Massachusetts Public Health Association

Action for Equity in Health

aka Massachusetts Public Health Association   |   Boston, MA   |


The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) is a champion for public health in the Commonwealth. We are a catalyst for change, eliminating health inequities and promoting healthy communities for all.

Notes from the nonprofit

The online version of MPHA's Annual Reports may be found here:

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Carlene Pavlos

Deputy Director

Oamshri Amarasingham

Main address

50 Federal Street, 8th Floor

Boston, MA 02110 USA

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NTEE code info

Public Health Program (E70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) is a nonprofit organization that promotes a healthy Massachusetts through advocacy, community organizing, and coalition building. We are leaders in the movement to create health equity by addressing the root causes of health and wellness, including structural racism and poverty. We promote policies that impact the major drivers of health, such as access to healthy food, safe affordable housing, and transportation. We also advocate for equitable public health services throughout the Commonwealth. For more information, visit

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Addressing Social Determinants of Health

MPHA understands Social Determinants of Health as “the broad set of factors that influence health outcomes and that shape community environments. These factors reach beyond the healthcare system and include structural drivers and conditions of daily life” (adapted from The Prevention Institute). Through organizing and advocacy, MPHA works to shape policies that address three core social determinants of health:

• Access to Healthy Affordable Food
• Transportation Equity
• Access to Quality, Affordable Housing

By addressing these social determinants of health, and integrating a focus on eliminating racism and reducing poverty, MPHA and our allies aim to reduce health inequities and improve health outcomes in the Commonwealth.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Social and economic status

MPHA is committed to ensuring that ongoing efforts at health care reform recognize the importance of integrating community health needs into the work of the health care system. Our policy efforts prioritize integration of a social determinants of health framework into developing models for accountable care organizations and payment reform and we prioritize meaningful participation of community organizations and advocates in this work. Two major initiatives are included in this programmatic area:

MPHA has led the formation and work of the Alliance for Community Health Integration (ACHI), a coalition of public health, consumer advocacy, social service, and community organizations with a shared, strategic agenda to integrate SDOH into health care. Such alignment creates a greater imperative for policymakers and health care systems to more fully engage with our networks. ACHI includes three organizing teams: MassHealth & SDOH, Hospital Community Investments, and Housing Policy. MPHA leads ACHI, chairing meetings and staffing the organizing teams, coordinating input from coalition members, and engaging members in communications and policy actions.

Additionally, MPHA continues to advocate for the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF). PWTF connected clinical services and community-based interventions resulting in demonstrated improvements in health outcomes for those who participated. MPHA and its partners are working with legislative allies to create an ongoing and stable funding structure that will assure the availability of this program for years to come.

Population(s) Served

To support vibrant, connected communities on which the health of Massachusetts residents’ depends, MPHA works to assure that there is vital and sufficient public health infrastructure at both the state and local levels. At the state level MPHA works with stakeholders to assure sufficient funding and resources for critical public health functions. At the local level, MPHA coordinates the Coalition on Local Public Health (CLPH), consisting of five public health organizations dedicated to advocating for the resources needed to promote healthy communities in Massachusetts through strong Boards of Health and Health Departments. These organizations include: Massachusetts Association of Health Boards, Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, Massachusetts Environmental Health Association, Massachusetts Health Officers Association and Massachusetts Public Health Association. Massachusetts has 351 boards of health at the municipal level that provide many of the core public health protections that we all rely on to stay safe and healthy. The local health system as it is currently structured and financed faces significant challenges meeting statutory responsibilities and providing essential safeguards. MPHA, working with CLPH, was able to create a statutory Special Commission on Local Public Health’s in 2016. This Commission is charged with assessing “the effectiveness and efficiency of municipal and regional public health systems and to make recommendations regarding how to strengthen the delivery of public health services.” In 2019 the Commission will issue its report and MPHA is working with stakeholders to assure that its recommendations will be addressed and implemented.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

American Public Health Association 2023

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

MPHA's goal is to create health equity and healthy communities for everyone in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We do this by aligning our work with the overarching goals of dismantling structural racism, eliminating poverty, and integrating a health equity lens into all policies. As a result of our work, the Legislature and state agencies will adopt new policies and practices and will allocate additional funding to address the social conditions that drive health inequities. Key strategies include expanding access to healthy nutritious food, affordable public transportation, and safe affordable housing, while also promoting worker’s rights and economic justice, and assuring that health care delivery addresses health-related social needs (such as food, housing, violence, and transportation).

Additionally, the Legislature and the Department of Public Health will invest in creating a more effective, efficient, and equitable local public health system that provides strong public health protections for every resident, regardless of zip code. This will include establishing minimum public health standards for every community, ensuring a qualified local public health workforce, creating a uniform data collection and reporting system, and providing sustainable state funding for local public health departments.

To realize our vision, MPHA must address the most important drivers of health – the social and environmental conditions that exist in our communities. These include the quality of the housing that is available and affordable and protection from displacement for long term residents; the presence of food retailers offering fresh fruits and vegetables; and access to reliable public transportation that connects residents to jobs, educational opportunities, medical care, grocery stores and public services. What’s more, we must go deeper, to the root causes that result in those social conditions.

For example, we know that structural racism is a fundamental cause of health inequity in Massachusetts and the United States. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a series of horrifying cases of police brutality against Black Americans, has brought this reality into public consciousness. Never has MPHA’s goal of dismantling structural racism as a means to achieving health equity been more widely understood or supported, and we are working to capitalize on this opportunity to gain ground. Our Board has recently re-committed the organization to working both to dismantle structural racism and to lift up the voices of people most impacted by racism and other forms of oppression.

