The mission of the New Bedford Health Department is to improve the quantity and quality of life for all who live, work, and play in the city, particularly our most vulnerable populations, by promoting healthy behaviors among New Bedford youth, elderly and community residents and protecting the City’s natural resources to ensure a safe and healthy environment for future generations to enjoy.

The Health Department is responsible for leading a broad public health mandate that includes Environmental Health (e.g., housing sanitation, childhood lead poisoning prevention, food safety, trash/nuisance, sewer/septic, swimming pools, and environmental remediation/clean-up), Public Health Nursing, Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, Municipal Marine Lab Testing, and Health and Wellness Promotion. The department is led by the city’s Director of Health and supported by an Assistant Director and a mix of locally and grant funded staff that provides public health services for the City of New Bedford.

The New Bedford Health Department assists residents in locating COVID-19 testing sites and vaccination locations.  The department also follows the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Executive Director: Damon Chaplin        
1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 991-6199
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday  8am-4pm 

Environmental Health: The Environmental Health division provides inspections, compliance, and enforcement of Public Health codes, regulations, and ordinances related to food retail/service, housing sanitation, and environmental health in accordance with relevant Public Health codes, Board of Health regulations, and City ordinances and provides consultation and education to citizens, businesses, and federal/state/local governmental agencies (e.g., MDPH, EPA). The Health Department’s eight union sanitarian/code enforcement inspectors and three union administrative clerks issue over 40 different permits/licenses, conduct inspections at over 700 permanent and 130 temporary food establishments (including 35 schools), and respond to housing sanitation and solid waste issues at some 45,000 housing units city wide.


Health and Wellness Promotion: The Health and Wellness division aims to promote healthy behavior and lifestyle choices, prevent or minimize diseases, deter unhealthy behaviors, and improve access to health care. The division works to develop and implement community programs that prevent disease and promote health related to senior adult falls, oral/dental health, obesity/diabetes, pediatric asthma, and hypertension.

Municipal Marine Lab Testing: The Municipal Marine Lab serves New Bedford and surrounding communities in monitoring, testing, and reporting of water quality, fish, and beach samples, and follow-up of beach closures when recommended safety limits are exceeded. Lab personnel include a lab director supported entirely through an MDPH grant and a laboratory technician.


Public Health Nursing: The Public Health Nursing division provides immunizations; conducts infectious disease surveillance, reporting and follow-up; monitors Arbovirus (West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis) mosquito testing and trends; administers CPR training for residents, businesses and first responders; develops and conducts emergency preparedness exercises in collaboration with county/state/local agencies; and monitors and prevents childhood lead and rabies poisoning.


Behavioral Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Illness) Prevention and Services: The Behavioral Health division delivers prevention activities including outreach, education, public youth advocacy, and compliance efforts aimed at preventing and reducing first use and consequences of legal and illicit substances including alcohol, opiates, and other drugs.