PVPC establishes shared public health nurse program for Hampden County
SPRINGFIELD – The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PCPV) is pleased to announce the establishment of the Hampden County Shared Public Health Nurse Assistance program. Funding for this program has been provided by the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance through its Community Innovation Challenge Grant Program.
This program utilizes and strengthens existing capacities and offers applicant communities public health nursing services they would not otherwise be able to provide, including public health education, disease surveillance and reporting on MAVEN (Massachusetts Virtual Epidemiologic Network), and other public health nursing services.
Angela Kramer, R.N. M.S. serves as the part-time shared nurse within this program and works out of the Town of Ludlow’s Board of Health office. Kramer provides assistance to participating municipalities with the goal of enhancing the level of public health service where limited capacity exists.
PVPC has a long-standing relationship working with the Hampden County Health Coalition, which is composed of municipal health departments and Board of Health professionals from 19 Hampden County communities. Through this collaboration, it became evident that Board of Health and health department capacity differs widely among municipalities in Hampden County. Many of the area’s smaller communities have no staff or rely upon contract personnel to provide services on an “as needed” basis. Larger municipalities may have more full-time staff, but still face challenges associated with limited staff time and budgets.
Currently, eight Hampden County communities are participating in this program, including the cities of Holyoke and West Springfield and the towns of Blandford, East Longmeadow, Granville, Ludlow, Palmer, and Southwick. As the program continues to develop, PVPC and the steering committee overseeing the Hampden County Shared Public Health Nurse Assistance program hope to expand its services to include other municipalities.
For more information, please contact Joshua Garcia, PVPC Municipal Services coordinator, at 781-6045.
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