The Central Massachusetts Regional Public Health Alliance  —  Quarterly Newsletter  —  January 2015, Volume 2, Issue 1  —  Produced by the Worcester Division of Public Health

The Central Massachusetts Regional Public Health Alliance 

                  Quarterly Newsletter 

January 2015, Volume 2, Issue 1                          Produced by the Worcester Division of Public Health      

Inside this Issue

Save the dates for National Public Health Week and our 2nd Annual CHIP Report out

Staff Awards

Update on the Center for Public Health Practice

Spotlight on E-Cigarettes

Recent Events: Flu Vaccinations in Worcester Public Schools

Upcoming Events: Ways to get involved with the Medical Reserve Corps

Exciting Announcements!

Save the date for our 2nd Annual CHIP Report Out! Join us on February 25th in the Levi Lincoln room at City Hall from 4:00 to 5:30. This annual event allows staff and community partners to provide a progress update towards achieving our vision of being the Healthiest Region in New England by 2020! Please RSVP to Megan Denubila at

The Worcester Division of Public Health will be partnering with the Regional Environmental Council and the Worcester Senior Center to bring fresh produce to the elderly population in the region! We look forward to rolling out this program in the spring of 2015

National Public Health Week

is April 6th to the 12th, click here to find out how you can get involved through the American Public Health Association. Contact Laura Overton at for more information on how you can get involved locally!

Pat Bruchmann wins the Thomas S. Green Award!

The Thomas S. Green Public Service Award is awarded by the Worcester Research Bureau to outstanding public servants, or “unsung heroes” in municipal government, for their commitment in making the region better places to live and work. Pat, our Chief of Public Health Nursing, has been a public health nurse in the city for 13 years. When the CMRPHA formed, Pat’s expertise and direction became crucial in providing public health nursing services within the Alliance towns. If you catch Pat in the building during work hours, consider yourself lucky! Between home patient visits, Pat finds the time to provide mentorship to nurse practitioner and 2nd year medical students, present on her work to students at the Graduate School of Nursing, and tirelessly organize and run multiple flu clinics in the region, all with a smile. Congratulations Pat!

Zach Dyer: 15 to Watch in 2015

Zach, our Coordinator of Chronic Disease Prevention and Partnerships, is one of  Pulse Magazine’s 15 to Watch in 2015. Among many of Zach’s accomplishments are working to develop our Community Health Improvement Plan, teaching Clark University’s first Intro to Public Health course, and launching Trendline Assessment and Planning LLC, a consulting firm he runs with Erin Cathcart. Congratulations Zach!

Under the newly established Center for Public Health Practice,

WDPH, in partnership with Worcester State University (WSU), is working, to bridge academic scholarship with public health practice. WSU has received funding from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts and the Fairlawn Foundation to further the goals of Worcester’s Community Health Improvement Plan. Up to 350 students will work with faculty teams to work with WDPH to identify areas of programmatic and research needs. These interdisciplinary teams will develop activities and strategies to address these needs. This project will engage students on relevant public health topics, and lead practice-focused research that will inform public policy. For more information, please contact Laura Overton, CPHP Coordinator, at  

Over the course of four days Worcester Public Schools and the Worcester Division of Public Health collaborated to provide flu vaccinations to 367 elementary and middle school students throughout Worcester. Supported by WPS nurses and WDPH staff, each of the 28 clinics could not have been successful without the help of over 50 volunteers. These volunteers included students and staff from UMass Medical School, Mass College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Worcester Regional Medical Reserve Corps. We are very thankful to all those who volunteered their time and skills!  

The Worcester Regional Medical Reserve Corps is looking for new volunteers for 2015!The volunteer organization is a committed group of volunteers, with our without medical backgrounds, who keep Central MA safe by responding to public health emergencies, and participating in community events. If interested in joining, please email Liz Foley, MRC Coordinator, at

The Worcester Regional Medical Reserve Corps has a few upcoming events: 

1/26/15 – MRC 101 – An orientation will be provided for all new volunteers or anyone interested in becoming a volunteer. This training will begin at 6:00 pm at the Shrewsbury Town Hall

2/7/15 – An Introduction to Sheltering for MRC Volunteers will take place at the Millbury Public Library from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

2/19/15 – MRC 101 – An orientation will be provided for all new volunteers or anyone interested in becoming a volunteer. This training will begin at 6:00 pm at the Frances Perkins Branch of the Worcester Public Library.

