SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Springfield kicked off Public Health Month with an event at City Hall Monday morning.

The 26th annual public health month observance was kicked off by Mayor Sarno and Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris. The event’s theme was “centering and celebrating culture in health.” It is about highlighting and recognizing the way communities and their diverse cultures have demonstrated resiliency, and how they will continue to influence the hard work to make the City of Springfield a healthier more equitable city. 

Topics included the several factors that go into promoting health and wellness within the city and recognizing the public health leaders of the area.

Springfield HHS Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris also highlighted how the city intends to celebrate public health month. “Week one is community health, week two is violence prevention, week three is reproductive sexual health and mental health, and week 4 is rural health.”

Mayor Sarno also officially proclaimed April as “Public Health Month” while keynote speaker Oami Amarasingham, Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health addressed the crowd, along with a presentation of luminary awards. “These awards are given to recipients who have demonstrated leadership, excellence, and a commitment to improving community health in the City of Springfield.”

This year’s Public Health Month Calendar has nearly 20 educational events on health topics to raise community awareness of available programs and services, as well as to provide information about public health topics that affect collective and individual health. 

Mayor Sarno says, “I deeply appreciate the leadership of Health & Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, her dedicated staff – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – and all ‘the unsung heroes,’ who work tirelessly behind the scenes to improve the public and mental health within our community so that our Springfield is a better place to live, work and play.”