On Saturday, June 16 the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) hosted "Healing Power: A Celebration of Cancer Survivorship" at The Guild, bringing Boston residents together in a celebration of life. The event was co-hosted by the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.
The event consisted of wellness activities like yoga, meditation, massage, and more. There was an exhibition of "Faces of Faith" by the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, which showcases portraits of over 50 cancer survivors. Attendees were presented the newly released Health of Boston Special Report on Cancer and watched the video "There is Life," produced by BPHC for the Pink and Black Education and Support Network.
The Pink and Black Education and Support Network is open to all female breast cancer survivors who share the goal of raising awareness around local resources to improve quality of life in survivorship. It was recently launched to leverage the work of a group of women who came together in 2005 to collaborate with BPHC and draw attention to the disparities in breast cancer survival rates faced by black women.
"The report is vital to better support individuals at every stage of the cancer care continuum," said Chief of Health and Human Services, Marty Martinez. "For us to create policy and programs that accurately accommodate traditionally underserved communities, it's imperative that we educate our residents and advise health care professionals on the social determinants of health that contribute to higher rates of cancer."
"As the City's health department, we have a role at several stages along the cancer care continuum, including celebrating survivorship," said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "Our new report on cancer serves as a roadmap to drive and prioritize our public health challenges we face as a city, but also offers real perspectives of our residents' cancer experience."
"Congratulations to the Boston Public Health Commission for releasing its first Health of Boston Special Report on Cancer. As the #1 cause of death in the City of Boston, this report is a call-to-action to work together to strengthen cancer prevention, screening and early detection, particularly among vulnerable populations. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has a longstanding partnership with BPHC and is committed to developing new and innovative approaches to reduce the burden of cancer in Boston," said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, President and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The Health of Boston Special Report: Cancer Among City of Boston Residentsreveals cancer rates are declining in the City, but it's still the overall leading cause of death among Boston residents regardless of sex and race and ethnicity. The report examines preventable risk factors, screening patterns, incidence rates, and mortality rates among the leading types of cancer. It particularly focuses on disparities among different populations, analyzed by sex and race and ethnicity.
Boston has made considerable progress in increasing screening rates for breast cancer. For the years 2008, 2010, and 2013 combined, a higher percentage of black female residents ages 40-74 (88 percent) reported recently having a mammogram compared to white female residents (84 percent).
However, disparities in breast cancer survival rates faced by black women persist. Between 2011-2013, the premature death rate (deaths among women under age 65) was 78 percent higher for black women than for white women, despite similar screening rates.
"As a woman of color and survivor of breast cancer, I am deeply concerned with the mortality rate among African-American women. While some progress has been made that I am truly grateful for, our work is not over. In fact, it is just beginning," said Roberta James, an event attendee. "It is beyond amazing for experts to recognize that patients' voices are critical to the advancement of our mission: prevention, healthy living, screening and early detection, follow up and follow through, and most importantly, letting people know there's hope and there is life after cancer."
The Health of Boston Special Report: Cancer Among City of Boston Residents is an in-depth analysis of cancer data that aims to provide residents, medical and public health professionals, health policy makers, and community advocates with actionable information on the cancer experience of Boston residents.
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) today announced the launch of the "We Are Green & Clean" campaign. Green & Clean businesses
work to reduce occupational and environmental health exposures in auto shops, nail salons, and hair salons. The campaign, funded through the Aetna Foundation's Cultivating Healthy Communities program
, aims to increase the number of local businesses participating in the program and encourage customers to choose participating shops for their services.
"Expanding the reach of our Green & Clean business efforts will ultimately improve the health of employees, customers, and neighbors," said BPHC Executive Director, Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "We look forward to continuing to work with Boston's small businesses to reduce occupational and environmental health hazards in our neighborhoods."
"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 and vice president of Community Health for Aetna, Inc. "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."
There are approximately 500 automotive shops, 200 nail salons, and 100 hair salons that employ over 5,000 people in the City of Boston. The workers, clients, and neighbors associated with these shops are in danger of being exposed to carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, sensitizers for occupational asthma, solvents that can cause neurological damage, and caustic chemicals if businesses don't prioritize using clean products that limit exposure.
