Unlike most states, Massachusetts does not deliver public health services through county governments. Instead, local health agencies are largely responsible for protecting their own communities from infectious disease outbreaks, environmental hazards, and even terrorism.
Recognizing that many communities lacked the staff and resources to respond to major disasters, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) divided the state into seven emergency preparedness regions in 2003 to shore up local public health infrastructure. Each region currently receives federal funding from MDPH through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Cambridge Public Health Department coordinates planning and response activities for Emergency Preparedness Region 4b, which comprises 27 communities that form a crescent around Boston. These communities have a combined population of 980,000.
In 2004, the Cambridge Public Health Department received a grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) to become one of eight Advanced Practice Centers for Emergency Preparedness in the nation. The grant was awarded in recognition of the department's leadership in building partnerships with neighboring communities to respond to emergencies and to further public health initiatives. The department's NACCHO demonstration project, which ended in September 2009, focused on developing regional strategies for strengthening public health preparedness among communities that lack formal county or district governments.
Region 4b Communities