The Town of Wellesley depends on the active participation of its citizens in governance of the Town. Wellesley has 11 Boards and Committees on the ballot at the Annual Town election each year in March. The 2019 election will be held on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Contested race: Board of Health
The mission of the Wellesley Health Department is to assess and address the needs of the Wellesley community, in order to protect and improve the health and quality of life of its residents and work force.
This charge is carried out in part by the Board of Health. There are three members of the Board. Secretary Lloyd Tarlin, MD will vacate his seat when it expires in 2019. There are two candidates vying for that spot: Linda Oliver Grape and Dr. Jim Rodrigue. We invited them to answer a few questions about their qualifications and their priorities for the Town of Wellesley.
Linda Oliver Grape, candidate for Board of Health
The Swellesley Report: What is your background and what qualifies you for the position?
Linda Oliver Grape: I am a Physician Assistant with decades of clinical experience with all age groups from neonatology to geriatrics. Having earned a Master of Public Health in Health Services Administration, I have held multiple leadership roles with increasing responsibility in a variety of areas including clinical operations, population health, chronic disease management and quality improvement. I have earned awards and presented my work in national forums. Currently, I am employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts where I oversee the Federal Employee Program with its approximately 116K members. I believe that I can apply my professional experience and assist the Health Department.
Sw: If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your one year tenure on the Board of Health?
During the first year on the Board of Health, it would be important to foster relationships with other Town boards and departments to identify opportunities for collaboration. In addition, I would want to work with the Health Department team on the following:
Regulations should be promulgated for vaping
The impact of marijuana legalization needs to be analyzed and next steps determined
Access to Behavioral Health providers for residents of all ages needs to be improved
Work with the Health Department leadership to ensure appropriate staffing levels
Ensure that the Town is prepared to care for people with Substance Use issues
Implementation of new State mandated food regulations.
Sw: What is your hot button issue?
Grape: The prevalence of Substance Use Disorder in the State has reached epidemic proportions; the Board of Health needs to ensure that the Town is adept at caring for and supporting residents with this problem.
Sw: How should voters reach you if they want more information?
Grape: I would welcome the opportunity to talk with voters and can be contacted via email: [email protected] or home phone 781-235-4129.
Sw: What is the greatest health related need in Wellesley?
Grape: The greatest health need facing Wellesley is improving access to Behavioral Health services for residents of all ages in multiple settings.
Sw: Is there anything else you would like to say that the above questions did not cover?
Grape: I have been a volunteer in the community for decades having held multiple leadership roles in the schools, civic and philanthropic organizations as well as a member of Town Meeting for the past 20 years. Our family has been so fortunate to have lived in Wellesley and have benefitted in many ways. I would welcome the opportunity to give back to the community by offering my professional skills to the Board of Health. Thank you for your consideration.
MORE: Wellesley election 2019