By Nick Martin

Boston has a long history of being a hotbed of health care innovation, and this past weekend over 200 residents, health care professionals, researchers, and municipal officials from across the city came together at Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury for another first – Boston’s first Local Public Health System Assessment retreat.

Organized by the Boston Public Health Commission and the Boston Alliance for Community Health, the retreat focused on reviewing health-related services to determine how well our system delivers for the people that call Boston home.

BPHC Executive Director Barbara Ferrer welcomed the group in the morning.

BPHC Executive Director Barbara Ferrer welcomed the group in the morning.

The day offered a chance for community members of all backgrounds to come together to measure the performance of our public health system in several areas. After a short welcome and introduction from Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the executive director of BPHC, participants broke into small groups to discuss and evaluate ten essential public health services.

The morning sessions covered topics such as monitoring changes in community health, informing and educating the public about health issues, developing policies to support community health, connecting residents to needed health services, and maintaining a high quality health care workforce. In the afternoon, retreat participants turned their focus to discussing issues related to public health surveillance methods, mobilizing community partnerships to solve health problems, enforcing laws and regulations that protect public health, evaluating personal and population-based health services, and spurring innovative solutions to health problems.

BPHC Medical Director Huy Nguyen spoke to one of the participants, Kevin Hepner, president and CEO of United South End Settlements.

BPHC Medical Director Huy Nguyen spoke to one of the participants, Kevin Hepner, president and CEO of United South End Settlements.

It was a pleasure to see public safety officials, health care professional, educators, community activists, and non-profit leaders all informing a wide-ranging discussion on important public health issues. As we work to build a healthier city, it’s this diversity of perspectives that will help ensure our efforts have a lasting impact on all of our communities.

We look forward to sharing the results of the retreat publicly this spring, and we thank all of our partners and participants for their hard work to make Saturday a success.

Nick Martin is the director of communications at BPHC. He facilitated one of Saturday’s small group discussions. Click here for more pictures from the event

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