"I'm proud to be Green & Clean," said Kulwinder Kaur of Vibrant Beauty Salon, a shop participating in the campaign. "Our customers shouldn't have to choose between great nails and a clean and healthy environment."
Green & Clean program staff provide technical assistance and health and safety trainings to businesses, helping them to adopt strategies such as using products that contain fewer hazardous chemicals. Auto shops
, nail salons
, and hair salons
are evaluated each year on a set of standards and those that do more than meet the regulatory requirements are recognized with Green & Clean, honoring their dedication to the health and safety of workers, customers, and the environment.
Green & Clean is part of BPHC's Safe Shops Program
which launched 13 years ago to serve auto shops, and later expanded to serve nail salons and hair salons. The Safe Shops Program provides technical assistance and training to small businesses to assist them in complying with regulatory requirements and adopt safer work practices. For more information, please visit www.bphc.org/safeshops
Mayor Walsh, BPHC Executive Director and EMS Chief recognize newest EMTs, celebrate department promotions
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today celebrated the graduation of 20 EMT recruits and recognized nine department members recently promoted, in a ceremony at Faneuil Hall held before family and friends. Among those addressing the graduates were Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, and Boston EMS Chief Jim Hooley. The graduating class will serve the City in frontline ambulances.
The graduation ceremony formally acknowledges the successful completion of an extensive EMT post-hire educational training for 20 of Boston's newest EMTs. The recruits, already state-certified EMTs prior to hire, attended an additional 27 weeks of classroom and field training, to prepare them to work in Boston's busy evolving urban system. Recruits were trained in a variety of emergency situations, including mass casualty incidents, human trafficking cases, hazardous materials exposures, transportation accidents, recovery services and life-threatening emergencies.
"It takes a special kind of person to do this work, and I hold every member of Boston EMS in the highest regard," said Mayor Walsh. "EMTs and paramedics are there for us during our most vulnerable moments, and are an integral part of our public safety community. I'm pleased to welcome this new class of recruits and thank them for their service to our City."
During their training, the recruit class responded to almost 3,000 incidents. The calls included illnesses, injuries, cardiac incidents, motor vehicle accidents, deliveries, shootings, stabbings, overdoses and more. With the guidance of an experienced EMT field training officer, recruits are not only comfortable providing care to patients regardless the circumstance, but also understand the level of care, clinical excellence and professionalism expected of them as Boston EMS EMTs.
Among others recognized at today's ceremony was one department member who was promoted to Superintendent of Special Operations; two department paramedics promoted to the rank of Deputy Superintendent; and one member promoted to Captain, who have a combined 101 years of experience. Five department members were also promoted to the rank of Paramedic after successfully completing the necessary Boston EMS Paramedic promotional testing and selection, as well as a three-month paramedic internship.
Boston EMS is one of the busiest municipal EMS providers in the country, responding to over 125,000 clinical 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.
"It is with deep admiration and respect that we welcome our new EMT graduates to the EMS community," said Chief of Health of Human Services, Marty Martinez. "Their work will ensure that everyone in Boston, no matter circumstance or zip code, will have the same quality of care in their greatest time of need. I am proud to work with Boston EMS and the EMTs as they provide quality prehospital emergency medical care throughout Boston."
"Public service and access to quality health care are at the cornerstone of our mission at the Boston Public Health Commission," said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "Members of Boston EMS, in all their different roles, are essential to achieving our mission."
"When we select individuals for the position of EMT or a promotion, we look for clinical expertise, critical thinking and their ability to treat others with kindness and compassion," said Boston EMS Chief Jim Hooley. "Once promoted, we remind them of the importance of also taking care of themselves."
In Boston's Fiscal Year 2019 budget, Mayor Walsh increased the funding for EMS with the goal of reducing response times and meeting the current demand for services. He recently invested in 20 new EMTs, bringing the total uniformed force to nearly 400 citywide, and added eight replacement ambulances to support them. To learn more about Boston's budget, please visit here.
