About the Health Commission
The Boston Public Health Commission is the country’s oldest health department. Governing (BPHC) is 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. With a focus on individuals who are most vulnerable. We offer more than 40 services for residents of Boston. An organizational chart can be found online.
Where we live, work, and play shapes our health and well-being. It’s common to think 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 strong predictors of health and well-being. 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 have origins in discriminatory laws, policies, and practices. Historically these have denied people of color the right to earn income, own property, and accumulate wealth. Health resources are unevenly distributed across the city of Boston. The distribution follows patterns of racial segregation and poverty concentration. As a result, white Boston residents enjoy better health on average than residents of color. These 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. We must provide all residents with fair access to the conditions that promote the best possible health.
The mission of the BPHC 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 Commits to the following principles:
- Promote the fair treatment of all people
- Ensure internal policies, procedures, and practices are fair and equitable
- 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
We Asked, You Said, We Did and What Changed
At BPHC, community input is important to us. We want you to know how your input informs our decision-making.
We Asked, You Said, We Did and What Changed is an important part of our commitment to equitable community engagement. Click here to learn more about equitable community engagement at BPHC.