CITY OF WORCESTER

Public Health and Human Services Committee Meeting

Monday, May 23, 2022

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:30 P.M.

Adjourned: 7:01 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Sarai Rivera
Vice Chairperson Morris A Bergman
Councilor Etel Haxhiaj
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Sarai Rivera Vice Chairperson Councilor Morris A Bergman Councilor Etel Haxhiaj
 
Also:Director of Public Health Karyn Clark Commissioner of Health and Human Services Matilde Castiel Public Health Medical Director Mike Hirsh Worcester Together Housing Coalition Co-Chair Gina Plata-Nino Strategic Manager Karina Scott REACH Program Manager Ydalia Heimann Chief of Community Health Brendan Keenan Assistant City Clerk Clare Robbins, clerk
 
1.

Virtual Attendee Call-In Information

1a.

Pursuant to Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 and in order to ensure active, public engagement, the City of Worcester currently allows for both in-person and remote participation at all City Council and Standing Committee meetings. To partake in the meeting, you may attend the meeting in-person within the meeting location, follow the below link to join via Zoom or dial the direct line as indicated.

Public Health and Human Services Committee Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/97379379702
Public Health and Human Services Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Public Health and Human Services Committee Zoom Access Code: 973 7937 9702

Attachments
2.

Approval of the Minutes

2a.

Order- That the City Council Standing Committee of Public Health and Human Services hereby approves the minutes of the Public Health and Human Services Committee meeting on March 29, 2022.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and moved to adopt the order. Order adopted.

3.

Communications of the City Manager

3a.

Transmitting informational communication relative to a presentation by Commissioner of Health & Human Services on updates related to COVID19. # 8.18A CM January 25, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, who discussed concerns and demographic data relative to the increase in COVID-19 cases and vaccinations in the city, the importance of the COVID-19 booster shot, wearing masks indoors and the eligibility for the second COVID-19 booster shot.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera discussed the low number of COVID-19 positive cases in public housing with the Commissioner of Health and Human Services.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who discussed the hospitalization rates in the BIPOC community, infection rates among the WPS students and teachers population, and concerns relative to overcrowding issues and food insecurity with the Commissioner of Health and Human Services.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized Councilor Bergman, who discussed the policy regarding the eligibility to get the COVID-19 booster shot, which masks provide the highest protection, the availability and provision of N95 masks, an information campaign for the vaccine and booster shots, and long-term side effects of COVID-19 with the Commissioner of Health and Human Services and the Strategic Partnership Manager.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the Strategic Partnership Manager, who discussed data relative to the efficacy of COVID-19 booster.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera moved to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File

3b.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the upcoming launch of the 2021 Greater Worcester Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). # 9.18A CM October 19, 2021

In Committee January 25, 2022 - Held In Committee March 1, 2022 - Held In Committee March 29, 2022 - Held

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and moved to take the item up with Item #3c.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the Director of Public Health and the Strategic Partnership Manager, who discussed the updates to the CHIP and CHA web page and working with the DPH think tank to develop a marketing plan for the CHIP.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized REACH Program Manager, who discussed how the CHIP and REACH are working together to address food insecurity in the community, efforts to promote the program and identify non-profit organizations to become SNAP outreach partners, whether there is a threshold for the program, donations for food pantries and community refrigerators, and nutrition standards strategy.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the Worcester Together Housing Coalition Co-Chair, who discussed demographic data concerning people who live in poverty in Massachusetts, the trend of food insecurity by race/ethnicity in MA, SNAP demographics, the task forceís mission, vision and approach to address issues relative to food insecurity and accomplishments by the task force.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized Councilor Bergman, who discussed advocacy to change the requirements for SNAP benefit applicants with the Worcester Together Housing Coalition Co-Chair as a means of increasing accessibility to the program, why the SNAP program has low participants, free legal services for people whose SNAP applications are denied or benefits are reduced and whether fresh food sources are impacted by seasonal changes with the Worcester Together Housing Coalition Co-Chair.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera then discussed the misconception and misinformation relative to application for social programs such as SNAP and racial stigma created towards black and brown people.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera brought forth the following Chairmanís Resolution: That the City Council of the City of Worcester does hereby support the urgent need for the state legislature to adopt S.2811/H.4697 ďAn Act establishing the Massachusetts hunger-free campus initiative."

Chairperson Councilor Rivera moved to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold.

Chairman's Orders

That the City Council of the City of Worcester does hereby support the urgent need for the state legislature to adopt S.2811/H.4697 ďAn Act establishing the Massachusetts hunger-free campus initiative."

3c.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the Worcester Division of Public Health's Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Project. # 9.18B CM October 19, 2021

In Committee January 25, 2022 - Held In Committee March 1, 2022 - Held In Committee March 29, 2022 - Held

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and moved to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold.

4.

Miscellaneous Item

4a.

Order of Councilor Sarai Rivera - Request Standing Committee on Public Health and Human Services meet quarterly with the Department of Public Health and the Board of Health in an effort to discuss public health issues within the city, including but not limited to the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Project. # 10f CC March 1, 2022

In Committee March 29, 2022 - Held

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and moved to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold.