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We Are Public Health: Public Health and Equity

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

There has been much conversation this year surrounding equity, especially when it comes to public health. COVID-19 has highlighted many of the issues of inequity that may not have been as visible before. When public health professionals talk about health equity, they mean achieving that every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). There are so many barriers for many people to achieve their full health potential, be it poverty, lack of access to health care, lack of access to healthy foods, or lack of access to a healthy home among other barriers. When we look at COVID-19, we see that people of color and those in a lower socioeconomic status are disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. When we look at why this is happening, we see that many people in these populations may live in multigenerational homes and have essential jobs where they are unable to work from home. We know that unemployment is at a high rate, which means people that many people who may have had access to health insurance in the past through their employer may not currently have access. We also know that mental health affects our physical health. COVID-19-related stress and anxiety are high, and if we add holiday stress, it just compounds the stress and anxiety levels people are feeling.

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National Influenza Vaccination Week Is Next Week

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

NHPHA is observing National Influenza Vaccination Week from December 6 to 12, 2020. The goal of this annual observation is to remind our community that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine!

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Winter Emergency Preparedness

written by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

Another New England winter is upon us, and it is important to prepare for the possibility of severe weather, winter driving and potential power outages.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Team Up, Take Action 2020 a Virtual Success

written by Jess Barnett, NHPHA Program Assistant

Before we dive into our Team Up, Take Action (TUTA) recap, we have a quick note for our members: With the retirement of our Executive Director (ED), Joan Ascheim, the search for a new ED continues. In the meantime, staff and executive board members are stepping in to keep NHPHA running as usual.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Farewell to NHPHA Executive Director Joan Ascheim

by Lisa Bujno, NHPHA President

This month we bid a reluctant farewell to our Executive Director, Joan Ascheim, as she retires. As many of you know, Joan has been involved with NHPHA for some time – first as a Board member, then as Board President, and now as Executive Director. I first met Joan in 1999 when she was the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Section Chief at the NH Division of Public Health Services (DPHS). I was a seasoned nurse practitioner but new to public health practice at the state level.

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What About Workforce? November 2020 Update

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

Mentor Program Kick-Off

The third cohort of the NHPHA Public Health Mentor Program had its kick-off event on October 7! There were some big changes to the kick-off this year; namely, while we had the largest group we’ve ever had, we also could not meet in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this meant that we were able to connect with our speaker, Magda Peck, ScD, who joined us virtually from California. She is a seasoned strategic leader in public health and specifically focuses on mentoring public health professionals and leading public health programs. Magda’s presentation was lauded by the group for how she connected mentoring expectations, networking, relationships, and boundaries through a professional public health lense. Mentor pairs were finally able to meet one another and set goals for the year. NHPHA is working on various learning opportunities and networking activities for this cohort going forward and are excited to get to know everyone better!

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Food Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

As many are starting to plan for fall and winter holiday celebrations, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Food Protection Section is providing some simple tips to avoid foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter.

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It's National Diabetes Month

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

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes. This year’s focus is on taking care of youth who have diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in school-age youth in the United States, affecting about 193,000 youth under 20 years old. Regardless of their age, sometimes youth who have diabetes need support with their diabetes care. That’s why it’s important to help your child or teen develop a plan to manage diabetes, and work with their health care team to adjust the diabetes self-care plan as needed. We encourage you to visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for more information.

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November Is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Written by Albee Budnitz, MD with Breathe NH (Board Member & Volunteer)

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. As the oldest volunteer health agency in NH for more than 100 years, Breathe NH’s (BNH) mission has been to eliminate lung disease and improve the lives of those living with lung disease. Lung cancer remains the #1 cause of cancer death in the USA, but the last 10-plus years have seen the most advances against this disease in more than 50 years. Indeed, it was more than 50 years ago that Dr. Luther Terry issued the first surgeon general’s report on smoking and health, specifically linking smoking to lung cancer. The advances in lung cancer have come in 3 major areas of health care – prevention, screening diagnosis, and treatment.

