By Katinka Podmaniczky

Triniese Polk has worked for the Boston Public Health Commission for 11 years. She currently serves as Program Director for the Outreach Division in the Community Initiatives Bureau, and she was recently awarded the Front Line award by the Massachusetts Public Health Association. This recognition is given to an individual or organization who has had a significant impact on the betterment of the public health in their community through outreach, education, or direct services.

I wanted to know a little more about what Triniese does on a day-to-day basis. She explained that it’s her job to build and maintain networks that can help improve the health of the residents of Boston. These may be partners within the Commission and the city government, or out in the community. Her office also provides health education in non-traditional settings such as barbershops, hair salons, churches, housing developments, and schools.

“During a typical week, my staff and I work to develop and implement initiatives aimed at communicating public health messages and increasing awareness of the Commission’s programs and services,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone knows about – and has access to – the resources they need to be healthy.” In addition, she noted that in their work, it is important that her office takes into consideration the different languages, cultures, and education levels of Boston’s residents.

In this way, her office is vitally important to achieving the Public Health Commission’s mission: to protect, promote, and preserve the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly the most vulnerable.

So Triniese, you must love your job. What’s your favorite part? “Though not always instant, I am pleased by the gratification I feel when I know I’ve done something to improve the health and well-being of someone in need. And I love that I’m in a unique position to address any and all public health concerns – I don’t focus on one health issue or concern, I’m able to look at the big picture, which can really help an individual or family dealing with multiple health issues. In other words, I enjoy using a holistic approach to public health.”

To wrap up, I asked Triniese if she had a question for someone else at the Commission. She said she found BPHC by chance more than a decade ago, so she wanted to know how or when someone else was introduced to the field of public health or the Commission itself. Check back for the next Community Health Spotlight when I’ll get her an answer!

You can request more information or a visit from the Outreach Division by completing this Outreach Request Form.

Katinka Podmaniczky is the assistant communications director for the Public Health Commission. You can read the previous Community Health Spotlight here.