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Public Health

Boston boasts world-class hospitals and serves as a hub of medical innovation and industry, but the thriving health care economy has not always translated to adequate care for all of our residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and widened Boston’s deep health disparities by race and neighborhood, further afflicting communities already burdened with exposure to gun violence and environmental hazards, and further destabilizing residents struggling with homelessness and the opioid epidemic. Michelle is fighting for the access and resources to ensure the health of every family and  the resilience of our public health infrastructure.

Policy PrioritiesHow We Will Lead

Managing the COVID-19 pandemic and creating resiliency to future threats

The next mayor will be responsible for ushering the city through the ongoing crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reshaped every aspect of our lives. Leadership during this crisis means creating a robust system of testing, contract tracing, and public health outreach built on science and grounded in public trust and transparency.

Ending health disparities in health care access and outcomes

Michelle is committed to rooting out discrimination in all of its forms. Racism is a public health crisis in Boston, from tragic disparities in Black maternal health to the epidemic of gun violence that disproportionately harms Black and brown communities. The fight for equality includes ensuring linguistically and culturally competent care, access to gender affirming services, and health policy that centers people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Implementing a citywide plan to address homelessness, substance use, and mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated Boston's homelessness, substance use, and mental health crises, with opioid-related overdose deaths increasing by 20% in 2020 alone as social isolation, mental health challenges, financial precarity and housing instability have deepened. Across Massachusetts, the highest increase in opioid-related deaths has been among Black men, and the crisis has been worsened by the prevalence of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Boston residents deserve compassionate care, urgent action, and accountability. These intersectional barriers and complexity of broken systems must be transformed.

Overhauling Boston’s public health infrastructure

Boston can be the healthiest city in the country for all of our residents by investing in our community health providers and partnerships, tackling chronic and underlying health issues in the population, and expanding access to outreach and preventative care.

Prioritizing mental health and trauma supports

As the world continues to grapple with the physical health and economic effects of COVID-19, mental health is becoming another pressing health crisis just beneath the surface of the pandemic, with additional barriers to care for communities of color. Michelle believes in ending the stigma of mental illness by sharing the complexities of our stories and fighting to make care accessible to every family.

Investing in substance use prevention, treatment, & recovery services

We need to take a compassionate, evidence-based approach to substance use disorder that is grounded in principles of harm reduction and not criminalization. Our families deserve a renewed commitment to ending the opioid epidemic and the underlying corporate greed, economic stressors, and mental health crisis that feed its devastation.

Creating a local, healthy, and sustainable food system and fighting food insecurity

Access to nutritious food can help power healthy families, and investments in local, community-oriented food production and distribution are the building blocks for fighting food insecurity and creating a sustainable food system. We should be rethinking food access from beginning to end, starting with corporatized food production processes that compromise workers’ rights and leave our food supply chain vulnerable to disruption. Through robust community partnerships, equitable food procurement practices, and support for small businesses like bodegas and family-owned restaurants, we can better serve our communities.

Grounding public safety in a commitment to public health

In all of our public safety priorities, from ending gun violence and domestic violence to reforming our crisis response infrastructure, Boston must lead with trust as the foundation for public health. Building wellness in our city requires setting a new standard for accountability and community oversight in policing, which means we must also reject surveillance technology and practices that threaten civil rights and disproportionately harm Black and brown neighborhoods and families.

Fighting for environmental justice and ensuring all Bostonians live with clean air and water, and healthy homes

Leaders must use this moment to confront the interlocking threats of ecological degradation and environmental racism and call for solutions that will generate green jobs, fight wealth inequality, and build more livable cities. Our families deserve clean air, unpolluted water, and toxic-free buildings. From fighting the urban heat island effect and restoring our tree canopy, to combating pollution, we should build an inclusive, green public health agenda.

Michelle’s RecordWhat We've Done Together So Far