Click here for more information or schedule changes

Environmental Health Update:

Koby Owusu Ansah is the newest member of our Environmental Health team! Koby comes to us from the Regional Environmental Council as one of our Public Health Specialists. He is currently getting to learn more about the CMRPHA communities while he meets with the various Town Managers and Boards of Health within the CMRPHA. Welcome Koby!

Throughout the region, the closing of the previous quarter marked an administrative high point in the (re)permitting process.  This equates to 527 food permits (not including temporary events, concession stands, or farmer’s markets). We are ahead of schedule on our 864 scheduled food inspections, and have begun seeing compliance on more first time inspections. For more information, please contact Mike Borowiec at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released an article highlighting the forty states that have enacted laws prohibiting the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), however, more than 16 million youth 17 and younger live in the states that still permit sales.  The packaging for e-cigarettes and other nicotine products is often marketed towards children. Although e-cigarettes have been marketed as smoking cessation aids, e-cigarettes are not safe for youth. While Tim McAfee, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health agrees that ENDS may have the potential to benefit adults who have been long term smokers, if ENDS are used as a complete substitute for all tobacco products, ENDS should not be used by youth and adult non smokers, due to the harmful effects of nicotine. Locally, “vaping” has Worcester County Officials worried. Check out with Sherriff Lewis Evangelidis and our Chief of Community Health, Karyn Clark, have to say about the issue.

From January 21-23rd, a Multi-Jurisdictional Team from the CMRPHA, made up of representatives from Leicester, Shrewsbury, West Boylston, and Worcester, will be travelling to Charlotte, North Carolina, to participate in the Center for Public Health Services-Shared Services Learning Community (SSLC) Meeting. This two day workshop brings together 16 teams who are working to strengthen their ability to provide essential public health services while improving effectiveness and efficiency. The teams, which make up the SSLC, are from 14 states and are made up of 76 public health departments, districts, and tribal health agencies that provide services to 126 different geopolitical jurisdictions and tribes. The experiences of the SSLC, along with other research and expert opinions, provide the knowledge and insight the Center needs to reach beyond the SSLC to offer tools and assistance to any community or group of communities considering cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangements. The Center’s work is based on the idea that cross-jurisdictional sharing is one way policymakers, public health administrators, public health practitioners, and others can protect and improve the health of their communities.

Here are a few upcoming public health observances we are celebrating! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more!

January is National Birth Defects Awareness Month, and Cervical Cancer Screening and Awareness Month

February is National Cancer Prevention Month, Children’s Dental Health Month, Condom Month, and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and Nutrition Month

Staff Corner: Meet Alissa Errede

Prior to joining Worcester DPH as a Health Preparedness and Response Coordinator, I worked as an Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems and the Northeastern Maine Regional Resource Center. While in that role, I worked with healthcare and private sector organizations, emergency responders, and local, state, and federal partners on a number of initiatives. These initiatives, including full-scale exercises and coalition building, served to enhance public health and healthcare preparedness and response capabilities.

My background is somewhat varied and my interest in emergency preparedness began while working in the automotive industry. During that time, I saw the industry begin to feel the effects of the economic downturn and began to consider the preparedness, mitigation, and response activities associated. This curiosity led to my research of various graduate programs, and ultimately to Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s MS in Emergency Management. While in this program, I accepted a position within the private sector healthcare, and that experience, coupled with my education in Emergency Management, has allowed me to effectively step into roles within public health preparedness.

Though I enjoyed my time in Maine, I am excited to be home and look forward to enhancing the strong preparedness programs that Worcester DPH has in place.

Town of Grafton

Town of Holden

Town of Leicester

Town of Millbury

Town of Shrewsbury

Town of West Boylston

City of Worcester 




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