Berkshire Public Health Alliance

The Berkshire Public Health Alliance is a collaboration among 26 Berkshire and neighboring communities that have signed an Inter-Municipal Agreement with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission as the fiscal host, to provide the opportunity, but not the obligation for member communities to share grants, professional staff, and public health services and programs. The mission of the Alliance is to improve the delivery of public health services in the region and thereby improve the overall health and well-being of Berkshire residents.

The Alliance was established by Berkshire County Boards of Health Association members and staff working together to create this opportunity to access professional staff and grants that are not available to or practical for individual communities. Participation in Alliance grants is always voluntary.

The Berkshire Public Health Alliance is supported by funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and user fees. The Alliance was established in the fall of 2011 by the 22 Berkshire municipalities of Adams, Alford, Becket, Clarksburg, Dalton, Egremont, Florida, Great Barrington, Hancock, Lanesborough, Mt. Washington, New Marlborough, North Adams, Peru, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, and Windsor.

Since then, the communities of Cheshire, Pittsfield, Middlefield, and New Ashford have joined the Alliance. Recently Alliance initiatives have grown to include Substance Use Disorders, Food Safety, and Equity projects.

Alliance Latest News

Berkshire County Flu Surveillance

BCBOHA Public Health Emergency Preparedness After Action Report/Improvement Plan (AAR/IP)
BCBOHA staff completed an AAR/IP from approximately December 2021-May 2022 that covers the initial phase of the Berkshire public health response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. For the full report, click BCBOHA Pandemic AAR-IP

Upcoming Trainings: Please follow the links for more information and registration

DEP Public Water Supply and Private Well Resources
MassDEP Drinking Water Program links & contacts

COVID-19 and Monkeypox Informational Documents
Berkshire Testing Locations
Berkshire Vaccination Locations
Monkeypox 101

Chokesaver Trainings
Chokesaver classes that meet the requirements of the Mass Food Code 105 CMR 590.000 (E) are being scheduled again by the Alliance Public Health Nurses.  Please contact the Berkshire Public Health Alliance at alliancenurse@berkshireplanning.org.

Alliance FDA Program Online Permitting
The Alliance again has an FDA grant to provide communities with the opportunity to join the Alliance online permitting and inspection program. Thirteen Alliance communities have already taken advantage of this program. Please contact us for more information at alliance@berkshireplanning.org

Board of Health (BOH) Guides
These BOH Job Aids include checklists and reminders for many BOH tasks and responsibilities such as food and camp inspections. They also include COVID guidance for businesses, tips on conducting remote inspections and ways to meet Open Meeting Law requirements. If you don’t see what you are looking for, ask. We are always looking for new Job Aids to add to our growing list.

Public Health Nursing Services
The Public Health Nursing program provides member communities and others with access to comprehensive, professional Public Health Nursing services. Alliance Public Health Nursing provides wellness programming, flu and other vaccination clinics, isolation and quarantine management, TB treatment, disease screenings and disease investigations for those who are challenged by location, mobility, and income. The nurses promote the wellbeing of the community and create partnerships to prevent disease, reduce the effects of chronic diseases, lower premature death rates, and improve quality of life for everyone. In addition, the nurses monitor the MAVEN (Massachusetts virtual epidemiologic network) reporting that municipalities are required to use daily.

Inspectional Services
The Inspectional Services program provides member communities with access to trained, qualified Health Inspectors. Alliance Health Inspectors work under the direction of the municipal Boards of Health to provide environmental health inspections and other required Board of Health services related to permitting and inspections for Title 5 (on-site septic), food establishments, children’s camps, swimming pools, beaches, housing, complaints and more.

Berkshire Overdose Addiction Prevention Collaborative (BOAPC)
The Berkshire Public Health Alliance coordinates this initiative for Berkshire County with support from county cities and towns and service agencies. With funding support provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the state legislature, and additional sources, BOAPC has developed and implemented local policies, practices, systems and environmental changes to prevent the misuse of substances, prevent or reduce unintentional deaths and non-fatal hospital poisonings associated with substance use disorders and increase the capacity of municipalities to deal with this growing problem. Home – BOAPC

LOOKING FOR LOCAL SERVICES TO START YOU, OR SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT, ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY? CLICK HERE

This effort builds upon the ongoing work being done in the communities by partners to this effort. Key partners include Rural Recovery South County Center, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Railroad Street Youth Project, The Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office, Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, the South County Opioid Working Group, Berkshire Health Systems, The Brien Center, municipal leaders and officials in all 32 Berkshire County towns, along with numerous treatment providers, recovery resources, community organizations, educational institutions, medical and mental health practitioners, first responders, people in recovery and individual community members alike.

This effort will implement the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) agency’s Strategic Prevention Framework. This Framework contains 5 steps: 1.) Assessment of needs, resources to address the problem and gaps in service delivery; 2.) Mobilization of existing resources or capacity building to address gaps; 3.) Development of a comprehensive plan that identifies strategies; 4.) Implementation of strategies to prevent the misuse or abuse of opioids, prevent or reduce unintentional deaths and non-fatal hospital events associated with opioid poisonings; 5.) Evaluation.

Opioid misuse continues to be a growing problem in Berkshire County, along with the rest of the nation.  This collaborative continues to serve as a vital, proactive partner in addressing the crisis, increasing our prevention, protection and public awareness efforts, and bringing together the rich network of community members dedicated to making the Berkshires thrive.

Food Safety
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission’s Public Health Program and the Berkshire Public Health Alliance are working together to improve food safety in the region by supporting communities in joining the FDA Voluntary Program Standards, completing food safety self-assessments, accessing advanced Food Safety trainings, joining the Alliance online permitting system, and working regionally towards meeting all nine FDA Voluntary Retail Program Standards. All Alliance Food Inspectors meet the rigorous FDA Food Inspector Standardization Certification. For more information and to access services, contact alliance@berkshireplanning.org

FDA Recalls and Enforcement Reports
Boards of Health and Food Establishments an sign up to receive the daily FDA Recalls and Enforcement Reports. There are ways to select the types of reports you want to receive. For more information Enforcement Reports | FDA

 Facility “Greening” Guides.  Feel free to reproduce and distribute:
Green Cleaning for Food Service Establishments
Green Practices Guide
Energy & Water Checklists

 Berkshire Public Health Alliance 1 Fenn Street, Suite #201 Pittsfield, MA 01201, 413-442-1521 ext# 60; Fax: 413-442-1523 alliance@berkshireplanning.org

Last updated: September 15, 2022