The challenges that Bostonians face in preventing illness, promoting healthy lifestyles, and reducing health disparities are ongoing and multifaceted. Marty Walsh is no stranger to finding innovative solutions to complicated public health issues through collaboration and hard work. Marty is a widely recognized advocate for families and individuals seeking substance abuse services. For these reasons, he is the best candidate to take on these tough issues.
Marty knows that quality schools, partnerships with law enforcement agencies, consistent employment at or above living wage rates, and accessibility to services are all critical to working to solve Boston’s public health issues.
ACCESS: Marty will link residents to public health services through expanded outreach, including direct neighborhood contact.
- Grassroots Public Health – Using an established method of door-to-door contact, Grassroots Public Health will identify populations in Boston that are facing barriers and will work to connect them to direct services. Marty will engage public health employees and Boston residents in a two-way conversation using a citywide door knocking campaign as a vehicle. This will allow trained public health liaisons to bring service information directly into the homes of Boston residents, while also receiving crucial feedback around the most pressing needs of individuals, families, and neighborhoods. Partnerships with community service organizations, non-profits, and other service providers will be central to this effort and will enable Boston to solve health problems on a neighborhood-to-neighborhood, door-to-door, and person-to-person level.
- Establishing an Office of Recovery Services – Marty will create an Office of Addiction Recovery Services in City Hall within the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC). This office will collaborate with other city and non-profit agencies in Boston to help citizens navigate the complex treatment and recovery support system so that they and their loved ones can get the help they need when they need it. He will expand the current HOTLINE system to include 24-hour coverage. Marty understands that it is imperative help be immediately available when an individual in need of substance abuse services is ready to enter treatment.
- Physical Health Education and Promotion – Through the reunification of the Parks and Recreation Department, Marty will provide more programming in parks to help promote increased use of outdoor spaces for healthy purposes. By implementing health education campaigns citywide, and through partnerships with BPS and community centers, we can increase access to information about programming in areas such as wellness, nutrition, and obesity prevention.
- Re-entry Assistance – Access to meaningful and gainful employment plays a crucial role in lifting individuals out of homelessness and in lowering the recidivism rate of adult offenders. Marty understands how the health of entire communities is negatively impacted when adult offenders who have done their time are not meaningfully reintegrated. He will promote a strengthened continuum of care for individuals moving from shelters and correctional facilities in order to best equip them to be productive members of our community. This process will also consist of actively involving the private sector by incentivizing businesses to engage these individuals in training and employment.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Marty will evaluate Boston’s current Public Health system by rating its effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
- Community Oversight – Marty will establish a non-partisan committee that includes community service organizations, public health agencies, and residents to give public health report cards based on progress made within their neighborhoods. This progress will be measured by examining various sets of health data, rates of recidivism around at-risk populations, and the rate of increased public engagement in new initiatives.
- Personal Health Services Evaluation – Continuing on the theme of making the City of Boston’s website more user-friendly, the BPHC will develop a webpage where residents can rate and comment on the health services they received at a particular city or non-profit provider.
- Higher Education Partnerships - Marty will look to partner with local colleges and universities to conduct formal evaluations of current and potential initiatives that connect to public health, including substance abuse, homelessness, and obesity. He will also conduct roundtable discussions with individuals and collaborating partners to assess the implementation and effectiveness of these policies. Marty will gain feedback through his community liaisons about each community’s response to a new or enhanced service. He will also explore peer mentor relationships between locally based college students and Boston youth.
COLLABORATION: Marty will mobilize and initiate citywide and community partnerships to identify and solve public health problems and disparities.
- Street Outreach/Youth Violence Prevention- Marty will expand street outreach models into the BPHC to allow for a more comprehensive approach to preventing and treating the devastating effects of youth gang violence. This would expand on work already being pioneered by violence and trauma specialists currently working in BPHC. This program will partner with local hospitals, nonprofits, and community groups engaged in similar fields to help treat the at-risk, and high-risk youth most likely to be perpetrators and victims of violence.
- Mental Health Access through Boston Police Districts – Marty will provide the Boston Police Department with more support services to help triage individuals in need of psychiatric intervention as a result of being a victim or witness to crimes such as sexual assault, domestic violence, or other traumatizing events, including general neighborhood or school violence. Marty will model this service after the current relationship that the Boston Police Department (BPD) has with the Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST).
- Partnering with Boston Public Schools - Marty will work with BPS leadership to establish an alcohol and substance abuse prevention/education curriculum that will be implemented across the system. He will ensure that the curriculum is age appropriate, culturally diverse and evidence-based. These services will be provided by effective, efficient community-based agencies that are currently servicing our communities as they have established connections and trust within neighborhoods.
- Teen Sexual Health —In addition to improving age-appropriate comprehensive sex education for youth in Boston Public Schools, Marty will connect the Boston Public Health Commission with local community health centers, teen-focused non-profits, and universities to develop an innovative educational approach aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and STD/STI rates. BPHC has done some very successful work around this already, but there is still more to be done. Marty will also partner with universities’ and local business’ marketing programs to expand a public relations campaign aimed at preventing these issues in the areas of the city most negatively affected.
TRANSPARENCY: Marty will make the “Health of Boston Report” and other targeted analysis of public health services available online. His team will also design an online tool that shows up-to-date health information about each neighborhood as well as nearest locales of farmers’ markets and other fresh, affordable food options.
- Open Information Sharing - The Office of Addiction Recovery Services and the BPHC will make all data available in the expansion of the “Health of Boston Report.” The report will be readily available online and in the neighborhood’s Little City Halls.
- Data Collection Policy - Marty will work to create incentives for public health organizations to record accurate data on the use and outcomes of their services. He will also encourage academic institutions to have access to that data in order to find more innovative opportunities for change and progress.
- Community Grading of Health Services – By encouraging community service organizations to establish monitoring committees, Marty will empower these committees to bi-annually grade the health of their neighborhood and the City’s response to those health concerns.
Marty Will Make It Happen as Mayor:
Marty has the experience and legislative track record of someone who has fought for the most vulnerable residents of Boston for years. He understands that it takes citywide collaboration and the ability to talk to residents on a personal level about their specific needs in order to find solutions to Boston’s collective problems.
As a legislator Marty has:
- co-sponsored a bill that would require Sober Housing to be certified with the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services and Department of Public Health to ensure the safety of Boston’s residents and provide safe and affordable housing for individuals in recovery (H.1168)
- sponsored a bill to study the cost of medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction to see if there are better practices that could help fight this serious epidemic in Boston (H. 1818)
- sponsored a bill to expand access to alcohol and drug clinical services by expanding the definition of “licensed mental health workers” (H.995)
Marty’s constituents report that he answers their late night phone calls and works to assist them on deeply personal challenges – without the cameras running and for no electoral recognition. When in City Hall, Marty Walsh will make this kind of response to public health challenges a signature of his administration writ large.
- Economic Development
- Public Safety
- Public Health
- Energy, Environment, and Sustainability
- Parks and Recreation
- Neighborhood & Constituent Services
- Technology and Innovation
- Cultural Affairs
- Persons With Disabilities
- Public/Private Partnerships
- Boston’s Immigrant Communities
- Communities of Color in Boston
- Elder Care and Services
- Women's Issues
- Youth Policy
- Animal Care and Control