Role of the Board of Health

"Under Massachusetts General Laws, Boards of Health are held responsible for disease prevention and control, health and environmental protection, as well as promoting a healthy and safe community. Boards of Health serve as the local arm of both the Mass. Department of Public Health and the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection. To fulfill their duties, they develop, implement and enforce health policies, oversee inspections to maintain minimum standards for sanitation in housing and food service, and assure that the basic health needs of their community are being met." As such, the Board of Health is bound by federal and state law to enforce all laws and regulations of the federal government as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Some of the voluminous  laws/regulations can be found in Massachusetts General Laws, including, but not limited to Chapters 40, 41, 71, 94, 111, 129, 147, 270 as well as the Code of Massachusetts Regulations Sections105 and 333, to name a few. Much of the guidance for addressing the Board of Health's responsibility for enforcement of  mandated laws and regulations is found in the Manual of Laws and Regulations Relating to Board's of Health.

Certainly, the sheer magnitude of responsibility faced by local Board's of Health may seem a daunting task, but I have been fortunate to have had the time necessary to become extensively familiar with most. I was also very fortunate - during my first year on the Board of Health - to have received good mentoring from senior Board members who were in their last year of elective office. The learning never stops however, as more laws and regulations are written each year that become additional components of the Board's responsibilities.