The Public Health Institute of Western MA (PHIWM) incorporates health policy in our coalition building initiatives in order to ensure the sustainability of outcomes and impact.

Advocacy Goals

  • Increase community awareness of “social determinants of health”; how where we live, work, play impacts health;
  • Build a broad-based coalition to work towards eliminating or reducing barriers to basic human needs that create health differences between populations.  Provide a voice and a vehicle for participation by the people most impacted by policies that either provide opportunity or barriers.
  • Educate policymakers about critical local public health issues.
  • Provide partners and community members with the latest data, updates on key public health issues and opportunities to take action.
  • Help local health departments communicate the value of local public health with their own policymakers.

PHIWM engages in policy advocacy at the state and local level in food systems, the built environment, neighborhoods and housing, tobacco (and marijuana) access, casino mitigation, air pollution, energy, climate change, and access to healthcare.

In addition to our ongoing policy priorities, PHIWM’s budding policy agenda includes increasing treatment options for substance use disorder and mental health in western MA, policies around youth mental health, and people with disabilities.


Current Policy Efforts

We are currently developing a new policy agenda. Stay tuned for more information!


We are currently updating this portion of our website. Stay tuned for more!

  • 2019 Increased funding for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention
  • 2019 Funding of Regional Transit Authorities
  • 2019 Updated School Wellness Policies for Springfield Public Schools and Square One
  • 2019 Age Friendly City designation for Springfield
  • 2018 Tobacco 21 legislation (Springfield and statewide)
  • 2017 Mass Food Trust funded at $1 million.
  • 2017 Springfield adopts Strong, Healthy Just: Climate Action & Resilience Plan.
  • 2012-2017 Springfield and Holyoke Public School Districts implement Green Cleaning practices to prevent asthma exacerbation.
  • 2015 Springfield City Council passes a Resolution to adopt the Complete Streets Plan for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
  • 2014 Springfield City Council passes Resolution to create a Climate Action Plan.
  • 2014 Springfield City Council passes Zoning Ordinance on 21st Century development supporting healthy community design.
  • 2013 Springfield City Council passes Community Gardening Ordinance.
  • 2012 Holyoke Public School District institutes evidence-based curriculum for adolescent sexual health.
  • 2012 Springfield School Committee institutes policy for distribution of condoms by school nurses and evidence-based curriculum for adolescent sexual health.
  • 2012 Early education and care organizations create policy to discontinue use of fruit and vegetables canned in syrup.
  • 2010 Springfield City Council Resolution establishes Springfield Food Policy Council.
  • 2009 MA Department of Early Education and Care requires tooth brushing in childcare and preschool organizations to prevent childhood cavities.