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Mission | Wellness & Prevention
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The Massachusetts Health Council leads a broad group of stakeholders to foster a strong culture of health in Massachusetts. We promote policies and programs that enable healthier lifestyles, wellness, and preventative care so all people and their communities can thrive.

Community Wellness & Prevention

Prevention of disease and the active promotion of health and wellness are essential components of a health care system. The Massachusetts Health Council is dedicated to fostering a culture of health so that health and wellness thrive in every community.

The Health Council runs programs, hosts meetings and conferences and supports policies and activities that promote health and wellness in each city, town, community and neighborhood across the Commonwealth. We believe real health and wellness begins at the local level. Below are some highlights of the Council’s action agenda. We welcome and invite the collaboration of our allies in these endeavors and deeply appreciate the financial support of our members, sponsors and all who help the Council carry out this work.

“Creating a Culture of Health” – The Council is incorporating this phrase into the lexicon of every conversation we have on what can benefit Massachusetts. It involves “thinking upstream” for improvement of population health, wellness and prevention of disease in local communities via higher levels of communication, coordination and collaboration among all sectors. Health and social services providers are striking new alliances with youth organizations, schools, Councils on Aging, business, fraternal organizations, local media and other partners, finding ways to heighten consciousness of the health aspects of our daily activities and civic decisions.

Engaging Whole Communities to Improve Health – The Council has begun conversations in various communities on ways that multi-sector coalitions can improve wellness and prevent disease. Our vision is that every city and town will have a coalition drawn from schools, health departments, police, other municipal employees, residents, sports leagues, health providers and business, identifying opportunities for actions to enhance health and wellness for residents of all ages and backgrounds. Groups may have overlapping membership with existing Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions, School District Wellness Advisory Committees, Hospital Community Benefit Advisory Committees, etc. Our goal is wellness for the whole community.

School District Wellness Committee Summit – The Council is working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Public Health to plan a first-ever “wellness summit” for members of school district wellness committees. We will provide much-needed information-sharing and networking opportunities among those working for health and wellness within schools and within their broader surrounding communities. We hope that local wellness policies in the school will grow and influence the cities, towns, communities and neighborhoods around them.

Common Health for the Commonwealth: Massachusetts Health Council Report on Preventable Conditions and Social Determinants of Health – The expanded, 120-page 9th Edition of our biennial report, released at a State House event on February 7, 2017, presents statewide data on 14 health conditions and determinants of health, efforts to address them and recommendations from practitioners, researchers and advocates in each field. It guides our work and continues to be an invaluable reference for policy-makers, health professionals and all involved in the health of Massachusetts residents. The 10th edition will be released in 2019.

Regular Mass Health Council Committee Meetings – Our Health Policy Committee and Pharmacy Committee meetings provide Health Council members with a chance to hear from elected officials and health care leaders and engage them face-to-face on the issues of greatest concern. These forums are invaluable networking opportunities and offer perspectives from all sides of healthcare. 

Nutrition Education & Advocacy – Reporting on obesity and promoting opportunities for healthier eating have long been priority areas for the Council. Child obesity remains at alarmingly high levels with some children now being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a phenomenon almost unheard of in earlier generations.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Campaign - Building on our successful campaign to pass the 2010 School Nutrition Bill that banned the sale of sugary drinks and junk food in schools, the Council began working in 2017 on an initiative to discourage consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by working with schools directly. A sugary drink tax could provide substantial funds to help municipalities acquire clean, modern water fountains and water bottle filling stations and launch educational campaigns promoting water consumption over unhealthy beverages.

School Nutrition – Healthy Foods Fuel Healthy Minds – good nutrition is vital for good health and our first and best chance to influence good nutrition at the population level is in our schools. The Health Council has hosted events bringing together school personnel with leaders from across the food and nutrition community to share best practices and create grassroots enthusiasm for great, delicious, nutritious food in all our schools.

“Best of the Best Health Care Chef Competition” at the Annual Awards Gala – In this popular competition, we will continue to require that chef teams adhere to guidelines for fat, sugar and sodium, sending a message to attendees that mouth-watering appetizers can also be healthy!

Action on the Opioid Epidemic – The Council continues to track and report on the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic and to organize and participate in forums on prevention, enforcement, treatment and recovery. In 2016, we presented a highly successful conference for employers, providing them with practical information and resources regarding the opioid epidemic. In 2017 we assisted regional chambers of commerce in planning their own forums on the subject and in, 2018 we presented "Our Kids and Drugs of Misuse: Nicotine, Marijuana & Opioids." We will continue to focus on this crisis.


23rd Annual Pharmacy Public Health Policy Symposium | Registration for Non-Pharmacists