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Hello all,

Welcome to the Massachusetts Health Access Toolkit.

The students of PHR’s National Student Program are united in their commitment to use their medical and public health skills to promote and protect human rights.

However – let’s face it – Massachusetts students are special for a few reasons. First, PHR has a strong foundation in the Bay State: our founders were leaders from the Boston medical community and our headquarters are in Cambridge.  Second, the high concentration of prestigious medical, nursing, and public health schools in Massachusetts mean that more 1/6th of our student members call Massachusetts home, at least for the time being, and are concerned by the health disparities here.

This Toolkit is a response to these students’ request for more information about the link between the right to health and the lived experience of their neighbors in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts students have the opportunity to advocate to improve health access for all Massachusetts residents. The Commonwealth already has strong public health policies that reflect PHR’s core values of health and human rights. However, because of factors like the legacy of segregation in Boston and the rising costs of health care, there is a still lot of work to do to ensure that all Massachusetts residents can reach their highest attainable standard of health regardless of class, race, gender, or neighborhood.

Students who do not live in Massachusetts may also be interested in this Toolkit.  This state’s unprecedented health reform may serve as a model of interest as we tackle health reform on the national level.

In the Massachusetts Health Access Toolkit, you’ll discover our partners – the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the Boston Public Health Commission, and Health Care for All. The Toolkit features our partner’s excellent research about health reform and the impact of social determinants of health in the state. You can explore our suggestions for education and advocacy, identify key Massachusetts health legislation, educate yourself and your peers about health access in Massachusetts, learn how to spark debate within your community, influence leaders to enact change.

We hope that every Toolkit is informative and inspirational. Since this is the first time we’ve created a toolkit specifically for one region of students, we hope that you also find it relevant to your work and your home. We look forward to hearing your feedback, questions, and plans.

All the best,

Hope O’Brien

National Student Program Coordinator

Ella Mahoney

PHR Intern