TEWKSBURY — Massa­chusetts Secretary of Health and Human Ser­vices Mary Lou Sudders and Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Dr. Moni­ca Bharel visited The Pub­lic Health Museum in Tewksbury recently as part of the Massachusetts De­partment of Public Health’s 150th anniversary celebration. The Public Health Mu­seum serves as a re­source and living archive of public health in Ameri­ca, and is the only museum dedicated to public health in the United States.

The museum opened on the campus of the Tewks­bury Hospital in 1994. CEO of Tewksbury Hospital Deb­ra Tosti, along with the museum’s president, Dr. Katherine Domoto and other distinguished health professionals, were in at­tendance.

The visit was part of a year-long recognition by the DPH of the department’s 150 years in existence. A variety of events will occur throughout the year, highlighting the many landmark achievements in public health which have been credited to the Bay State.

According to the Mass.gov website, “America’s first board of health was established in Boston by an act of the Massachusetts Legis­lature in 1799, with Paul Revere as president. Later, in September of 1869, the Massachusetts State Board of Health, now DPH, was established by Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, its first chairman. It later merged with what was called the “Board of Health, Lunacy, and Cha­rity.”

Massachusetts has several public health firsts, in­cluding “publishing the first manual of public health laws, requiring mandatory reporting of dangerous diseases, establishing the na­tion’s first Food and Drug Laboratory and state public health microbiology lab,” according to the Mass Pub­lic Health Blog.

The Public Health Muse­um in Tewksbury seeks to preserve the past and in­spire future practitioners, health educators and en­lighten the general public by advancing the future of public health through part­nerships with academic in­stitutions. The museum of­fers exhibits and conducts campus tours, along with lectures which are open to the public.

Ongoing events such as Public Health Week, held in conjunction with the Tewksbury Public Library, provide outreach opportunities and educate audiences about significant events in public health, such as the 1918 flu pandemic, tuberculosis and pioneers in health such as Elizabeth Blackwell and Clara Barton.

The museum also offers Outbreak!, a week-long sum­mer program for junior and senior high school students to expose them to a wide range of public health career opportunities. Out­break! is in its seventh year and is open to all high school students.

The museum is pleased to have been awarded a grant from the National Library of Medicine to fo­cus on Outbreak Alumni Leadership activities.

For more information about the Department of Public Health visit https://blog.mass.gov/public­health/. Learn about the Public Health Museum at https://publichealthmuseum.org.

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