The Cambridge Public Health Department (CPHD) protects and promotes the health of everyone in Cambridge, particularly those who are most vulnerable, through services, information, policies, and regulations. CPHD is an innovative and high- performing organization. Under the department’s leadership, Cambridge was one of six communities awarded the inaugural Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize in 2013, and we continue to be active participants in the RWJF Prize Winning Communities Network. CPHD has been nationally accredited since 2018 by the Public Health Accreditation Board, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the continuous quality improvement of public health departments. 


Chart outlining the components that contribute to community health, which are access to recreation, healthy foods, medical services, transportation, affordable and quality housing, economic opportunities, neighborhood cohesion, community safety, environmental quality, and sustainable development practices.


CPHD approaches its work from a Social Determinants of Health framework. Social determinants are the conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. They include Economic Stability, Education, Neighborhood and Built Environment and Racism. These determinants result in disparities in health status, risk factors, or health outcomes that disproportionately impact vulnerable populations including people of color, non-English speakers, and immigrants.

The department’s main focus areas are population health; communicable disease prevention and control; emergency preparedness; environmental health; epidemiology; regulatory enforcement; and school health. The department also has the legal authority to make and enforce public health regulations within the city of Cambridge.

Additional public health services are available through Cambridge Health Alliance, an academic community health system committed to providing high-quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. The CHA system includes two hospitals, a network of primary care and specialty practices, the CHA Foundation, the Institute for Community Health, and the Cambridge Public Health Department.

Updated: September 4, 2022