The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department yesterday launched the 2018 Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The series starting next Monday, June 4, will bring 30 free fitness classes per week to parks in 18 neighborhoods across the City.
Due to the program's success, a full month of additional classes has been added to the three-month offerings of previous years. New classes include Carnival Fit, Cardio Dance and Afrobeat Bootcamp, and classes continue to be tailored to the interests of residents and participants, including age-friendly classes for kids and older adults.
"This year, we're expanding fitness opportunities in more neighborhoods," said BPHC Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "Being active can be tough for people who have less access to physical fitness options. The Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series is a fun way for people to stay on track to meet their health goals, by taking advantage of the open space in our city parks."
According to the Health of Boston 2016-2017 report, 22 percent of adult residents and 15 percent of public high school students are obese. These rates are even higher among communities of color where 32 percent of black adults and 30 percent of Latino adults are obese, compared to 17 percent of white adult residents. Only 19 percent of Boston adult residents reported to exercise regularly.
By engaging in a citywide effort to increase opportunities for physical activity, BPHC and the Parks Department aim to further reduce barriers to active living and achieve the goal of ensuring that Bostonians across the City have ample opportunities to be active.
"Our partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts provides a summer full of opportunities to enjoy healthy outdoor activities in our parks," said Boston Parks Commissioner Chris Cook. "We want to put fitness programs within reach of Boston residents and this program does just that by providing quality instruction in neighborhood parks."
"At Blue Cross, we are committed to helping all Massachusetts residents lead healthy lives by increasing their access to positive environments and experiences that inspire healthy eating and physical activity," said Jeff Bellows, vice president of Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs at Blue Cross. "We could not be more thrilled to partner with the City of Boston to provide accessible fitness opportunities that are high-quality, safe, and fun through this innovative program."
The May 31 kick-off event featured free 30-minute Zumba and line dancing classes and provided an introduction to all that the series has to offer Bostonians this summer. Polar Beverages provided free water at the event. This year's series includes classes for seniors, children and families, from June 4 to September 29, 2018.
For a full schedule of Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series classes, visit bphc.org/summerfitness. For updates, follow @HealthyBoston, @BostonParksDept, and #BostonMoves on Twitter and Instagram.
Four Things You Should Know About Viral Hepatitis:
- Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are all different diseases.
Each type of hepatitis is caused by a different virus and spread in different ways. Hepatitis A (HAV) does not cause a long-term infection, but it can make people very sick. Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) can lead to chronic, life-long infections and cause serious health problems.
- Chronic hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer.
Chronic HBV and HCV can cause serious damage to the liver, including liver damage, cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. In fact, more than 60 percent of liver cancer cases are related to HBV or HCV.
- Most people with chronic hepatitis do not know they are infected.
More than four million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis in the United States, but most do not know they are infected. Many people live with chronic hepatitis for years without symptoms or feeling sick.
- Get treated.
Lifesaving treatments are available for chronic HBV and new treatments are available that can cure HCV.
Millions of Americans have chronic viral hepatitis and most of them do not know it. Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19th) is an opportunity to remind people what hepatitis is and how important testing is.
Who should be tested for HBV?
- Pregnant women
- People born in Africa, Asia and other areas with high rates of HBV
- People who have sex with someone who has HBV
- People with weakened immune systems
Who should be tested for HCV?
- Adults born between 1945 and 1965 (need to be tested at least once)
- People who have ever injected street drugs, even if they tried it only once many years ago
- People with certain medical conditions, such as people:
- who got clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987
- who were ever on long-term hemodialysis
- with persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase levels (ALT)
- who are HIV positive
- People who have had blood transfusions or organ transplants, including persons who:
- were notified that they got blood from a donor who later tested positive for HCV
- got a blood transfusion or an organ transplant before July 1992
- Healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety workers that had a needle stick, sharps, or mucosal exposure to HCV-positive blood
- Children born to HCV-positive women
Talk to a healthcare provider to find out if you need to be tested for hepatitis! For more information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/RiskAssessment/
In honor of National Women's Health Week, we're recognizing four Whittier Street residents, all amazing women, who are committed to living a healthy lifestyle. They recently had the chance to take a field trip to the new Daily Table store in Dudley square and the REACH:PHH team was able to pull them aside for a short interview.
