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Mayor Walsh announces the departure of Dr. Barbara Ferrer

September 8, 2014

Public Health Commission

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Public Health Commission

Today, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that Dr. Barbara Ferrer will step down from her position as Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and will accept a new role as Chief Strategy Officer with the Kellogg Foundation. For more than half of her 25-year public service career, Dr. Ferrer has led the City’s work to improve the health of all residents, particularly those most vulnerable.

Dr. Ferrer served first as its deputy director of BPHC, and has served as executive director since 2007. Under her leadership, Boston has seen improvements in childhood obesity rates, a decrease in asthma rates in public housing, a decline in smoking rates, and a significant decline in the infant mortality rate for Black infants.

During her time as the executive director, Dr. Ferrer has secured federal and state funding to support critical public health infrastructure and community based programs, with over $35M awarded in the last year alone. Dr. Ferrer’s commitment to make timely public health data accessible to the city’s healthcare and public health institutions as well as to residents has led to the development of evidenced-based programs that allow for progress to be measured.

“Barbara Ferrer has been a vital member of our City’s leadership team. She has made countless contributions and has played an instrumental role directing initiatives that have improved every aspect of health in Boston – from decreasing infant mortality rates to improving access to substance abuse treatment.” said Mayor Walsh.  “I congratulate Dr. Ferrer on her new role and know that the Kellogg Foundation will benefit from her insight and years of experience.” 

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve under both Mayor Menino and Mayor Walsh as the Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. I am proud of what the BPHC staff, our partners, and the city, have accomplished with and for Boston’s residents,” said Ferrer. “I know that I leave the Commission in a strong position to continue its important work. I am excited take what I have learned here in Boston and translate it into a national and international philanthropic agenda that will help support communities improve education, health and economic security from a multifaceted approach.”
A formal search committee will be established following Dr. Ferrer’s departure on October 3, 2014. The committee, co-chaired by BPHC Chair, Dr. Paula Johnson, and Dr. Howard Koh, will be composed of BPHC Board members as well as non-board members. During the search process, Dr. Huy Nguyen, medical director for the Commission, will serve as Interim Executive Director.