Governing Body & Constituents

Governing Body:

Harbor Health’s Board of Directors is comprised of at least 51% consumers of our services. The Board meets monthly and participates actively in the review of programmatic and fiscal operations of the agency.


Harbor Health serves 37 census tracts, including 30 Medically Underserved Areas. The neighborhoods served include Dorchester, South Boston, Quincy, and Cape Cod. The service area is home to over 158,000 people. According to the 1999 US Census, 96,174 people living in the service area were predominately white (69%), followed by black, including African American (20%), Hispanic (7%) and Asian (6%). Census 2000 data, released by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in March 2001, document that in two of the Dorchester zip codes, the white population has decreased to 32% of the population, the black population has increased to 36% and the Hispanic population has increased to 12%. The report also documents the increasing number of Asian/Pacific Islander residents, many who are Vietnamese, who now make up 11% of Dorchester’s population. A similar significant demographic change has occurred at the Mary Ellen McCormack Housing Development. In 1990, the Development was 89% white and is currently 28% Hispanic, 11% black, 11% Asian with 48% white.

The 1990 census reports that 16% of the total service area population is below poverty and 40% are below twice poverty. In the South Boston part of our service area, the poverty rate is 52% and the twice poverty rate is almost 70%. Census 2000 data for poverty by Census Tract is not yet available. Census 2000 information is available for the State; it reports that 16.3% of Massachusetts’ population under 18 is living at 125% of Poverty Level, and 13.9% is living at 100%, up from 12.9% in 1990. Census 1990 reported that for Boston, 28% of the population under 18 was below the Poverty Line.

On Cape Cod two trends have particularly impacted Harbor Health. One is the very rapid and substantial growth of the Cape’s population, which more than doubled between 1990 and 2000, including significant increases in the elderly population. The second trend is the large influx of Brazilian immigrants, who make up about 15% of the Cape’s population and are largely concentrated in the Hyannis area and serviced by the Mid Upper Community Health Center.

Harbor’s patient population mirrors our service area. In 2000, Harbor’s patients were 46% white, 13% black, 4% Hispanic and 6% Asian; 31% did not declare race or ethnicity. 34% were at or below poverty and 63% were below twice poverty. 43% were male and 57% were female. In addition, for Harbor’s patient population in 1999, 26% were uninsured, 37% had publicly funded insurance including Medicaid and Medicare, and 37% had private insurance. With the opening of our satellite dental clinic at the Cape, Harbor Health has become the primary dental provider for MassHealth and uninsured residents in Barnstable and Dukes counties.