 2019 between dusk and 11:30pm.
Residents do not need to take any special precautions for this application. As with any pesticide, people should minimize exposure. If residents see a spray truck approaching, they are advised to go indoors for a couple of minutes while the spray dissipates. Residents are also advised to close windows during and immediately following spraying. Beekeepers do not need to take any special precautions since spraying begins after dusk.
About Sumithrin: Sumithrin is a synthetic pyrethroid that is classified as slightly toxic by the EPA. Mosquito control applications of sumithrin do not pose a significant risk to people or their pets due to the low toxicity of sumithrin and the small amount used to control mosquitoes.
Mosquito species have different breeding habits, but most want to lay their eggs near water – usually in vegetation or in still water. To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding, BPHC advises residents to limit places around the home where standing water can collect. Residents should turn over unused flowerpots, buckets, wheelbarrows and garbage cans; remove leaves and other debris that can clog gutters and trap water; dispose of or cover old tires; and cover swimming pools when not in use.
Click here for more information about the mosquito control work of BPHC and its partnership with SCMCP.
For further information contact the Suffolk County
Mosquito Control Project at 781-899-5730.
Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) is proud to announce our Office of
Accreditation and Quality Improvement was awarded the 2019 Model Practice Award
for its Quality Improvement (QI) program on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, by the
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO).
“As we strive to serve all our residents in Boston, it is an honor
to be recognized as a national leader by our NACCHO peers for our innovative QI
program which is driven by our commitment to racial justice and health equity,”
said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi.
The prestigious national award given out by NACCHO is an annual
recognition of programs which demonstrate exemplary and replicable qualities in
response to a critical local public health need.
“The QI program at BPHC has greatly impacted and improved internal
public health programs for Boston residents,” said Osagie Ebekozien, the
Director of BPHC’s Office of Accreditation and Quality Improvement. “Our
program builds racial justice and health equity into QI and helps achieve measurable improvements in efficiency and
effectiveness, while also promoting fun strategies to empower continuous
improvement among our colleagues.”
This year, 53 outstanding local health department programs have
received this recognition, addressing a broad range of public health issues,
including immunization, infectious diseases, environmental health, and
emergency preparedness. Projects are chosen through a competitive,
peer-evaluation process. The award was presented at NACCHO’s 2019 annual
meeting in Orlando, Florida.
The winning projects will be added to NACCHO’s Model Practice
online database so other local health departments across the country can review
best practices and adopt them for use in their local community.
The Boston Public Health Commission, one of the leading city
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 six
bureaus: Child, Adolescent & Family Health; Community Health Initiatives; Homeless
Services; Infectious Disease; Recovery Services; and Emergency
The National Association of County and City Health Officials
(NACCHO) represents the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health
departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district, and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and
well-being for all people in their communities.
The Boston EMS EMT who was attacked and
stabbed multiple times is out of surgery and recovering at Massachusetts
General Hospital. She is awake and surrounded by her loved ones and her EMS
The second EMT injured has been treated
and released. We will not be identifying either of the EMTs at this time. And
we ask for privacy as our EMTs continue to recover.
Boston EMS would like to thank
everyone for their heartfelt thoughts and prayers for our injured EMTs and our
entire department. They’ve been heard and are greatly appreciated. EMS would
also like to send our gratitude to Mayor Martin Walsh, the attending medical and
surgical teams at MGH, the Boston Police Department, and the Boston Fire
Department for their ongoing support during this difficult time.
There will be no additional information
Public Health Commission (BPHC) is honored to announce that Deborah Samuels,
Operations Assistant Coordinator at Woods Mullen Shelter, is a 2019 recipient
of a Henry L. Shattuck Public Service Award. The Shattuck Awards honor
extraordinary City of Boston employees who go the extra distance and have
committed themselves to excellence in public service.
For Deborah Samuels a life of public service isn’t a job. It is a calling.
“I feel like this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life,”said Samuels. “I love helping others, those who are less fortunate. I love providing a service for someone who is down and out and helping them get back on their feet.”
