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NHPHA Urges Continued Mask-Wearing in NH

NHPHA joins the NH Medical Society and other organizations across the state to urge continued mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic

As we turn the corner on COVID-19, we urge all individuals, communities, schools, and businesses to continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and NH Division of Public Health Services guidelines that include wearing masks in conjunction with other prevention measures to slow the community transmission of COVID-19 in our state.  These prevention measures should be followed until COVID-19 vaccination levels reach a NH-wide immunity of at least 70%; and community spread of COVID-19 continues at a "minimal" community transmission level which is less than 50 new infections per 100,000 population over the prior 14 days, along with 7-Day PCR test positivity levels below 5%.

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Inside NHPHA: Annual Meeting 2021

by April Mottram, NHPHA Executive Director
    

Spring is the season of transition and new beginnings, and NHPHA is experiencing both.  April is the month that NHPHA holds its Annual Meeting and announces the change in board leadership and members.  On the evening of April 21st, close to 100 participants joined Zoom to learn about building community resilience after COVID-19, participate in conversations about NHPHA's policy priority areas, view student poster presentations, and network.  The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to celebrate NHPHA’s annual award recipients and welcome the Board of Directors for the upcoming year. 

During the first part of the Annual Meeting, there were several roundtable breakout sessions where participants could view student poster presentation and join conversations about Community Health Workers, Community Resilience, the COVID Equity Task Force, the Food Access Coalition, the new Immunization Coalition, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and NHPHA leadership.  There were also breakout rooms set up for participants to meet NHPHA leadership, network, and speak with the family of Raaga Devineni.  Following the breakout session, Anna Adachi-Mejia, PhD, CPCC, delivered an engaging keynote presentation focused on resilient active living, whole communities, where healthy living is the default option rather than something hard to achieve. 

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National Prevention Facts Week

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Member, NHPHA HR/Nominating Committee Member

The tenth anniversary of National Prevention Week (NPW) takes place on May 9th through May 15th this year. The purpose of the weeklong event is to involve communities to raise awareness of substance misuse and mental health issues, to increase collaborations and partnerships between agencies to improve public health, and to promote substance use prevention and mental health resources and services.

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Mental Health Awareness Month

by Jess Barnett, NHPHA Communications Committee Member

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an annual event started in 1949 by Mental Health America and observed by many United States organizations. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health awareness is more important than ever. For this year’s monthlong observance, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is sharing the theme “You Are Not Alone.” More information on this message can be found at the link.

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NHSCA Arts in Health Grant Opportunity

by Lisa Burk-McCoy, Grants Coordinator, Creative Communities & Arts in Health

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is now taking applications for its FY2022 Arts in Health project grant program.  The application deadline is May 14.  These grants award up to $6,000 for projects occurring 8/1/21 – 9/30/22.  The match requirement is waived for this grant cycle. 

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NH Food Access Coalition May 2021 Update

by Tiffany Dodier, Food Access Coalition Coordinator

As mentioned in the previous newsletter, SB98 relative to the SNAP incentive program passed unanimously out of the Senate. It was introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. Since then, SB98 was vacated by the HHS Committee and referred to finance. At this time, advocacy efforts are specifically focused on contacting members of the House Finance Committee and asking them to vote yes on SB98. Additional efforts include contacting all Representatives to ask, when SB98 comes to the House floor, to vote yes. The NHPHA has created a one-page information sheet about SB98 to assist with talking points that can be found at the NH Food Access Coalition (NHFAC) Padlet.

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COVID-19 Equity Task Force May 2021 Update

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator 

The COVID-19 Equity Task Force continues to meet twice a month and has been regularly incorporating short presentations from speakers about important public health topics, as well as working in workgroups that focus on inequalities in populations. The Task Force members have also been making an effort to continue to centralize equity within the large group as well as provide opportunities for participants to meet and engage with more members outside of their workgroups.

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What About Workforce? May 2021 Update

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

This month Workforce Development really wants to support students who will be graduating within the next few months. We understand how tricky it can be to get a job after college and wanted to offer some guidance. For the second year, we provided students with a Virtual Career Panel and are thrilled with this year's presentation. Panelists Victoria Adeweumi, Chelsey Canavan, Megan DeNubila, and Sam Harris walked students through their career trajectories, discussed their current positions, and offered students feedback about how to get where they want to go in their career. Panelists suggested fellowships and internships to apply for, networking tactics to try, and recommended leadership and communication approaches to make students notable. NHPHA wants to thank these panelists and is so proud to have had the opportunity to work with them.

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Housing Discrimination in New Hampshire

by Jayme Simoes, President of Louis Karno & Company Communications and NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

People who face housing discrimination often don’t know where to turn for help. They may have questions about whether their circumstances qualify as discrimination, or they may just wonder what options they have to remedy their problem. The NHLA Fair Housing Project was formed more than 20 years ago to serve as a resource for people’s fair housing questions and fight for victims of discrimination to get the remedies they deserve.

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NH Immunization Coalition Introduction and Update

by Tara Graham, NHPHA Immunization Coalition Coordinator

Immunization coalitions are comprised of a variety of community partners, including healthcare and public health professionals, community and industry leaders, parents, businesses, and anyone else interested in improving vaccination rates in the region that the coalition serves.  They accomplish this through education, collaboration, and advocacy, bringing reliable, scientifically proven information to the community.

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Advocacy Meetings and the Policy Action Institute: A Student's Perspective

by Regan Doherty

Before National Public Health Week this April, the advocacy meeting experience I had consisted of attending meetings with Massachusetts legislative officials and their staff in high school at various state house breakfasts. When I got the email that I was recommended to apply for the Affiliate Leader for the American Public Health Association’s Policy Action Institute, I was excited to level up to the big leagues of DC, virtually, of course. As a senior in college at the University of New Hampshire, studying Health Management & Policy and attending Boston University getting my Master’s Degree in Public Health in Health Policy & Law in the fall, this experience was very beneficial, and I will use what I learned to further my policy advocacy in the future.

