Big Cities Health Coalition released the 6th edition of the Big Cities Health Inventory, a report that provides a snapshot of health outcomes across 26 major cities. This year, the Inventory recognized Boston for its remarkable strides in improving public health outcomes for city residents. In addition to notable decreases in Boston’s diabetes mortality rate, heart disease mortality and cancer mortality, the report included Boston as one of three cities featured in a case study for its efforts to reduce and prevent violence through innovative, trauma-informed approaches.
“Our multi-pronged approach to improving public health throughout the City of Boston is working, and I thank the public health officials, medical personnel in our state-of-the-art institutions and our residents for helping us grow into a stronger, healthier Boston,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh in a press release.
The study praised efforts by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), along with the Boston Police Department and other city agencies, to address and prevent youth violence, and noted that Boston “is beginning to see evidence that this multi-sector approach to violence prevention is having an effect.” Specifically, the Big Cities Health Inventory reported that nonfatal, assault-related gunshots/stabbing and emergency department visits have fallen since 2008. Additionally, from 2011 through the end of 2014, homicide rates have decreased by 16 percent, and overall violent crime has decreased by nine percent.
The Big Cities Health Inventory shows how efforts to tackle violence in the city through a trauma-informed approach have made an impact in communities.
BPHC’s Division of Violence Prevention has historically invested in strategies that prevent violence through engagement with residents and community leaders, skill development for children and youth, training and capacity building among providers, and effective service delivery to individuals who have experienced violence.
In 2012, BPHC received a grant from the Department of Justice for the Defending Childhood Initiative to take a trauma-informed approach to violence prevention.
BPHC and the Boston Police Department worked together to create Partners Advancing Communities Together (PACT), a multidisciplinary, comprehensive service delivery initiative targeting youth at risk for being either the victim or perpetrator of gun violence.
BPHC also partners with Boston Medical Center to implement a case management program for survivors of shootings and stabbings and their family members to ensure that they get needed services to recover from such an event.
The Boston Public Health Commission, the country’s oldest health department, is an independent public agency providing a wide range of health services and programs. It is governed by a seven-member board of health appointed by the Mayor of Boston.