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Health Care Without Harm and Boston Public Health Commission Honored for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Initiative

Boston, MA (PRWEB) July 12, 2013

Health Care Without Harm and the Boston Public Health Commission were honored at the 2013 annual conference of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), for developing and implementing a program that demonstrates exemplary and replicable qualities in response to a local public health need. The Boston Hospital Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SBB) Learning Network was one of 38 public health programs developed nationwide in collaboration with a public health department and selected to receive NACCHO’s Model Practice Award.

The Boston Hospital Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Learning Network brought together Boston health care organizations in a collaborative yet competitive environment to reduce obesity rates by reducing access to SSBs and increasing access to healthier tap water as a part of a comprehensive Healthy Food in Health Care Program. Over a 14-month period, 10 participating hospitals successfully employed a variety of strategies to reduce access to and promotion of SSBs within their institutions. Hospital representatives participated in regular meetings, through which they received technical assistance and resources, shared progress and best practices, and addressed challenges and obstacles in a peer-learning forum.

“We’re honored to join Health Care Without Harm in accepting this award,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “Overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is literally a growing problem for people in America, and we need to develop collaborative and creative strategies that make our food environment healthier. Our learning network is a fantastic example of how we can work together towards a common goal that still allows for customized approaches among our partners.”

“This successful approach showcases the critical importance of aligning efforts between public-private organizations to implement upstream changes to impact public health," said Stacia Clinton, RD. LDN., Healthy Food in Health Care Program Coordinator, Health Care Without Harm. Due to its massive buying power, and its mission-driven interest in health, the health care sector can assist in reconfiguring the food system to prioritize illness prevention through shifts in product purchasing and promoting healthy consumption trends. Hospitals and health care systems can serve as leaders by setting a standard for other institutions to follow and by supporting necessary public policy interventions as they relate to food and beverages.”

Each innovative project receiving the award was peer-reviewed (by other local health department professionals) and selected from a group of 101 applications. Since 2003, NACCHO’s Model Practice Awards program has honored initiatives—including programs, resources, and tools—that demonstrate how local health departments and their community partners can effectively collaborate to address local public health concerns. The Boston Hospital Learning Network is now part of an online, searchable database of successful public health practices in areas ranging from immunization and maternal and child health to infectious diseases and emergency preparedness. This award puts Health Care Without Harm and the Boston Public Health Commission into special company—a select group of public health organizations that exemplify a forward thinking, proactive attitude toward protecting and promoting the health of communities across the nation.

Heath Care without Harm (HCWH) is an international coalition of more than 500 organizations in 53 countries, working to transform the health care sector, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. See To learn more about HCWH’s Healthy Food in Health Care Program, visit our website at

The Boston Public Health Commission, the country’s oldest health department, provides a wide range of health services and programs to the people of Boston. Public service and access to quality health care are the cornerstones of our mission - to protect, preserve, and promote the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable to poor health outcomes. Visit to learn more or follow us on twitter @HealthyBoston.

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) represents the nation's 2,800 local governmental health departments. These city, county, metropolitan, district and tribal departments work every day to protect and promote health and well-being for all people in their communities. For more information about the NACCHO Model Practice Awards and to view a list of other award winners, go to

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