Previous Projects

Projects

Age Friendly Berkshires

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) staff will continue to build upon and expand the work of the Berkshire Age-Friendly Vision 2020 Task Force. The goal is to create an age-friendly county.

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Age Friendly Berkshires Covid-19 Outreach & Support

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) Age Friendly Berkshires will be working with AFB Committees, municipalities, regional nonprofits and businesses to support residents thru the Covid-19 pandemic, by coordinating and connecting residents to existing or new services and supports in the community.

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Age Friendly Berkshires Land Use Planning

Overall, current housing stock and residential neighborhood fabric do not adequately support senior residents as they age in most Berkshire County municipalities. Many seniors are "over-housed" in large family-sized homes, without more appropriate alternatives in their communities. This project proposes to address some of the zoning shortfalls that exacerbate this issue, and to encourage growth that follows the Massachusetts Sustainable Development Principles. Model bylaws, using the Smart Growth/Smart Energy Toolkit and other best practices will be drafted. BRPC will then work intensively with three municipalities (Egremont, Sheffield and North Adams) of varying population sizes, needs and resources, to implement up to two regulations each to encourage the production of sustainable housing to meet the needs of older adults aging in the community. This project will be easily adaptable to other municipalities.

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Age Friendly Berkshires Loneliness & Social Isolation

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) under contract with BTI for Age Friendly Berkshires will be working with AARP MA to hold a Community Conversation on Loneliness & Social Isolation on Thursday, May 28 from 10-12 via ZOOM.

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Age Friendly Berkshires Transit Options for Elders

This project will allow Age Friendly Berkshires to 1) Building awareness among residents in a 6-town sub-region (Becket, Washington, Dalton, Hinsdale, Windsor and Peru) about available transit options for elders, the disabled and other non-drivers 2) Survey residents and municipal leaders about their own/their town’s transit needs 3) Engaging residents/Towns in co-creating a solution(s).

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Age Friendly Berkshires Volunteer Fair

This grant from AARP, will support Volunteerism as a means to increase community connections, health and well-being for participants; to match potential volunteers with local non-profits and municipalities who have open positions that need to be filled; to make better use of nonprofit networks and regional media while increasing community connections; to strengthen existing Volunteer databases; to train potential volunteer or municipal board members to serve their communities.

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Age Friendly Berkshires Website

This grant from AARP, Massachusetts will enable Age Friendly Berkshires to create a dynamic, user-friendly website.

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Berkshire County Business Owners Education Disaster Response

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) and the Berkshire Medical Reserves Corp. will work together to recruit new members into the Berkshire Medical Reserve Corps and to educate business owners in Berkshire County about their possible roles during a disaster response. BRPC will host a Leadership Breakfast at the Hotel on North for potential new members, with a business resiliency expert as a guest speaker. Participating businesses and organizations will also learn about major disaster risks in Berkshire County, and will learn about local emergency response groups that they can become part of.

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Berkshire HIV Engagement Program

The Berkshire County HIV Engagement Program (B-HIVE) builds upon existing outreach networks, prevention and harm reduction programs to coordinate and implement prevention messaging, strategic peer/street outreach that promotes HIV prevention, testing, and connections to care.

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Berkshire Public Health Alliance

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) is serving as the Host Fiscal Agent for the Berkshire Public Health Alliance. The Berkshire Public Health Alliance is a group of 24 municipalities that signed an Intermunicipal Agreement enabling participating municipalities to share public health staff, programs and services to improve the delivery of public health services through regional cooperation.

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Berkshire Public Health Alliance Shared Services

This grant is designed to encourage municipalities to share public health services and build toward a more comprehensive set of shared public health services. It will allow the Berkshire Public Health Alliance to hire a full-time Public Health Nurse, an Administrative Manager and at least a part-time Inspector.

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COVID After Action Strategic Planning for Western MA

BRPC Public Health staff, funded by the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) will conduct a strategic planning process to determine the scope of a COVID After Action Report (AAR) for Western Mass responders. BRPC will work with the WRHSAC Pan Flu/Planning Subcommittee, as well as with targeted respondents in order to develop a plan and scope of services for the AAR consultant.