MPHA’s primary strategy for achieving our goals is to act as a coalition builder, bringing together local leaders, public officials, policy experts, activists, and community-based organizations to advance key public policy solutions. We listen carefully to our grassroots partners and strive to amplify the voices of those most impacted by health inequities. In many cases, we bring together organizations that have not collaborated in the past, but which can benefit from partnership. For example, we have recently convened healthcare leaders and affordable housing advocates to develop a shared strategy for addressing the affordable housing crisis in Massachusetts. We engage these individuals and groups in a collaborative process to identify important issues and set policy priorities, and then lead them in taking action to educate policy makers. MPHA utilizes its strengths as a coalition-builder and organizer to effect policy change that improves the health of all Massachusetts residents.

MPHA's Executive Director and four full-time program staff have more than 50 years of collective experience in advocacy, organizing, policy, and public health. These are supported by both a full-time development and a full time operations staff member, and part-time consultants focused on communications and on finance. MPHAs Board of Directors is exceptionally strong and comprised of made up of 20 members who are leaders in their fields and bring deep experience in public health, academia, healthcare, community health, community organizing, social service delivery, community development, financial management, and law. Our strong commitment to racial equity is borne out in our hiring and Board recruitment practices. More than 80% of MPHA's staff and 60% of MPHA's board identify as people of color.

In addition to our Board of Directors, our work guided by a 22-member Policy Council, representing all regions of Massachusetts with an emphasis on grass roots organizational membership. Members have expertise on a range of issues including: food systems, housing and homelessness, public transportation, environmental justice, public health, municipal government, policy development and advocacy, and more.

MPHA benefits from a strong network of partnerships with organizations across the state, from Western Massachusetts to Cape Cod. Our history of collaboration and convening nontraditional partners, and our intentional approach to credit sharing and consensus building, has earned us the trust and respect of a wide range of critical partner organizations working in a variety of fields, from food access and affordable housing to transportation, public health, healthcare, civil rights, and labor.

We are fortunate to have strong IT capabilities, including access to Zoom and the cloud. When the pandemic began, we found that all staff already had broadband Internet access at home, and we were able to pivot easily to a remote work model.

Over the past several years, MPHA has:
• Convened the Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity to make rapid policy recommendations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. We passed the most comprehensive moratorium on evictions and foreclosures in the country. We also passed legislation requiring the collection and reporting of equity data for all COVID-19 infections and deaths, including race, ethnicity, and disability status.
• Supported police reform legislation, recently signed by the governor, to reduce police violence and its profound public health impacts on communities of color.
• Passed the State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Bill, which begins implementation of the recommendations of the Special Commission on Local & Regional Public Health. It increases training for members of the local public health workforce and provides funding incentives to cities and towns to encourage the sharing of services across municipal boundaries.
• Organized the Regional Transit Authority Task Force, which successfully advocated for increased state funding for public transportation in cities across the state, and maintained that funding in subsequent years.
• Led the push for continued state funding for the Mass in Motion Program, which promotes opportunities for healthy eating and active living throughout the Commonwealth.
• Secured $1M in state capital dollars for the MA Food Trust Program (in 2018, 2019 and 2020), which provides loans and grants to local businesses to sell healthy and affordable food in areas with limited food access.
• Passed legislation creating the Massachusetts Food Trust Program (2016) to expand food access.
• Brought the voice of public health and consumer advocates to the table with MassHealth and others through the Alliance for Community Health Integration.
• Passed legislation to create a Special Commission on Local & Regional Public Health (2016).
• Passed the Active Streets Bill as part of the Transportation Bond Bill (2014), and secured commitment of $20M from MassDOT to implement the Complete Streets Program (2014).
• Established the $60M Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) in healthcare cost containment legislation.

MPHA’s priorities are chosen to have maximum impact on improving health, strengthening the organized constituency for public health, and reducing health inequities. Our current policy agenda includes:

• Advocating for effective and equitable measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to address the economic fallout of the pandemic.
• Addressing core social determinants of health: healthy affordable food, transportation equity, and access to quality, affordable housing.
• Strengthening municipal public health by passing the SAPHE 2.0 Bill.
• Leveraging changes in health care to impact the social determinants of health through work with Accountable Care Organizations and hospitals.
• Supporting funding for lead poisoning prevention and reauthorization of the Prevention & Wellness Trust.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


Massachusetts Public Health Association

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Massachusetts Public Health Association

Board of directors
as of 08/29/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Steve Ridini

Health Resources in Action

Term: 2023 - 2025

Jodie Silverman

DMA Health Strategies

Roeshanna Moore-Evans

Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery Initiative at Harvard University

Neil Maniar

Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences

Stewart Landers

John Snow, Inc. Boston

Clara Chan Farnsworth

Wellington Management Company

Jasmine Naylor

Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers

Tavinder Phull

Mass General Brigham

Steven Ridini

Health Resources in Action

Craig Andrade

Boston University School of Public Health

Chrismery Gonzalez

City of Springfield Health and Human Services

Sarita Hudson

Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts

Dolores Thibault-Munoz

NewVue Communities

Cheryl Bartlett

Greater New Bedford Community Health Center

Daniel Delaney

Delaney Policy Group

Lesly Melendez

Groundwork Lawrence

Bisola Ojikutu

Boston Public Health Commission

Elena Kontogli

Marketing by Mission Consulting

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/16/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian/Asian American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/16/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.