The Berkshire Regional Planning commission serves as the fiduciary agent for Berkshire Public Health Alliance.
CONTACT US: Berkshire Public Health Alliance 1 Fenn Street, Suite #201 Pittsfield, MA 01201, 413-442-1521 ext# 60; Fax: 413-442-1523
Berkshire Public Health Alliance
The Berkshire Public Health Alliance is a collaboration among 22 Berkshire Communities that have signed an Inter-Municipal Agreement to provide professional public health services and programs for the Member communities. The mission of the Alliance is to improve the delivery of public health services and thereby improve the overall health and well-being of Berkshire County residents. The Alliance was established and is supported by the District Incentive Grant Program offered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. It 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. The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission serves as the Host Agency (fiduciary agent) for the alliance. Initial Alliance efforts have concentrated on providing inspectional services and public health nursing services to member municipalities.
Public Health Nursing Services
The Public Health Nursing program seeks to provide member communities with access to comprehensive, professional Public Health Nursing services. The Public Health Nursing provides wellness programming, flu clinics, disease screenings and disease investigations for those who are challenged by location, mobility, and income. The nurses are promoting the wellbeing of the community and creating partnership to prevent disease, reducing the effects of chronic diseases, lowering premature death rates and improving quality of life for many. In addition the nurse monitor the MAVEN (Massachusetts virtual epidemiologic network) reporting that municipalities are required to conduct.
Public Health Inspectional Services
The Inspectional Service program seeks to provide member communities with access to trained, qualified Health Inspectors. Alliance Health Inspectors work under the direction of the municipal Boards of Health to provide technical services. These services are all those required of Boards of Health, including Title V (on-site septic) inspections, food establishment inspections, camp inspections, swimming pool inspections and housing inspections.
Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative (BOAPC)
The Berkshire Public Health Alliance is coordinating the Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative. With funding support provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the state legislature, and additional sources, the BOAPC will develop and implement local policies, practices, systems and environmental changes to prevent the misuse of opioids, prevent or reduce unintentional deaths and non-fatal hospital events associated with opioid poisonings and increase the capacity of municipalities to deal with the growing problem.
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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.
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on behalf of 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 and completing food safety self-assessment along with training and outreach.