Ms. Samuels started as a volunteer and it didn’t take long to realize this was where she was meant to be.
“For the last 23 years, Debbie has served the city and those experiencing homelessness with integrity and character,” said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi. “Her contributions, though often unsung, have had a direct impact on improving the daily lives of some of Boston’s most vulnerable residents.”
“Ms. Debbie”, as guests fondly call her, joined the Homeless Services Bureau at BPHC in March of 1996 as a Counselor at Woods Mullen Shelter. Woods Mullen was then a co-ed shelter that served close to 200 men and women nightly. In 2015 Woods Mullen was converted to a women-only shelter.
“Ask any guest at Woods Mullen and they’ll tell you she is the mother of the shelter--the caregiver, the advocate, their cheerleader and a shoulder to cry on,” said Gerry Thomas, Director of Homeless Services at BPHC.
Ms. Samuels spends her days running the Woods Mullen Day Program, creating a safe and welcoming space for every single woman who walks through the doors. She has taken it upon herself to oversee the clothing donations that arrive for the women at the shelter. Her compassion and heartfelt dedication not only inspires the guests, but also her colleagues.
“Debbie sees the person, not their issues or circumstances,” said Thomas. “We are so grateful to have Debbie as not just a staff member at Woods Mullen, but an amazing caregiver and someone who provides help and hope to the people we work with every day.”
For Ms. Samuels the most gratifying part of the job is seeing guests get back on their feet.
“Sometimes when you’re down and out, you feel like this is where you’re going to be the rest of your life. But that’s not true,” said Samuels. “Our guests need someone to come along and say ‘Hey you can do better. Things can get better. And you don’t have to spend the rest of your life like this. There are better days ahead. You’ve had a downfall. Now you pick yourself up and move on.”
Ms. Debbie, who quietly and humbly saves lives and makes a difference one guest at a time, was shocked to get an award for the work she’s been doing for 23 years.
“You see guests moving out, moving on and achieving something. When they come back to thank you for the encouragement and you see them smile and be happy, that is what it is all about,” said Samuels.
Ms. Samuels will receive the Henry L. Shattuck Public Service Award at the awards dinner on October 10, 2019.
About the Boston Public Health Commission:
The Boston Public Health Commission, one of the country's first 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 six bureaus: Child, Adolescent & Family Health; Community Health Initiatives; Homeless Services; Infectious Disease; Recovery Services; and Emergency Medical Services.
About the Henry L. Shattuck Public Service Awards:
Celebrating 34 years of honoring individuals for their dedicated service to the City of Boston and the Boston community. Each year the Shattuck Awards Committee receives many worthy nominations from department heads, peers and business leaders – highlighting candidates that go above and beyond their job descriptions. The Committee evaluates each nomination and selects a few – the everyday heros of public service to thank them for a job well done.
There is a nothing like summertime in New England. Whether you're swimming, grilling, riding a bike or enjoying other outdoor activities in the beautiful sunshine, the Boston Public Health Commission wants to make sure you and your family stay safe and healthy. With the right tools and a little preparation, your entire family can look forward to a fun, relaxing and healthy summer.
Beat the heat & Stay safe in the Sun:
It is natural to want to be outside during the summer. But when the temperatures rise so does the risk for heat-related illness and dangerous sun exposure.
To beat the heat:
- Try to stay in air-conditioning.
- Limit the use of heat-generating appliances like stoves or ovens.
- Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Avoid strenuous activity. If you need to be outdoors for long periods of time, rest often and find shade.
- Never leave children or pets in hot vehicles for any amount of time.
- Check on friends and neighbors.
- If you exercise outdoors, exercise in the early morning hours before 8:00am.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
To stay sun safe:
- Use sunscreen (SPF-15 or higher) to reduce your exposure to the sun's harmful rays. Reapply sunscreen after sweating or getting wet.
- Find shade.
- Wear hats as well as loose fitting, lightly colored and lightweight clothes.
