FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 29, 2020
MassDEP Partners with Local Public Health Officials to Keep Communities Safe
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has partnered with the Local Public Health Institute of Massachusetts (LPHI), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and municipal health organizations to update four key online environmental training modules that will help municipal boards of health and health agents keep residents and communities across the Commonwealth safe. Improving access to trainings for the local public health workforce was one of the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health.
“Local health officials cover an enormous array of topics and provide critical services that help us do our jobs,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Updating the content of these online training sessions was a significant undertaking, but the results are well worth it when it comes to the increased protection of our environment and the public health.”
MassDEP committed funds and staff time to help the LPHI recreate training sessions that focused on drinking water and private wells, hazardous materials and waste, solid waste and recycling, and wastewater and Title 5 system regulations. MassDEP relies on the work of local boards of health and their agents to assist in the regulation and implementation of many of the agency’s environmental programs and policies.
“This project represents a great deal of time and effort from so many,” said LPHI Manager Kerry Dunnell. “DPH’s Office of Local and Regional Health staff understood the need, and were able to identify a funding mechanism, and the funding made it possible for LPHI to work with MassDEP professionals to develop this important content. We are all delighted to have these courses back in the LPHI catalog, and once again available to the local public health workforce that relies upon them.”
LPHI, which is affiliated with Boston University, and MassDEP updated the training modules in partnership with the Coalition for Local Public Health, which includes the Massachusetts Health Officers Association (MHOA), the Massachusetts Environmental Health Association (MEHA), the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA), the Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses (MAPHN), the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards (MAHB), and the Western Mass Public Health Association (WMPHA). DPH provides funds to LPHI as part of its commitment to a well-trained local public health workforce.
“We continue to work to ensure that local public health officials receive the training and professional development they need to do the critical work they do every day,” said DPH Acting Commissioner Margret Cooke. “Thanks to our partners for their effort and commitment to ensure access to updated training and continuing education for our local public health professionals.”
The training sessions feature interactive webpages to engage trainees, and there is 24/7, 365-day access so that they can be used at the trainees’ convenience or to serve as a user-friendly online reference manual. Since 2013, 789 certificates of completion have been issued for these four courses, with nearly 2,600 online hits providing online resources and reference materials.
“We want to thank MassDEP for the effort and partnership in contributing to these valuable online training resources for our members and local public health officials,” said MHOA President and Norwood Public Health Director Sigalle Reiss. “It provides local public health officials with the tools to ensure safe and healthy communities.”
More information on the training sessions and the health partnership can be found here.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
Ed Coletta 617-292-5737