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COVID-19 Emergency Funds for Municipalities

Emergency funding for COVID-19 public health response. Funding is for the 24 Berkshire Public Health Alliance municipalities and five unaffiliated communities.

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COVID-19 Regional Public Health Nursing

Emergency funding for COVID-19 public health nursing.

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COVID-19 and Influenza Vaccine Uptake Initiative

This project will allow the BRPC Public Health Program to increase vaccination among local residents who are elderly, disabled, home bound, or otherwise unable to travel, to receive their vaccines for COVID-19 and influenza either through home visits from our Public Health Nurses or through assistance with transportation to vaccination sites. The project will also formalize a sustainable relationship with our partners so that these services can be provided in the future as well.

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Children in Disasters Phase II

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will aid under this project to prepare organizations to reunite children with their families in emergencies. Phase II will focus on outreach and education regarding the Plan.

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Comprehensive Opioid Stimulant and Substance Abuse Program

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and Partners will participate in technical assistance meetings with Northampton Health Department to engage in capacity building, infrastructure, education co-learning, and program development.

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County Health Rankings Event

This project will allow the County Health Initiative (CHI) to build capacity, and to sponsor an event corresponding with the release of the 2019 County Health Rankings.

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Emergency Shelters for Special Populations

In previous response exercises, it was reported that there was a gap in first responders' ability to meet the access and functional needs of the population. This gap has also been identified in several real-world responses. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will focus on meeting access and functional needs of the population in everyday incidents and large-scale incidents such as MCI or large-scale disaster response.

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FDA Food Safety Best Practices for Retail Inspections

BRPC staff and Berkshire Public Health Alliance inspectors will provide a research report on best practices and strategies for small, rural communities in meeting FDA Standard 3 (utilization of HACCP principles to control risk factors in a retail food inspection program). BRPC staff, inspectors and members will complete a model set of plans, policies and procedures that consider local risk factors for Alliance members to adopt which will meet Standard 3. BRPC will work with one or more communities to modify, adopt and implement written policies that meet Standard 3 and update their online assessment information.

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FDA Food Safety—National FDA Conference

The Berkshire Public Health Alliance Senior Inspector to attend a national FDA Conference on Food Safety to be held in Denver, CO.

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FDA Standardization Services

The Berkshire Public Health Alliance Senior Inspector to provide oversight and mentorship to the Franklin County Cooperative Services Inspector.

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Food Assessment

The Berkshire Public Health Alliance, as part of its food protection program, will reassess the food protection programs of at least two previously assessed municipalities, and assess at least one new municipality, in conjunction with the FDA's Retail Standards Grant Program.

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Food Protection Assessments

The Berkshire Public Health Alliance, as part of its food protection program, will continue to assist communities in self-assessments of their food protection program and provide technical assistance on meeting Standards 2 and 7 of the FDA Federal Standards.

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Food Safety Comprehensive Strategic Plan - Egremont

The Alliance members and staff will conduct a comprehensive assessment of its current food safety program, including strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; identify objectives and priorities; develop a list of doable new projects and goals and then outline the needed resources, realistic timelines, reports, milestones, and collaborations.

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Food Safety Retail Standards

These grants will allow the assessment or re-assessments of a Berkshire County municipality in accordance with FDA Food Safety Standards.

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Food Safety Retail Standards Re-assessment - Adams

Berkshire Public Health Alliance staff will assist the Town of Adams in completing a re-assessment of all nine FDA Retail Program Standards and developing a work-plan for any missing elements.

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Food Safety Retail Standards Re-assessment - Egremont

Berkshire Public Health Alliance staff will assist the Town of Egremont in completing a re-assessment of all nine FDA Retail Program Standards and developing a work-plan for any missing elements.

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Food Safety Retail Standards Re-assessment - Sheffield

Berkshire Public Health Alliance staff will assist the Town of Sheffield in completing a re-assessment of all nine FDA Retail Program Standards and developing a work-plan for any missing elements.