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
There isn’t much better than jumping into a refreshing lake
or the ocean on a hot summer day! Water activities are a fun way to cool off.
But when most of us are enjoying time at the lake, pool or beach, we aren’t
thinking about drownings or injuries. It can happen in seconds. Here are a few
ways to keep your family safe on the water this summer.
- Learn the basics of swimming. If you don’t already know how to swim, contact your local community center to get a proper lesson. And check out the BostonCenters for Youth and Families (BCYF) for a guide to the nearest pool and swim lessons offered.
- Always watch children near any body of water. Make sure to swim in the designated areas and know where the lifeguards are present.
- Obey "No Diving" signs and do not dive into shallow water.
- Make sure children wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating, water skiing, rafting, fishing or swimming. Life jackets should be appropriate for your weight, size and the water activity.
- Know before you go: Whether it's a lake, river or the ocean, check the weather conditions before you head out onto the water. And pay attention to any advisories that pop up while you're out. If you spot bad weather, get on dry land and head inside.
- Watch out for strong currents, rip currents or dangerous waves. Currents are unpredictable near piers, jetties, small damns and docks. If it is hard to move around, head to shore.
Food and Grilling Safety:
Food poisoning peaks during summer months because foodborne germs thrive in warmer temperatures.
- Clean: Before you handle, prepare or cook food, wash your hands with soap & warm water. If you're somewhere without water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Chill: Keep meat, poultry, and seafood refrigerated until ready to grill.
- Separate: To avoid cross contamination, keep raw meat, poultry & seafood away from other foods. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. And don't put cooked food on the same plate used for raw food.
- Take the Temp: Use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked enough to kill harmful germs.
- Put it away: Don't leave food out for more than an hour on a hot day.
- Know the Rules. The City of Boston has several laws when it comes to grilling, including where you can and cannot place barbeque grills.
Window Fall Prevention:
A window fall can happen within seconds. Falls are the leading cause of injury to children age five and under but are completely preventable.
- Lock all unopened windows and doors.
- Open windows from the top, not the bottom.
- Keep furniture or anything a child can climb on away from windows.
- Be sure children are always supervised near open windows.
- Install child safety window guards. Guards can be purchased at local hardware stores. Through our partnership with Boston Building Resources, BPHC makes window guards affordable for Boston residents. Click here to learn more about Boston Building Resources or call them at 617-442-2262.
Road Rules for Bicycling:
Summer is a perfect time to hit the road and take a bike ride around town. Before you start peddling, make sure you know the rules of the road!
- Always wear a helmet: Helmets are the best way to prevent a head injury or even death. In Massachusetts, any person under 16 years of age or younger must wear a helmet. BPHC has a program that provides helmets for as low at $5 to Boston residents, health centers, and other local agencies. Click here for our Bicycle Helmet request form.
- Use appropriate hand signals.
- Ride with traffic, not against it.
- Respect traffic signals. Stop at all stop signs and red lights. Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning left at intersections.
- Avoid riding when it's dark and during rush hour, if possible.
- Stay visible if you're riding at dusk or at night. Have reflective material on your bike or clothing and use lights on the bike.
A Pesky Problem: Mosquitoes and Ticks
Mosquito bites can spread West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Ticks can spread Lyme disease. Not all mosquitoes and ticks carry disease, but you should take steps to protect yourself.
- Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks to prevent mosquito bites.
- Limit your time outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply an approved mosquito repellent. Before using any repellent, be sure to read the product label to find out how long it offers protection, how often the product needs to be reapplied, and any precautions that need to be taken when applying the product. Wash off repellent with soap and water when you go inside.
- If you are in a grassy, brushy, or wooded area, apply a DEET containing repellent that will protect against mosquitoes and ticks.
- Always check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks after returning indoors and remove attached ticks immediately using tweezers.
From all of us here at BPHC, we hope you have a fun and safe summer!
