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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.

Public health focuses on promoting healthy behaviors and protecting the well-being of people and the communities where they live, work, and play. While doctors primarily focus on a single individual's condition, public health professionals focus on the overall health of the community and implement programs to equitably ensure all individuals can live long and healthy lives.

EQUALITY means each group or individual is given the same resource; however, EQUITY recognizes that each person or group lives with different circumstances and thus requires different amounts of resources to ensure everyone obtains the same outcome.

For this reason, the New Bedford Health Department supports equitable health initiatives to ensure our diverse community receives the appropriate resources and allows for greater health equity for all. These initiatives focus on addressing things like poverty, discrimination, education, and employment, and include:

  • Community outreach in multiple languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean Creole)

  • Data analysis to support known & unknown disparities

  • Leadership development for Latine community members

  • Health equity advocacy and policy development


The Public Health Nursing Division monitors and tracks infectious diseases within our community in addition to providing preventative and supportive services to our residents, such as:

  • Routine vaccinations (by appointment only)

  • In-home vaccination services for homebound residents

  • Tuberculosis Skin Test (TST)

  • Tuberculosis Direct Observation of Treatment (DOT)

  • CPR certification

  • Blood pressure screening

  • Sharps disposal containers (based on availability)

  • Patient follow-up for reportable infectious diseases

These initiatives strive to promote healthy behaviors and prevent disease though community outreach & engagement. Activities include:

  • Health education

  • Resource navigation (connections to additional services)

  • Health insurance enrollment

  • Health and Oral Wellness in Schools program


These programs focus on prevention efforts and harm reduction activities to minimize consequences of both legal and illegal drug usage. Activities include:

  • Safety training for legal & illegal drugs

  • Overdose treatment (Narcan) training and distribution

  • Management of The Greater New Bedford Opioid Taskforce

  • Fentanyl test strip distribution

  • Tobacco inspection and compliance


The Environmental Health and Food Protection Division focuses on protecting residents & visitors from environmental threats. These activities include:

  • Minimum housing standards (code enforcement)

  • Lead paint testing

  • Food safety (permitting and inspecting restaurants, food retailers, kitchens, and food trucks)

  • Permitting temporary events

  • Community sanitation (body art, burial permits, trash and nuisance, rodent control)

  • Inspection of wells, septic systems, and pool


The New Bedford Marine Laboratory is the only municipal owned commercial lab in Massachusetts. The scope of services include:

  • Monitoring & testing of the city's beaches

  • Testing of environmental water samples & zoo aquatic habitats

  • Private well testing

  • Private swimming pool testing

  • Seawater tanks & shellfish testing

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

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