Milton Board of Health
April 26 - Vote for Susan Koch-Weser and a healthy Milton
Checks may be sent to:
Susan Koch-Weser Committee to Elect BOH
c/o Beth Molnar
14 West Side Rd
Milton, MA 02186
I am excited to be a candidate for a seat on the town’s Board of Health, which has statutory oversight over our town’s Public Health Department. With over 25 years of public health experience my qualifications include:
Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tuft University
Doctoral degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Data skills -- collection, analysis, and interpretation of public health data
Experience designing and evaluating programs to protect and promote the health of individuals, families, and communities
Public Health is Important
Many people don’t understand all of the duties and responsibilities of a public health department. As a result, many public health departments-including Milton's-have been underfunded and underappreciated. COVID has shined a light on just one aspect of the vital work they do. But there is so much more that our health department does to promote a healthy community, and there is so much more that can be done.
Milton is a small community with a lot of heart. To ensure conditions in which we can be our healthiest we must always consider public health. If elected to the Board of Health, I will:
· Bring technical expertise in data collection and analysis to the Board of Health
· Support the development of grant-funded health promotion programming that will benefit our entire community
· Examine and address health disparities
· Actively engage with neighbors and other stakeholders to ensure Milton residents have a voice in health programming
I am dedicated to Milton and believe that my public health expertise and passion make me the right candidate for the Board of Health. I ask for your support and your vote on April 26th.
Experience in Milton
My family has called Milton home for the past 18 years. It has been a wonderful experience to raise a family here, to volunteer in town, and to enjoy the town library, schools, parks, and sports. My sons Peter and William attend Milton High School and Pierce Middle School. My husband, John Rhee, worked to bring rowing to Milton Landing. I have been a steering committee member of the Milton Coalition (formerly the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition), on the board of Discovery Schoolhouse, and a member of the town's Return to School Task Force and the Milton Youth Task Force.
I am also running for TMM P4 in the coming election
Vision for Milton's Health
Milton is a diverse community and frequently lands on “best of” lists of places to live. To be best, we must work for the health and wellbeing of all our residents. When it comes to health, that means we should be identifying the particular needs and challenges faced by different populations, and tailoring programs so that everyone –including our most vulnerable citizens- has access to the information, services, programs and community assets that will help keep them well. This is the core work of public health.
Milton is served by an excellent Health Department and Board of Health which I would be honored to join. Their mission includes adopting and enforcing health regulations, providing preventive health programming, environmental protection, monitoring and containing infectious diseases, and preparing for public health emergencies. I would like to join the Board of Health to bring my knowledge and connections to enhance the offerings available in our town.
COVID and Mask Mandates
COVID-19 infection rates have declined substantially since this winter, however COVID still presents a profound health threat to many; we are still experiencing excess deaths due to COVID and ongoing health issues due to long COVID. Over the course of the pandemic we have also seen different health, psychological, and economic impacts of COVID depending on peoples' underlying health and resources to manage time out of work or school due to periods of illness or isolation. We need to be prepared in Milton to help our community deal with the ongoing effects of the pandemic on health and well-being, as well as continue to prevent new infections.
Over the last two years we have developed a greater understanding of COVID and more tools to protect ourselves. The vaccines prevent serious illness and death for many, we have better treatments, home tests can be used before visiting vulnerable friends and family, and N95 masks are widely available for individual use. Compared to the beginning of the pandemic when we only had shutdowns and mask mandates to slow the spread of COVID, we are now asking individuals to assess their own risks and to protect themselves with vaccines, masks, and home tests.
While campaigning, I have been asked whether I "support mask mandates."
I would say there is not a current need for universal mask mandates, mask wearing has become a personal choice in most settings. However, if some future variant hits us like Omicron, threatening overfilled hospitals and high death rates among the elderly and immunocompromised, I would see mask mandates as an important tool to reduce suffering and would consider supporting a mandate. I know mask mandates are not without their costs, especially for our children, and would not support a mandate without hearing all voices and carefully weighing the pros and cons of a mandate.