The Carnation’s candidate Q&A series continues with Melissa Braga, one of three candidates running for two seats on the Tewksbury Board of Health. See other profiles as well as letters from and about candidates here.
All candidates running in Tewksbury were invited to respond, and we appreciate those who took the time to help the Carnation inform voters.
Name: Melissa Braga Seat sought: Board of Health
1. Why do you want to serve on the Board of Health?
I decided to run for the Board of Health because, as a registered nurse, I have seen the impact that is possible by moving beyond the bedside to help serve in a broader, more far-reaching capacity. I have spent my career advocating for patients and their health. I am also a small business owner. I know how hard it is to run a business while maintaining the safest possible environment for my clients. I believe my experience makes me uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Health and work to keep Tewksbury healthy.
2. Give us a brief bio: Where you grew up, family, interests.
I grew up in Connecticut. After graduation, I moved to Portugal and lived there for six years. During my time there, I attended college and helped my parents run their bakery. I moved to Tewksbury in 2017 after meeting my husband Steve and we have made it our home since. I am passionate about helping people improve their health. When I’m not advocating for patients or growing my small business, I enjoy traveling and spending time with family and friends. I also recently started snowshoeing, which I love!
3. What is your education?
I am a healthcare worker and have worked in the field since 2009. I began as a Registered Medical Assistant and continued to become a Registered Nurse. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Southern New Hampshire University. I have worked in several different areas of healthcare including urgent care, family practice, behavioral health, pediatric long-term care, medical-surgical and cardiac floor, home healthcare and as a school nurse.
4. What is your “day job,” and how do your past or current professional experiences prepare you for service on the BoH?
I am a small business owner as a certified Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner. We use a non-invasive technique to identify underlying causes of poor health, toxicities or deficiencies. I focus on treating the root cause of health concerns to help my health participants achieve optimal health.
I take a holistic approach to health both professionally and personally, which makes me uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Health. Further, I have over a decade of experience in the medical field, which gives me a solid foundation for solving some of our toughest public health challenges.
5. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish in the next three years? What is your platform? (feel free to include a link to your website or Facebook page)
I want to make the Board of Health more accessible and more responsive to the needs of our families and businesses. I will keep Tewksbury healthy by:
- Increasing access to critical resources to keep our families, businesses and community healthy.
- Working with local small businesses to ensure all health and safety measures are being adhered to and provide information and suggestions as needed for any improvements that will benefit both the business owner and safety of the community.
- Supporting an individual’s rights when it comes to making medical decisions.
- Being a voice for all residents on the Board of Health.
Follow me on: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1205450356926880/
email me at: Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org
call/text me at: 978-973-0093
6. We know that Covid will be an ongoing challenge. What are three additional. non-Covid-related issues you see in town, and how will you address them?
- Children’s health
Children’s health issues have been on the rise and a concern due to unhealthy lifestyles, chronic illness and stress. I would work together with the DPH, school nurses and staff, and other town organizations on ways to improve and educate on healthy food choices, movement and stress management.
I would like to collaborate with both the police and fire departments as well as the family services officer on hoarding issues to create a plan of action to assist with this along with other mental health components that can lead to increased public safety concerns.
Another challenge is with our water. The water we drink is so important to maintain our health, therefore the conditions of our water source is also a challenge I would like to address. I would like to work with the water department, brainstorm ideas and ways of improving our water systems without having to incur more costs to the community.
7. Describe an activity, group or committee you’ve been involved with in town and what you accomplished as part of that team.
I am involved with our Serve the City church group in which we provide the homeless community in Lowell with warm food, shoes, coats, clothes, etc. I also serve as a volunteer for the Burlington Reserve Corps and was recognized as “America’s Top Nurses for 2022: Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare.” I am also an active member of the American Nurses Association.
8. What would you say to residents to encourage them to vote for you?
As a nurse and small business owner, I have the know-how to keep our community healthy, to advocate on behalf of the needs of our town, and to help local businesses operate smoothly and safely. I’m the only candidate in the race who has both worked in the medical field and owned a small business. My experience, background and work ethic make me the right choice for the Board of Health.
Residents can learn more about Braga and many other candidates at the Crier Forum Series on March 15 & 16.