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East Longmeadow selects Board of Health members

Date: 3/9/2017

EAST LONGMEADOW – The town of East Longmeadow has a new Board of Health.

    The board has three members.

    “We probably got about seven applicants [for the Board of Health] and out of those seven these three were selected,” Health Director Aimee Petrosky told Reminder Publications.

    The three members are Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo, a former OB/GYN who left her medical career to pursue a second one in public health after getting her MPH from Harvard, Dr. Kevin Hinchey, an internist at Baystate Medical, and Karen Robitaille, a nurse who has been the Health and Safety Director for Northampton Public Schools since 2006. Robitaille is also the program director for the Northampton Prevention Coalition, which works to reduce substance abuse by minors in the city of Northampton.

    The East Longmeadow Board of Health was established on November 2, 2016.
    While the Board is still in its infancy, the members are getting a lot done for the town. They have finished an Action Document that outlines priorities for East Long Meadow for the next two years and are developing plans for prevention and outreach as well as policy regulation and review.

    According to Petrosky, such partnerships could be with the schools in the area, local businesses under the jurisdiction of the Board of Health, and the police department.

    Prior to the Board of Health being established, the Board of Health for East Longmeadow was the former Board of Selectmen of East Longmeadow. The change was necessitated due to East Longmeadow going from a Board of Selectmen to a Town Council, which was why a Board of Health was needed for the town.

    “These three individuals and their diverse background are going to offer East Longmeadow an opportunity to really expand and exceed the services we have been giving the town up until now,” said Petrosky. “I can speak for myself, it’s an exciting time to be in Public Health in East Longmeadow and I think they [the Board of Health] would express the same sentiment.”

    The last thing the Board of Health wants, however, is to be known for just working with food. While it’s something the Board of Health will be doing, it won’t be the only thing.

    “A lot of people are under the assumption that the majority of the work we do revolves around food inspections, but there’s a significant amount of program areas that the Health Department is responsible for,” said Petrosky. “That includes monitoring air quality, animal control, body art, disease case management.”

    According to Petrosky, other areas under the jurisdiction of the Board of Health include housing, nuisance control, recreational swimming areas, vaccine management, emergency preparedness, tanning establishments, and wells.

    “It is a wide range of responsibilities that we’re statutorily required to participate in,” said Petrosky. 

    The Board of Health meets once a month, sometimes more as needed, but this enables all three members to continue their current work in the field of public health and still serve the community of East Longmeadow. Petrosky also meets with the Chair of the Board of Health on a separate basis.

    “The chair is Dr. Sarah Perez McAdoo, her and I meet a little bit more often so we can keep things kind of moving between our regularly scheduled meetings,” said Petrosky.

    The Board of Health also has its own mission statement, which can be found on the East Longmeadow website.