Communities Band Together for Health

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

In an attempt to bolster the health of Winthrop, Chelsea and Revere the communities have banded together to form a health collaborative and hire a regional public health director who will work on policy, reports and more.

The person hired will take a regional look at trends and work with local Boards of Health. A signing ceremony will take place in Revere next Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Revere City Hall.

“This allows us to pool resources and tackle complex and common challenges that don’t stop at our boarders, such as opioid addiction,” said Winthrop Board of Health Chairman Nick LoConte.

He added that this is also a way to have the collaborative communities compete for grant money that larger municipalities tend to get.

While the Town Manager of Winthrop and the Mayors of Revere and City Manager of Chelsea created the collaborative, its not a new idea. The idea to have one person pull all three municipalities together came up over five years ago with Winthrop’s James McKenna, Revere’s then mayor Tom Ambrosino and Chelsea’s City Manager Jay Ash.

Working with the collaborative is the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which has been working with the three communities for years.

“We’ll still have the health departments but this focuses more on wellness, which we really don’t have the time to address,” said Nick Catinazzo, Revere’s health director. “Smoking, flu and opioids will be big things. It’s not a small job. I think it’s a good thing.”

The position is expected to pay between $80,000-$90,000, according to one official. The City Council of Revere has already approved $30,000 to go toward the salary for the rest of the fiscal year. Winthrop will kick in $14,702 and $31,000 from Chelsea.

The regional public health director will conduct a regular assessment of the public health needs, establish shared public health objectives and desired outcomes to improve public health, coordinate and appropriate expansion of existing health programs across three communities and identify financial resources.

The agreement runs until the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2017 and then renew for a total of 15 years. The city of Revere will be the lead city and have to maintain records, administer payroll, conduct audits and issue periodic financial statements to all participants.

According to the agreement, there will be a board of directors made up of representatives from each municipality. The directors are also required to have regular meetings on a quarterly basis.

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