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Cambridge Awarded CityHealth Gold Ranking for Advancing Robust Public Health Policies

Honored for focusing on the social circumstances that contribute to health

May 26, 2021

The City of Cambridge has received a Gold medal rating from CityHealth for its robust action and development of innovative policy solutions to protect and promote the health and well-being of all of its residents.
Each year, CityHealth, a national initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, awards the 40 largest U.S. cities Gold, Silver and Bronze medals based on the strength and number of policies they have in place to improve people’s day-to-day quality of life, well-being and health. Last year, CityHealth opened the opportunity to small and mid-sized cities as part of an opt-in pilot program. Cambridge self-reported its 2020 public health policies in the mid-sized city category well before the City’s successful response to COVID-19 pandemic.
“A healthy, vibrant city means so much more than access to doctors and hospitals. I am proud of the work we have done to provide affordable housing, safe streets, a top-notch education and so much more to make the City of Cambridge a strong model of public health protections,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.
“As both Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Cambridge and CEO of the Cambridge Health Alliance, I am proud of the work we have done to connect community health with quality, affordable healthcare. A commitment to understanding and improving the conditions under which people live, work and play is why Cambridge has typically been recognized as forward thinking and innovative in its health policies,” said Dr. Assaad Sayah.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of smaller health departments in addressing health issues in our cities and towns.  This national recognition speaks to the longstanding commitment of our city's leadership, the invaluable contributions of our local partners, and the resolve of the health department staff with shaping the policies that impact the quality of life of all residents in Cambridge,” said Claude A. Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer.
“During a year of extraordinary challenges due to COVID-19, the Cambridge community demonstrated its strength by coming together to protect and support one another. This gold medal award is testament to our resilience and our city’s unwavering commitment to the health and safety of our residents,” said Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui.
Of the nine policy categories on which CityHealth bases its ratings, Cambridge received a Gold ranking for the following, as well as an overall rank of Gold:
  • Affordable housing
  • Complete streets 
  • Safer alcohol sales
  • Smoke-free indoor air
  • Tobacco 21 (tobacco control policies)
  • High-quality, accessible pre-kindergarten
Cambridge also received a Silver rank for Earned sick leave.

The opt-in pilot provided CityHealth with a way to test the program and make it more available to other leadership cities on a voluntary basis. CityHealth invited Cambridge as one of the pilot cities because of its reputation as an innovator in public health as well as its designation as a nationally accredited public health department. In 2013, Cambridge was also honored with the inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Prize. In 2018, Cambridge Public Health Department became one of the first nationally accredited health departments in Massachusetts as recognized by the Public Health Accreditation Board.


Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer

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