Regionalization is a consortium of local health departments collaborating under a formal agreement to provide a specific set of services.

The goal of the Massachusetts Public Health Regionalization Project is to strengthen the Massachusetts public health system by creating a sustainable, regional system for equitable delivery of local public health services across the Commonwealth.  Learn more.

 The Need:

Massachusetts has over 300 Local Boards of Health, many of which are chronically underfunded and not able to maintain the 10 essential services of public health departments, putting their communities at risk.  Click Here to Learn More

 Regionalizing public health services offers the following benefits:

  • Consistency and equity: Regionalizing promotes consistent standard of care and equal level of servicesPHLogoBig
  • Breadth of services: Regionalization can equip each local health department to deliver the range of services their specific community requires
  • Best of the best: Regionalization allows communities to access the skills they need, when they need them (even if those skills are not resident within their own health department)
  • Economies of scale: Regionalization has been shown to offer economies of scale for communities who band together
  • Flexibility: Local jurisdictions can choose from different models to ensure the best fit for their unique circumstances
  • Access to funding: Larger districts have greater capacity to apply for grants and are more competitive in grant applications, potentially bringing additional resources to their communities
  • Workforce development: Sharing resources, greater cooperation and communication, and more standardized training, will yield a stronger and better prepared local public health workforce.

Public Health District Incentive Grants 

A current focus of the project, The Public Health District Incentive Grants (DIGS) program is intended to permanently strengthen the local public health infrastructure in Massachusetts by taking maximum advantage of limited resources to protect population health, prevent injury and disease and promote healthy behaviors through policy change and service delivery at the regional level.  Grants provide financial support for groups of municipalities entering into formal, long term agreements to share resources and coordinate activities, i.e. regionalize, in order to improve the scope, quality, and effectiveness of local public health services for their combined populations.  The program incorporates recommendations of the Regionalization Working Group.

Massachusetts currently has 5 DIG sites; for more information go to the DIGS page