In 2016 there were 5,452 Boston residents living with HIV/AIDS. In 2017, there were 140 new cases of HIV diagnosed among Boston residents. Early HIV diagnosis is critical so people can start the treatment needed to stay healthy and to prevent unknowingly passing the virus on to others. Finding out whether you have HIV is the first step to improve your health, as well as the health of your partners and your family.
Who should be tested?
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People with risk factors should be tested more often. Men who have sex with men (MSM), people with more than one sex partner, people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and people who inject drugs are at high risk and should get tested at least once a year. You should also be tested if you have been sexually assaulted or if you are a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
How can I find out if I have HIV?
The only way to know if you have HIV is to Get Tested. A healthcare provider can take a blood sample or a swab of the inside of your mouth to test for HIV. Depending on the type of test, you can get the results in 20 minutes (Rapid HIV Test) or in a few days. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out which test is best for you. There are several free and confidential testing centers in Boston. See the list below:
How is HIV spread?
HIV is spread mainly by having anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. However, sharing needles or syringes, rinse water, or other equipment (works) used to prepare drugs for injection with someone who has HIV is also a common source of transmission. HIV can live in a used needle up to 42 days depending on temperature and other factors.
How can I avoid acquiring HIV?
Using HIV prevention medications such as Pre-exposure or Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP or PEP), using condoms, having only low-risk sex, only having partners with the same HIV status, and not having sex can all effectively reduce risk. Combining more than one of these prevention strategies can be even more effective. However, for any option to work, it must be used correctly and consistently.
How can I avoid transmitting HIV?
People with HIV should take medicine to treat HIV as soon as possible to prevent transmission. HIV medicine is called antiretroviral therapy, or ART. If taken as prescribed, HIV medicine reduces the amount of the virus in the body (viral load) to a very low level. Getting and keeping this very low level, called an undetectable viral load, is the best thing people with HIV can do to stay healthy. Reducing the amount of virus in the body helps prevent transmission to others through sex or syringe sharing, and from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. The CDC has helpful information on the best estimates of effectiveness for various strategies to prevent HIV acquisition or transmission at https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/estimates/preventionstrategies.html.
"Take the Test. Take Control."
It is that time of year when mosquitoes are
everywhere. The Boston Public Health Department (BPHC) wants you and your
family to be safe this summer. During National Mosquito Control Awareness Week (6/23/19-6/29/19), BPHC is urging everyone to take precautions to
protect against mosquito bites and the diseases they may carry, such as: West
Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
Mosquitoes in Boston are most active from July to September, but
they can spread disease until the first hard frost (as late as November). Taking
simple precautions can prevent potentially serious diseases caused by the bite
of infected mosquitoes, including WNV and EEE. If you are going to be spending
time outside, you need to be thinking about prevention and protection against
PREVENT MOSQUITO BITES:
Use mosquito repellent
- Use repellants containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, Picaridin or IR3535.
- Click here to find the right repellent for you.
- Always read the directions on the label and use as directed. You may need to reapply repellent from time to time while outdoors.
- Apply DEET to exposed skin (avoid eyes and mouth) and on clothes, but not on open cuts or wounds.
- Do not apply underneath clothes.
- Wash off repellent with soap and water when you go back inside.
- Use only approved repellents on pets .
- Do not use repellents containing DEET concentrations of more than 30%.
- Do not let children apply repellents to themselves. When you apply it, avoid children's mouth, eyes, and hands. Use carefully around ears.
- Do not apply DEET on infants. Cover infant carriers with mosquito netting instead. Also do not use oil of lemon eucalyptus on children under 3-years-old.
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks whenever possible. Tuck your shirt into your pants to keep mosquitoes from going under your clothes.
- Mosquitoes in Boston are most active from dusk to dawn. Try to limit the time you spend outdoors during this time.
Protect your home
- Window & door screens in good condition (no holes) will help prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your house.
Stop Mosquito Breeding
- Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, so it is important to make sure items around your home do not collect water. It only takes one week for a mosquito larva living in water to grow into an adult. Be sure to drain any items holding water (such as watering cans, open trash cans, etc.) once a week to prevent mosquito breeding.