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Prom Safety

by Nicole Chute, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

It’s almost that time of year! Prom can be one of the highlights of the high school experience as it is an important and exciting milestone for a young person. In preparation for this exciting event, parents and students need to understand the law, the risks associated with underage drinking and drug use, and make plans to celebrate safely. The New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA) wants to share some tips to help students make smart decisions to look and feel great, stress less, and stay protected.

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Recent Changes to the Affordable Care Act

by Jayme Simoes, President of Louis Karno & Company Communications and NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

The recently passed American Rescue Plan removed an income cap — for two years — for Affordable Care Act health insurance premium tax credits through the federal health exchange in New Hampshire. The amount paid is now limited to 8.5% of income. The $1.9 trillion Covid relief package included changes increasing tax credits through the ACA marketplace for 2021 and 2022, expanding who qualifies for the financial help, and forgiving amounts due by taxpayers who received too much in subsidies last year. A special enrollment period for the exchange — for existing enrollees to switch or for new enrollees to get coverage — is currently open until August 2021.

National Public Health Week 2021

 by Nicole Chute, 

Save the date! NHPHA is joining the American Public Health Association (APHA) in celebrating National Public Health Week (NPHW) from April 5 to 11, 2021. NPHW is a national campaign organized by the APHA to recognize the contributions of public health and celebrate public health efforts in communities across the nation and around the world. This year's theme is ‘Building Bridges to Better Health’.

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Alcohol Misuse Awareness During COVID-19

by Jess Barnett, NHPHA Communications Committee member

April 2021 is Alcohol Awareness Month, a public health program created by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. While alcohol misuse is an important topic at any time, it remains especially so during the coronavirus pandemic, a time of uncertainty when many seek solace in whatever form is available to them. Even before coronavirus hit, alcohol misuse was a problem affecting people in the U.S. and worldwide. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), while the rate of alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) among U.S. adults remained stable from 2001 to 2016, the prevalence of AFLD with stage 2 or 3 or greater fibrosis increased significantly, to a rate of 1.5% and 0.2% of adults, respectively, in 2015–2016.

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Inside NHPHA: Welcome to Our New Staff Members

by Lisa Bujno, NHPHA Board President
    
NHPHA recently announced the onboarding of new staff and are excited to move forward over the coming year! As we all know, change is inevitable. NHPHA is poised, at this juncture, to change, grow, and build on the foundation that was developed over the last several years. As this is my last article as Board President, I wanted to introduce our new leaders and invite members to connect and welcome them to NHPHA.

April Mottram, NHPHA’s new Executive Director, comes to us from the North Country Health Consortium where she served as the Center Director for the Northern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center, Director of the North Country Public Health Network, and Executive Director for the Region 7 Integrated Delivery Network. These experiences make April a natural choice to lead NHPHA. Our focus on workforce development and coalition support are vital as New Hampshire continues to work through the COVID pandemic. April’s expertise in developing health education programming and her work successfully bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders in both the Public Health Network and IDN projects will ensure that NHPHA programs can move forward with confidence and grow as needs evolve. I’ve known April through my work at Ammonoosuc Community Health Services and have found her to be a thoughtful and insightful leader with a true passion for public health work.

Tara Graham, NHPHA’s new Immunization Coalition Coordinator, comes to us with a wealth of experience in healthcare administration and management and demonstrated skill in facilitating groups to achieve a goal. Tara also currently serves as Program Coordinator at Communities for Alcohol and Drug-Free Youth. Her work developing relationships, leading meetings, engaging collaborative input from group members, and facilitating consensus and collaborative strategic planning and operations will help assure the success of the New Hampshire Immunization Coalition! I’ve known Tara for just a short time but am already impressed with her energy and ability to organize and move a project forward.

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NH Food Access Coalition Update

by Tiffany Dodier

SB98 relative to the SNAP incentive program has passed unanimously out of the Senate. It was introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the House Health and Human Services Committee. Our partners are actively working to contact legislators to advocate in support of this bill. SNAP incentives are shown in multiple studies to increase fruit and vegetable purchasing and consumption as well as reduce food access disparities and improve diet quality. Furthermore, the program funnels federal dollars directly into the local economy to NH farmers and independent grocers. Estimates suggest that every federal nutrition assistance dollar spent produces $1.50-1.75 in local economic activity. The return on this program is likely higher given the spending stipulations.

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State of New Hampshire Launches Vaccine & Immunization Network Interface (VINI)

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, DPHS

Excerpt from Governor Sununu’s press release dated March 16, 2021 (https://www.governor.nh.gov/news-and-media/state-new-hampshire-launch-vini-begin-phase-2a-scheduling)

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We Are Public Health April 2021

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

In New Hampshire, Public Health programs and activities are often made possible through collaboration. Collaboration is important for many reasons such as increasing staff capacity and increasing the reach of public health. An example of increased reach has been the statewide initiative of lead testing for all children at 1 and 2 years of age. This program would not be able to reach as many children as it has since implementation without pediatrician involvement but it goes far beyond pediatricians to also reach families that may not have healthcare and/or access to a pediatrician.

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National DEA Takeback Day

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

Every year for the past few years the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has sponsored the National Take Back Day. This is a collaboration between the DEA, local Police departments, public health networks and other community partners. This event takes place twice a year once in the fall and once in the spring. The spring event takes place this month April 24th, 2021 from 9AM – 2PM. The National Take Back Day is a great opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted or unused medications.

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