By Sue Ellen Woodcock
The North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative is up and running, serving Winthrop, Revere and Chelsea with director Jeff Stone at the helm.
The collaborative is intended to fill in the gaps regarding health issues in the three communities. The collaboratives’ ability to obtain grants increases since roughly 100,000 people make up the three communities.
What the collaborative is not is a replacement for the boards of health.
“It’s not a health department, no merging. The three communities are looking at public health challenges,” Stone said. “The goal is to come up with common health objectives. We can collaborate to achieve more than if we worked individually.”
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council helped develop the collaborative, something that had been talked about for the past six to seven years.
The board of the collaborative consists of Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Winthrop Town Manager James McKenna. All three approved the hiring of Stone a month ago.
Stone has been busy getting to know the three communities.
“I’ve been talking to people about the health needs of the communities,” Stone said. “The three communities decided to work together to look at the public health challenges.”
Some of those challenges could be obesity, depression, or nutrition. Substance use is something that effects all three communities, but would not be a primary focus of the collaborative, said Stone.
“Revere and Chelsea have higher than average rates of childhood obesity,” Stone said.
Stone, whose office in on the third floor of Revere City Hall, comes to the collaborative after being director of programming for the Massachusetts Health Council for the last five years. He worked on the opioid epidemic and how the communities around the state address the opioid epidemic. Stone has also worked as a public health researcher.
Stone holds a bachelor’s in psychology/sociology from Colby College and an MBA in community health sector management from Boston University.