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Food Standards Training

The Berkshire Public Health Alliance to continue to work both one-on-one with municipalities, as well as offering training, to allow Berkshire County Boards of Health to meet Standards 2 and 7 of the FDA Food Standards.

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From Parent to Advocate: Webinar

A webinar that will be accessible on the Berkshire Overdose Addiction Prevention Collaborative's (BOAPC) website. This webinar will teach parents how to become an advocate for their child with substance use disorder.

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HIV Capacity Development & Planning

The purpose of the Berkshire County Community Engagement & Response Program is to work with the existing emergency preparedness coalition and newly-engaged community partners, including people living with HIV (PLWH) and those who are actively working with injection drug users (IDU), to do a series of community workshops, design a blood-borne pathogen (HIV) community response plan, and to test that plan at an exercise. This HIV community response plan will reflect Berkshire County's unique geographical and demographical needs and the specific needs of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) and active drug users; it will also be used in future years as a template upon which to build a more comprehensive blood-borne pathogen outbreak community response plan.

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Healing Communities Study - Pittsfield Site

The HEALing Communities Study (HCS) aims to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths by 40% during the 18 months of the study through implementation of Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) across health care, behavioral health, justice, and other community settings by: Increasing naloxone (Narcan) distribution and overdose prevention education Increasing access to medication for opioid use disorder Improving opioid prescribing safety From July 2022 through December 2023, a coalition of diverse community stakeholders is meeting to review local data and resources, consider how to best apply the EBPs locally, then continually evaluate their implementation and impact.

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Health Boards Best Practices

This project will allow the Berkshire Public Health Alliance to create templates and standards for board of health best practices to support uniform, efficient and effective board of health offices. The Alliance will work with several smaller towns to implement practices.

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Massachusetts Health Officers Association Technical Assistance

This grant will allow the Berkshire Public Health Alliance to provide technical assistance to small Boards of Health in areas where they are struggling. Several focus groups will be held with Boards of Health to determine areas that are challenging, materials will be gathered into a guide and in-person field assistance will be provided.

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Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will research existing guidance, plans and practices and compile information most relevant to establishing a Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPI) in Western Massachusetts to slow the spread of illness.

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Opioid Affected Youth Initiative

The four-county Western Massachusetts collaboration will transform the systems serving emerging adults to prevent opioid misuse, address the needs of young adults currently addicted to opioids, and increase their health outcomes as they transition into adulthood.

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Opioid Death Reduction

Boston Medical Center (BMC) was awarded $89 million in funding to lead a research study with the goal of reducing opioid deaths by 40% in some of the most heavily impacted Massachusetts communities. BMC’s study is part of a bold, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid crisis. The approach of BMC's study will be to partner with 16 communities across the state to test the impact of a community-engaged intervention with an integrated set of evidence-based practices delivered across healthcare, behavioral health, justice, and other community-based settings. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, via the Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative, is the fiscal agent and the coordinator of the Pittsfield site.

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Opioid Prevention Northern Berkshire Region

This funding will be used to support the Berkshire Opioid Addiction Prevention Collaborative’s post-overdose engagement work in the Northern Berkshire region.

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Opioid Response in Rural Communities

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, through the Berkshire Public Health Alliance is coordinating the Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative. The Berkshire Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative will develop and implement local policies, practices, systems and environmental changes to prevent the misuse or abuse 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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Outdoor Recreation and Exercise Equipment

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will develop an accessible walking path behind the Dalton Senior Center Council on Aging Building. BRPC will also purchase ADA compliant seating, chess tables and outdoor exercise equipment for adults to use. These amenities are expected to increase use of this park by all ages.

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Overdose Data to Action

The Berkshire Post-Overdose Program (BPOP) aims to send out field teams consisting of EMS and Peer Support Workers to provide outreach to those who have recently experienced an overdose and/or are at heightened risk for future overdose. These visits will include a wellness check, connection to naloxone, and linkage to recovery, harm reduction, and/or treatment resources that the person may be interested in.

