What your Public Health Department does for you

COMMUNITY HEALTH

Community Health is a specific discipline within public health that focuses on the maintenance, protection, and improvement of the health status of population groups and communities.  A community’s health status is determined in part by the conditions that exist in the places where we live, learn, work and play.  Also called the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), these factors have an enormous impact in shaping our health and well-being.  SDOH contributes to chronic health conditions as well as health disparities – differences in health outcomes between groups of people.  By working to create changes in policy, practices and systems, community health work aims to eliminate health disparities and improve health outcomes for all by addressing the root causes of inequities.  

WHAT DOES A PUBLIC HEALTH INSPECTOR DO?

Public Health Inspectors are government officials who perform a wide variety of functions. Inspectors are responsible for the performance of technical and inspectional work to promote and protect the environment and the public health of Framingham residents through the enforcement of state and local public health laws, rules, and regulations as well as providing public health education. 

Public health inspectors conduct routine inspections and investigate complaints and concerns that are brought to their attention. During an inspection, public health inspectors conduct a thorough evaluation of the property/business to check for any violations of health codes. During and following an inspection, detailed reports are written and the inspector decides if the establishment is in compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.

Inspections performed include, but are not limited to, food establishments, housing and nuisance complaints, tanning establishments, swimming pools, bathing beaches, recreational camps for children, tobacco retailers, body art, bodywork, marijuana establishments, keeping of animals, private drinking wells, and title 5 (onsite sewage treatment disposal systems).

Performs inspections of food establishments such as restaurants, markets, convenience stores, cottage (residential) kitchens, mobile food establishments, temporary & seasonal food events for compliance with the state sanitary code Inspectors respond and investigate foodborne illnesses and general complaints. 

Conducts housing inspections based on complaints to ensure compliance with State Sanitary Code Article II 105 CMR 410.000 Minimum Standards of Fitness for Human Habitation including enforcement of the Childhood Lead Paint Poisoning Prevention law (CLPPP) when applicable. Inspects rental units and properties in accordance with local regulations.

Inspection reports are generated and issued as well as orders to correct, plan review decisions, demolitions and cases for court proceedings relating to the department. Inspectors initiate court complaints and prosecute cases of non-compliance using administrative and/or judicial procedures.

Inspects the installation of onsite sewage treatment disposal systems and witness system abandonments. Observes operations performed by professional engineers and sanitarians on deep test holes, percolation tests and soil evaluations for septic systems, infiltration and drainage. Generates reports and conducts follow-up when needed.

Conducts percolation tests and water table determination tests for septic systems and drainage.

Reviews and approves construction plans for code requirements and permit applications for food establishments, body art and bodywork establishments, swimming pools - 105 CMR 435.00, septic systems - 310 CMR 15.000, marijuana establishments and private wells.

Responds and investigates complaints related to nuisances such as mosquitoes and rodents.

Serves as a public and environmental health educator to the community.

environmental health

What is Environmental Health?  Environmental Health was defined in a 1989 document by the World Health Organization (WHO) as: Those aspects of human health and disease that are determined by factors in the environment. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. It addresses all human-health-related aspects of the natural environment and the built environment. Environmental health concerns include:

  • Air Quality, including both ambient outdoor air & indoor air quality such as tobacco smoke.
  • Body Art, including tattooing, microblading and permanent makeup.
  • Body Work, a form of therapeutic touching or manipulation of the body by using specialized techniques. 
  • Disaster preparedness & response.
  • Environmental racism wherein certain groups of people can be put at higher risk for environmental hazards, such as air, soil, & water pollution. This often happens due to marginalization, economic and political processes, & ultimately, racism. Environmental racism disproportionately affects different groups globally, however generally the most marginalized groups of any given region/nation.
  • Food safety, including agriculture, transportation, food processing, wholesale & retail distribution and sale.
  • Housing.
  • Childhood lead poisoning prevention.
  • Liquid waste disposal, including on-site wastewater disposal systems, such as septic systems.
  • Recreational water illness prevention, including swimming pools, spas & freshwater bathing places.
  • Tanning Devices.
  • Wells, including drinking water, irrigation & geothermal.
  • Vector control, including the control of mosquitoes, rodents, flies, cockroaches & other animals that may transmit pathogens.

WHAT DOES THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION OFFICER DO?

The storage and use of oil and hazardous materials (OHM) are a part of many aspects of everyday modern life. When these materials are not used or stored as intended it is known as a release and is regulated under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP), which is sometimes referred to as 21E. The City of Framingham has an Environmental Protection Officer to ensure that all releases and OHM-related issues within the City of Framingham are managed in compliance with the MCP.