Did You Know - Board of Health

An occasional column about town activities by

 Tara Hughes


September 10, 2023. Did you know that Winchester has a 3-member Board of Health? The members are each elected to a 3-year term. The Board is responsible for the creation and enforcement of rules and regulations affecting the environment and public health. They are given their duties and responsibilities by Massachusetts General Law and the Winchester Home Rule Charter, and such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by the charter, bylaws or by town meeting vote.


The Board of Health also appoints the Director of the Health Department who acts as its agent to ensure compliance with state public health mandates and to implement policies set by the Board of Health. It is the Health Department’s mission as a whole to prevent and reduce public health risks, to prepare the community with emergency planning and by formulating regulations and finally to protect the community by enforcing regulations affecting the environment and public health.


They are involved in vaccination clinics, health alerts and education (such as Covid, Monkeypox, Rabies and tick and mosquito borne illnesses) and enforcing regulations on such things as tobacco and nicotine (including vaping) use, food establishments (restaurant inspections), medication and sharps/needle collection and keeping of animals (such as backyard chickens). They also provide information on environmental health and enforce regulations affecting the environment. These include contaminated properties, water testing, climate change and public health, pesticides and a Heat Response Strategy.


Finally, the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community, part of the Health Department, is a community-based organization that works with residents, town departments and agencies to reduce substance abuse, particularly in the youth, and to foster healthy life choices through education.


To learn more, visit the Board of Health page at: https://www.winchester.us/1062/Board-of-Health


And the Health Department page at:



For more information on the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community visit: https://winchestercoalitionsafercommunity.com/


Tara Hughes is the President of Winchester News Group and a Precinct 1 Town Meeting Member.