Working to reduce the number of mosquitoes.
BPHC works with the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project to reduce the mosquito population in Boston. Products to prevent mosquito larvae from becoming biting adults are applied in catch basins throughout the City. Limited spraying is also done to reduce adult mosquito populations. For a full list of any upcoming spraying, please visit bphc.org/mosquitocontrol. Boston residents that have questions about mosquito control activities can contact the Suffolk County Mosquito Control Project at 781-899-5730.
What should I do if a mosquito bites me?
WNV and EEE are rare in Boston, and it is unlikely that you will get sick from a mosquito bite. However, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop high fever, confusion, severe headache, stiff neck, joint pain or if your eyes become sensitive to light.
Stay healthy this summer.
Protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites!
Mayor Martin J.
Walsh today announced the David A. Ellis Elementary School in Roxbury has been
selected by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) as one of
14 schools in Massachusetts to receive improvements through the Massachusetts
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Infrastructure Project Funding Program. These
improvements will strengthen Boston's work through its long-term transportation
plan, Go Boston 2030, which is focused on ensuring transportation
in Boston is safe, accessible and equitable for all.
Ellis School selection was awarded through a City of Boston request for funding
to implement a comprehensive traffic calming project in the area. The Ellis
School community, as well as the Roxbury Slow Streets-Safe Schools Coalition,
has worked closely with the City of Boston to address safety concerns at this
location and to plan upcoming improvements. Construction funds will be
available starting fall 2021.
delighted that upgrades will soon be made to significantly improve safety for
students and their families who walk and ride bikes to the Ellis Elementary
School each day," said Mayor Walsh. "Boston is committed to ensuring
all students can get to school safely and securely, and I look forward to this
grant improving the experiences of all at the Ellis Elementary School."
City of Boston's estimated $980,000 traffic calming project will use a variety
of tools to slow vehicle speeds, provide safer crossings, and expand Boston's growing
bike network near Ellis Elementary. The Safe Routes to School grant will fund a
comprehensive suite of traffic calming interventions along Walnut Avenue,
Humboldt Avenue, and several side streets.
will work with City agencies on the project's design and construction. This
effort is a continuation of rapid-response safety improvements completed in
2018 as part of Vision Zero Boston's Focus on Schools initiative, which
resulted in pedestrian safety improvements along Walnut Avenue in response to
the Boston Public Schools, there is nothing more important than the safety of
our students," said BPS Interim Superintendent Laura Perille. "This
collaboration with MassDOT will help provide a safer environment for our
students as they arrive and leave school everyday."
"Boston'sTransportation and Public Works Departments are committed to Vision Zero and to
working to ensure the safety of everyone who travels on our roadways,"
said Chris Osgood, Boston's Chief of Streets. "I'd like to thank the Ellis
School community, the Roxbury Slow Streets-Safe Schools Coalition, and the
Garrison Trotter, Sugar Hill, and Hutchings Street Neighborhood Associations
for partnering with Boston's Transportation, Public Works and School Departments,
as well as the Boston Public Health Commission, on this effort. I'd also like
to thank MassDOT for their support of the City's application."
partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Public Schools
launched Safe Routes to School Boston in 2015, and Ellis Elementary has been
participating in the program since its inception. Students receive annual
bicycle and pedestrian safety education and participate in multiple Walk to
School Days each year. More than one-third of Ellis Elementary students already
walk or bike to school and nearly 60 percent of students live within walking
distance of the school. Safe Routes to School Boston, a citywide effort to make
walking or biking to school safe, convenient and fun.
Routes to Schools Boston is funded in part by the Bloomberg PhilanthropiesPartnership for Healthy Cities, a global network of cities committed to saving
lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries.
Walsh also announced this year's Boston Public School's largest-ever budget,
and announced Boston's investment in free M7 bus passes for public, private and
charter school students throughout Boston.
More information on this program is available at: https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/saferoutes