Saturday, September 05, 2009
WHO IS JOHN AUERBACH? Is he qualified to be Commissioner of Public Health?
The Massachusetts Commissioner of the Department of Public Health would hold enormous power if Bill S2028 (pandemic disaster preparation) is passed. He already has the power to define what diseases are a danger to public health and subject to vaccination requirements, isolation and quarantine orders. One would think that someone with a medical degree (preferably along with a public health expertise) would have the job of Commissioner.
Well, this is Massachusetts. Our Commissioner has a BA from Clark University and an MBA (with a concentration in health care administration) from Boston University School of Management. But no medical background. But he's been a factory worker, a labor organizer, and head of the DPH HIV/AIDS office.
(An example of Auerbach's contribution to public health is The Little Black Book: Queer in the 21st Century, a homo-erotic how-to for young men, including a directory of gay bars in Boston. Published by the AIDS Action Committee of Mass., it thanked two governmental groups he ran or worked with for their help: The Boston Public Health Commission and the DPH.)
Auerbach has pledged his support for the homosexual and transgender propaganda in the Massachusetts public schools. MassResistance reported in December 2008:
Commissioner Auerbach replied that he wants to advance "transgender health" while they have the opportunity. He applauded the commission's [on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth] attention to trans health and said "We will listen to your recommendations." Gunner Scott (a woman GLBT Commissioner with a beard and sideburns) stated that she wants the DPH to consider trans people for leadership roles within DPH. Auerbach agreed.... Gunner added that she wants the terms "gender identification" and "gender expression" used in the DPH policies. Auerbach agreed, and said they'll make sure that this happens.
The Harvard Medical School's Office for Diversity and Community Partnership gave him a "social justice" award in 2008 and noted:
The Boston Globe reported:
He had gained national prominence in public health circles by championing sometimes-controversial causes such as banning smoking in bars and restaurants and, more recently, reviewing whether the city should ban trans-fats from restaurants and bakeries. Auerbach also directed a groundbreaking campaign to address ethnic and racial disparities in healthcare, which his boss, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, declared as the most pressing medical issue in the city.
Auerbach's appointment arrives a week after Patrick announced a $72 million increase in public health spending, with the money being used to expand childhood vaccinations and disease-prevention campaigns.
From the DPH web site:
Commissioner John Auerbach, DPH
How did you get into this field?
My first job in public health was working in the community health center in my neighborhood in Dorchester. I was so impressed with the incredible work that was being done at the center that I wanted to stay in the field.
Who would you consider to be your mentor and why?
I have had a few wonderful mentors. I am most indebted to David Mulligan, the former commissioner of Public Health in Massachusetts, for whom I worked in one capacity or another for almost 20 years. I had the benefit of observing firsthand his brilliant strategic thinking and his skillful, compassionate leadership style. Another invaluable mentor was Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, with his unique combination of first-rate political acumen, heart-felt concern for the most vulnerable and very effective leadership ability.