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Alcohol Consumption During the Holidays

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

Holidays can be stressful, especially this year with all the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions to keep in mind. Many people increase their alcohol consumption from Thanksgiving to New Year’s for many reasons. People may binge drink without thinking about it, because they are on vacation, because it’s the holidays, because they are with family and friends, or because they are stressed over holiday travel or financial reasons. Binge drinking can be just as dangerous during the holidays as it is any other time of year. NHPHA wants everyone to have a happy and healthy holiday season, so please plan ahead to help you manage the anxiety of holiday preparations and keep a few things in mind:

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October 2020 COVID-19 Equity Task Force Update

by Raaga Devineni, COVID-19 Equity Task Force Coordinator

We have previously reported on the establishment and activities of the New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force and want to keep you up-to-date. The New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services, continues to co-convene The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force. The task force is a collective of over 50 individuals and organizations across NH representing multiple sectors and communities that have come together to address issues of equity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and response. This is intended to broaden the network of people/organizations so we may support each other more intentionally and strategically, not to supersede or duplicate existing efforts, and to identify any needed advocacy that some of the partner organizations may be able to pursue when we form a broader coalition.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: In Defense of Public Health: NHPHA’s Policy Priorities

by Joan Ascheim, NHPHA President

This month the country reached a grim milestone: 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, a number that most scientists and public health professionals agree could have been much less with widespread use of masks, social distancing, and other measures. To put this number into perspective, it would be like losing the entire population of Manchester and Nashua. It is a challenge to wrap your head around—200,000 individuals, 200,000 life stories, 200,000 families affected by the loss. At the same time, dozens of public health officials around the country have resigned or been fired due to the stress and controversies over scientifically based recommended measures that protect the public such as masks and closures and public and political pressure for individual freedoms. Fortunately, we have not seen this in New Hampshire, and we must continue to support our dedicated public health workers.

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October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, Division of Public Health Services

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease including the importance of early detection and the growing number of women who are living with and after treatment.

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It's Time to Get Your Flu Shot!

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

An annual influenza (flu) vaccine is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the seasonal flu and spreading it to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 6 and older receive an annual flu vaccine. Each year, the CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as other partners, to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.

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Back to School: Are You and Your Kids Prepared?

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

As schools around the state, and the nation, transition back into the 2020-2021 school year, it is important to make sure your child and family is prepared. Although schools are taking different approaches to how and when they transition children back into the classroom, we still want our families to be prepared in case their child is going back into school this year. As you adjust to new schedules, we encourage you to take a few quick steps to keep your child safer during the possible event of an emergency or disaster during the school year.

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Preventing Youth Drug and Alcohol Use

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

There’s no better time than today for youth drug prevention. We are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. It can feel overwhelming to spend more time at home with your loved ones. How do you manage remote learning, working from home, and keeping the peace and sanity of your home? For many people during this time, alcohol has been what they have sought out to cope with the changes brought on by the pandemic, but that does create problems as well. According to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, sales of alcohol jumped 13.51%, or $17.3 million, from March 1 to May 13, compared to the same time period last year. This can translate to youth watching their parents use alcohol as a means of coping with stress. It can also translate to more access to alcohol for minors. What can you do to practice prevention messaging at home? Here are some tips: 

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What About Workforce? October 2020 Update

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

Save the Date! Team Up, Take Action Fall Forum: The Impact of COVID-19 in New Hampshire and Vermont: Forging New Partnerships to Improve Health Equity

This is the fifth year collaborating with partners from Dartmouth-Hitchcock and fourth year with the Vermont Public Health Association to present the Team Up, Take Action conference. The 2020 Team Up, Take Action Fall Forum, The Impact of COVID-19 in New Hampshire and Vermont: Forging New Partnerships to Improve Health Equity, will take place virtually from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on November 10, 17, and 19 with a special focus area each day related to COVID and equity issues.

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COVID-19 Equity Task Force Update

by Raaga Devineni, Task Force Coordinator

We have previously reported on the establishment and activities of the New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force and want to keep you up-to-date. The New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), in partnership with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services, continues to co-convene The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force. The task force is a collective of over 50 individuals and organizations across NH representing multiple sectors and communities that has come together to address issues of equity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and response. This is intended to broaden the network of people/organizations so we may support each other more intentionally and strategically, not supersede or duplicate existing efforts, and identify any needed advocacy that some of the partner organizations may be able to pursue when we form a broader coalition.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Thoughts on Systemic Racism, Equity, and NHPHA

by Lisa Bujno, NHPHA President

In May, the country recoiled in horror at the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. The tragedy brought a heightened national attention to the issue of systemic racism, spurring ongoing protests about police violence inflicted upon Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Flurries of statements were issued by organizations from every sector, including NHPHA, in support of action against racism. It seemed that we had reached a juncture where transformative progress could be made toward that vision put forth by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. 

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Back to School During the Time of COVID-19

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Chair

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended so many rites of passage. One of these important transitions is back to school. A time when parents and children prepare to change routines from summer fun to school curricula. Transitioning to a new grade is hard enough when we are not in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. So what can parents do to help their children do their best and lessen their anxiety and stress during this new school year? Here are a few things that might help you have a successful remote learning experience:

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