CITY OF WORCESTER

Public Health and Human Services Committee Meeting

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:03 P.M.

Adjourned: 6:12 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Luis A Ojeda
Vice Chairperson Etel Haxhiaj
Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Luis A. Ojeda Councilor Etel Haxhiaj Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson
 
Also:Chief of Public Facilities Julie A. Lynch Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services Matilde Castiel, M.D. Medical Director of Public Health Michael P. Hirsh, M.D. Deputy Director of Public Health Ian L. Wong Deputy 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/83696810013
Public Health and Human Services Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Public Health and Human Services Committee Zoom Access Code: 836 9681 0013

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 February 13, 2024.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

3.

Communications of the City Manager

3a.

Transmitting informational communication relative to an update on City Councilís request to increase access to free menstrual products. # 8.31A CM December 19, 2023

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda read the item and recognized the following speaker:
1. Magdalene Barjolo, Worcester resident, who spoke in favor of the item

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda recognized the Deputy City Clerk, who provided an overview concerning the statement from Speaker #1.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda recognized the Chief of Public Facilities, who discussed the city-wide building cleaning contract, rolling out 17 menstrual product dispensers, and daily monitoring of menstrual product dispensers.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda spoke concerning how other municipalities have moved forward with similar initiatives and then recognized the Chief of Public Facilities, who discussed the importance of having free menstrual products available to the public, strategies other local programs who provide free menstrual products use, and the cost to consider if the initiative is utilized accordingly.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who spoke concerning which facilities were chosen to pilot the program and the timeline for expanded to new, additional locations.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda recognized the Chief of Public Facilities, who discussed the differences between the current program and the new program initiative and estimated cost, which would come out of Department of Public Health and Human Serviceís operating budget.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda recognized Councilor Mero-Carlson, who spoke concerning clarification as to which facilities are considered seasonal facilities, as well as which department Recreation Worcester belongs to with the Chief of Public Facilities and the Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager establish a plan to ensure menstrual products are secured at each of the Recreation Worcester summer camp sites.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be placed on file.

Recommend File on a roll call of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager establish a plan to ensure menstrual products are secured at each of the Recreation Worcester summer camp sites.

3b.

Transmitting informational communication relative to an update concerning data and statistics collected relative to the locations of where overdoses associated with opiates are occurring in the City. # 8.18B CM November 14, 2023

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda read the item and recognized the Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services, who provided an overview of the affect substance use abuse and its stigma has on the community, the importance of trauma informed care, strategies used to increase harm reduction through AIDS Project Worcester, receiving opioid remediation dollars for recovery services, the Department of Public Healthís maternal health office operations, and fair housing.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda spoke relative to the positive impact agencies and schools have concerning the item and what community outreach programs are implemented in the schools and summer camps with the Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who spoke concerning medically assisted treatments (MAT) and the accessibility to those treatments with the Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda recognized Councilor Mero-Carlson, who spoke with the Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services concerning the two Districts with the highest reported overdoses and its correlation to the homeless population.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who discussed the importance of interim solutions for unhoused populations and understanding that the absence of overdose deaths does not indicate individuals are receiving the services needed in the community.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request Standing Committee on Public Health and Human Services meet jointly with the Board of Health to receive a presentation by Dr. Brandon Marshall, at its next meeting, relative to overdose prevention centers/safe injection sites.

Chairperson Councilor Ojeda moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be placed on file.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request Standing Committee on Public Health and Human Services meet jointly with the Board of Health to receive a presentation by Dr. Brandon Marshall, at its next meeting, relative to overdose prevention centers/safe injection sites.