Who we are/What we do
The Needham Public Health Department is empowered through the Needham Board of Health by the Massachusetts General Laws to enforce state and local public health and environmental regulations.
The mission of the Department is to prevent disease, promote health, and protect the public health and social well-being of the residents of Needham, especially the most vulnerable. The staff of the Public Health Department pursues this mission through a series of goals and objectives to:
- Efficiently use Town operating budget funds, grant resources, and donations,
- Actively cooperate and collaborate with state and local agencies and community partners,
- Promote evidence-based health practices and data-driven program management, and
- Advocate for policy and regulatory changes that promote health and well-being.
Public Health Nursing
The Public Health Nursing team works work together to provide services such as licensing for summer camps, vaccinations, blood pressure clinics, and health classes, including CPR training, Matter of Balance, Naloxone training, and youth sports concussion protocols. They are very knowledgeable about community services and supports for fuel assistance and domestic violence. They follow up with infectious disease reports (like Lyme, West Nile, or reports of food poisoning) and work with our epidemiologist to track changes in Covid-19 guidance and case counts. They work closely with Needham Public Schools to address the needs of their students. Both nurses can be reached at email@example.com . Program staff: Ginnie Chacon-Lopez, Hanna Burnett, Tiffany Benoit
The Environmental Health team protects the health of residents and visitors in the town of Needham by maintaining a comprehensive program of environmental health services, which includes: perrmitting, inspections, compliance, and enforcement activities; environmental monitoring and prevention activities; and providing outreach/education about environmental health issues. Environmental Health specialists conduct inspections on a regular basis per state/local/Federal laws on the following: food establishments, tobacco vendors, public/semi-public swimming pools, bodywork establishments, disposal of sharps establishments, hotels, etc. Investigations are conducted in response to complaints about the following: housing, lead paint determination/power sanding, food establishments, and general health nuisances (i.e. mosquito pools, pests/rodents, noise, odors, unsanitary conditions). Program staff: Tara Gurge, Sai Palani, Monica Pancare, Pamela Ross-Kung
The Needham Board of Health and its Public Health Division follow laws and guidelines established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to strengthen public health, raise local preparedness, response and recovery capacities, and make community more resilient. In the event of a public health emergency, we work together to prepare and protect the residents of Needham and that requires utilizing various resources, including activation Needham Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). Program staff: Taleb Abdelrahim, Tiffany Benoit
The Needham epidemiologist works closely with the Public Health Nursing team on Covid-19 case tracking, providing data updates to the Board of Health and Joint Committee on Health and Safety, as well as maintaining the Covid-19 dashboard. The epidemiologist analyzes local and statewide data on topics such as mental health, substance use, climate change, health equity, and communicable diseases to guide education for the public and local regulations. Program staff: Julie McCarthy
Substance Use Prevention
Needham Public Health works to prevent substance misuse with all ages. These include substance use prevention education and awareness programs and providing support and resources to Needham residents for navigating substance use and misuse among any age. This work is done through many different grant opportunities and through the great work of different coalitions and community groups.
The Substance Prevention Alliance of Needham (SPAN ) is a community coalition that incorporates a collaborative, data-driven approach to reduce alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use among Needham youth. Students Advocating for Life without Substance Abuse (SALSA) is a health advocacy club at Needham High School. Program staff: Karen Shannon, Monica DeWinter, Karen Mullen, Angi MacDonnell, Vanessa Wronski
The MassCALL3 regional grant was awarded to Needham in June of 2021 to prevent and reduce underage substance use through a comprehensive strategic planning process involving community leaders, municipal staff and residents, prioritizing an equity lens. Needham Public Health Division is the lead agency working with the towns of Dedham, Walpole and Westwood to build prevention capacity across our four-town region. Grant staff: Carol Read, Lydia Cunningham
The Public Health Excellence for Shared Services program promotes and supports the development of inter-municipal shared service agreements to improve local public health capacity. By pooling resources, functions, and expertise, Needham, Dover, and Medfield will be able to improve compliance with their statutory and regulatory mandates and expand the public health services and protection they offer their residents. This program is supported by the Office of Local and Regional Health in the MA Department of Public Health. Grant staff: Kristin Scoble, Kerry Dunnell, Sam Menard,, Thaleia Stampoulidou-Rocha
Needham’s Traveling Meals Program is a fee-based service that provides nutritious meals for our residents in need. This includes residents that are homebound, unable to drive, or those that live alone without the support of family or homecare services that would enable them to purchase or prepare their own daily meals. Program staff: Rebecca Hall
The Needham Public Health Division is striving to achieve accreditation through the national Public Health Accreditation Board. The division, staffed by experienced professionals, a remarkable range of public health services and aims to complete requirements in 2023. Program staff: Lynn Schoeff
Friends of Needham Board of Health
The Friends of the Needham Board of Health perform many invaluable services for the town of Needham. Friends of Needham Board of Health raise and obtain funds for various Health Division programs and activities that aren’t fully supported by federal, state, or local governments. Friends of the BOH also help recruit volunteers for the Traveling Meals Program.
The Needham Biosafety Committee was established by the Board of Health in 2023 and consists of five members, appointed by the Board of Health. The Director of Health and Human Services or his/her designee and a member of the Environmental Health staff sit on this committee, which reviews Biosafety Permit applications. Email for the staff on the committee: firstname.lastname@example.org