Heidi Porter appointed to the Prevention and Wellness Advisory Board by Gov. Patrick

Submitted by the Bedford Board of Health

Heidi Porter, Director of the Bedford Health Department
Heidi Porter, Bedord’s Director of Public Health

The Bedford Board of Health is pleased to announce that Governor Deval Patrick has appointed Heidi Porter, Bedford Director of Public Health, as a member of the Prevention and Wellness Advisory Board (PWAB).

The PWAB will make recommendations to the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) concerning the administration and allocation of a $60 million Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) over four years. At least 75% of these funds are to be distributed as grants to community-based partnerships including municipalities, healthcare systems, businesses, regional planning organizations, and schools. The goal is for these groups to work together to provide research-based interventions that will reduce health care costs by preventing chronic conditions.

The PWTF builds and expands on current initiatives at the MDPH including the Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program from which the Bedford BOH has received $18,000 since 2012.

In Bedford, these funds have been used to:

  1. engage Bedford businesses in a dialogue regarding opportunities for healthy dining programs and healthy retail food sales;
  2. engage the community and business sector in a conversation on the health benefits of a properly designed built environment; and,
  3. review local government plans and policies to determine the ways in which they promote health and wellness.

The Bedford CTG programs in conjunction with those implemented by other Massachusetts communities have already begun to implement policy, systems and environmental changes across Massachusetts and are building needed resources and infrastructure that are designed to help prevent and control chronic diseases.

The PWAB includes volunteer appointees from among the following sectors: public health, hospitals, research and business, health equity, community health and health insurance. In her position on the PWAB, Ms. Porter represents a board of health for a city or town with a population of fewer than 50,000. She looks forward to her participation on the PWAB as a means to encourage development of programs and interventions to improve public health and lower health care costs across the Commonwealth while ensuring that the health and wellness needs of communities like Bedford are being taken into account.

Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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