(click image for larger view)
If you haven't visited the Daily Table yet, we recommend that you stop by soon! They offer healthy, affordable foods for low prices and are conveniently located in the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods. For more information, please visit http://dailytable.org/.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh is encouraging Bostonians to play a role in curbing the misuse and theft of prescription drugs by dropping off their expired, unused, and unwanted medications on Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The kiosk service is free and anonymous, 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
This effort is supported by The Mayor's Office of Recovery Services, the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and the Boston Police Department (BPD) as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be cured with the right medicine. Bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured with antibiotics. Remember to take the medicine as directed and never share your medication with others. If it is safe to do so, talk to your sex partner(s) about getting tested for STIs. If your sex partner is infected, it is important to treat them at the same time to prevent re-infection. Having an STI and getting it treated does not protect you from future infections!
Other STIs such as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) aren't curable, but they are treatable. Talk to your healthcare provider to start treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment not only helps you stay healthy but can also reduce your chance of spreading the virus to someone else.
If left untreated, STIs can cause very serious health problems such as:
- Gonorrhea can cause men and women to become infertile (unable to have children)
- Long term infection of syphilis can damage internal organs
- HIV can progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)
Having one STI also increases your chances of getting other STIs. So get treated, stay healthy!
To learn more about STIs, visit www.bphc.org/STI.
April 21-28, 2018 is National Infant Immunization Week. Are your children's vaccinations up-to-date?
Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In the 1950's, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died. Today, thanks to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, many healthcare providers have never seen a case of measles.
Vaccines save lives!
Vaccines can protect children from 14 serious diseases before they turn 2! It's easy to think of these as diseases of the past. But the truth is they still exist. Children in the United States can—and do—still get some of these diseases.
You can also provide extra protection to your children by making sure those around them are current on their vaccines. When family members and caregivers of children are vaccinated, they are not only protecting their own health from vaccine preventable diseases, but they are also helping to limit the children's exposure to these diseases. This is especially important in the children's first few months of life when they haven't been fully vaccinated.
Talk to your health care provider to make sure you and your children are up-to-date with their vaccinations.
To learn more about vaccines, visit Vaccination Myths and Facts.
El 21 al 28 de abril, 2018 celebramos la Semana Nacional de Inmunización Infantil. ¿Están vacunados sus hijos?
Las vacunas han reducido drásticamente la muerte y la discapacidad infantil causadas por enfermedades prevenibles con vacunas en los Estados Unidos. En la década de 1950, casi todos los niños desarrollaban sarampión y, desafortunadamente, esta enfermedad causo muchas muertes. Hoy en día, gracias a la vacuna contra el sarampión, rubeola y paperas (MMR en inglés), hay muchos proveedores de salud que nunca han visto un caso de sarampión.
¡Las vacunas salvan vidas!
Vacunas pueden proteger a niños de 14 enfermedades graves antes de que cumplan 2 años! A veces es fácil pensar de estas enfermedades son del pasado. Pero la verdad es que estas enfermedades siguen existiendo. Niños en los Estados Unidos pueden-y siguen-contrayendo algunas de estas enfermedades.
También puede proporcionar protección adicional a sus hijos, asegurándose que las personas que los rodeen estén al día con sus vacunas. Cuando los miembros de la familia y cuidadores de niños son vacunados, no sólo protegen su propia salud de las enfermedades prevenibles por vacunación, sino que también están ayudando a limitar la exposición de los niños a estas enfermedades. Esto es especialmente importante en los primeros meses de vida de los niños cuando no se han vacunado completamente.
Hable con su proveedor de atención médica para asegurarse de que usted y sus hijos están al día con sus vacunas.
Para más información sobre vacunas, visite Los Mitos y los Hechos sobre la Vacunación.