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Overdose Data to Action Pilots

This grant supports post-overdose engagement pilots in Northern Berkshire and Pittsfield, as well as comprehensive harm reduction policy work county-wide.

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Peer Technical Assistance Network Summit

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) will participate in the Peer Technical Assistance Network Summit related to aging population.

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Pittsfield Food Pantry Accessibility

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) Age Friendly Berkshires will be working with the City of Pittsfield Disability Commission and AdLib to assess food pantry sites for accessibility by persons with disabilities and review the transportation network in the neighborhoods in which the pantries are located, with an eye toward improving access to pantries for food-insecure residents.

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Pittsfield Youth Prevention Connection

The Pittsfield Youth Prevention Coalition (PYPC) will establish a substance use prevention and protection collaborative for middle school and high school ages in Central Berkshire County. This initiative is intended to prevent and/or reduce misuse of substances of first use (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, cannabis) among youth and/or the consequences associated with substance use (e.g., driving under the influence, inconsistent enforcement of school chemical health policies).

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Public Health Shared Services

This grant will allow the Berkshire Public Health Alliance to operate more effectively and efficiently by allowing for the hire of a part-time administrative assistant, as well as scheduling software and the expansion of on-line permitting.

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Racial Equity Capacity Building

This contract from the PHIWM covers limited time spent by BRPC full time staff on the Racial Equity Capacity Building assessment and training program facilitated by the Women of Color Health Equity Collective (WOCHEC).

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Regional Food Safety Strategic Plan and Inspections

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is providing funding to the Berkshire Public Health Alliance to develop a five-year strategic plan on improving food safety in Berkshire County, improving the Board of Health Online Permitting program, training on food safety inspectors.

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Regional Food Safety and Inspection

The objective of this program is to create an enhanced regional local regulatory environment for food inspections in nine or more communities through online permitting, standardized forms, policies and procedures, enhanced training of food inspectors and sharing of inspectors.

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Regional Shelter Exercise

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) Training and Exercise Committee has allocated funds to exercise the Regional Shelter Plans adopted last year. There will be exercises coordinated with each of the three Regional Emergency Planning Committees in Berkshire County.

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Root Cause Solutions Exchange

This project, associated with the Rural Vaccination Equity grant, will allow for work on root causes of health inequities. Specifically, this project will provide funding to create a toolkit for municipalities looking to diversify their housing and a checklist for municipalities interested in housing rehab programs.

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Senior Villages

This project will allow BTI/BRPC to study the feasibility of applying the national Village to Village Network model to a low-income, rural population. The project will focus on the north county municipalities of North Adams, Adams, Clarksburg, Florida and Savoy.

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Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteer Training

This project will transition the already developed Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteer (SUV) training developed for the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) and transition it to the more engaging and user-friendly format of Adobe Captivate. The trainings are available on the WRHSAC website.

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Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteer Website Training

This project will transition the already developed Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteer (SUV) training developed for the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council (WRHSAC) and transition it to the more engaging and user-friendly format of Adobe Captivate. The trainings are available on the WRHSAC website.

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Timed Up and Go (Tug) Assessments and Matter of Balance

The Berkshire Public Health Alliance Public Health Nursing Program will offer Timed Up and Go (TUG) testing at flu clinics in the fall, and five Matter of Balance (MOB) classes in public health nursing contracted communities in the Spring.

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Vaccination Exercise Series

The project will conduct an exercise series exploring how to hold public vaccination clinics during a pandemic.  This grant will allow the Public Health Program to review existing Emergency Dispensing Site Plans, conduct a Tabletop exercise in the summer and then hold three or more seasonal flu clinic drills in the fall to test the plan.

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Vaccine Support

These funds are provided to regional entities and municipalities that received flu vaccine from the state or used Commonwealth Medicine flu billing project. These funds will allow the Berkshire Public Health Alliance to buy supplies necessary for large-scale outdoor flu clinics, purchase advertising about the clinics and to pay both logistical and clinical staff.

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