Barbara Ferrer Is Leaving the Public Health Commission

Mayor Marty Walsh is establishing a search committee to replace the longtime public official.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday that Dr. Barbara Ferrer, who has been working in public service for 25 years, will step down as executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) to begin a new position as chief strategy officer at the Kellogg Foundation.

Ferrer first served as the BPHC deputy director before moving up to executive director in 2007. According to City of Boston reps, under Ferrer’s direction, the city has seen a decrease in childhood obesity rates, a decline in asthma rates in public housing, a decline in smoking numbers, and a significant reduction of the infant mortality rate for Black infants.

“Barbara Ferrer has been a vital member of our City’s leadership team. She has made countless contributions and has played an instrumental role directing initiatives that have improved every aspect of health in Boston – from decreasing infant mortality rates to improving access to substance abuse treatment.” Mayor Walsh said in a statement. “I congratulate Dr. Ferrer on her new role and know that the Kellogg Foundation will benefit from her insight and years of experience.”

In a media release announcing her departure, city reps note:

[Ferrer] secured federal and state funding to support critical public health infrastructure and community based programs, with over $35M awarded in the last year alone. Dr. Ferrer’s commitment to make timely public health data accessible to the city’s healthcare and public health institutions as well as to residents has led to the development of evidenced-based programs that allow for progress to be measured.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve under both Mayor Menino and Mayor Walsh as the Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission. I am proud of what the BPHC staff, our partners, and the city, have accomplished with and for Boston’s residents,” Ferrer said in a statement. “I know that I leave the Commission in a strong position to continue its important work. I am excited [to] take what I have learned here in Boston and translate it into a national and international philanthropic agenda that will help support communities improve education, health and economic security from a multifaceted approach.”

A formal search committee to find a replacement will be established following Ferrer’s departure on October 3.