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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Equity, COVID-19, and the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge

written by Joan H. Ascheim, MSN, NHPHA Executive Director

Equity and COVID-19

I sit writing in my new “office” looking out at the pastoral view that belies the chaos and uncertainty that is COVID-19. I know I speak for the NHPHA board when I extend gratitude and endless thanks to the front-line health care providers who are fighting this battle while lacking the equipment and resources to do so safely. Further, our thanks go out to our New Hampshire public health partners at the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) and local public health as they work tirelessly to track this virus, follow contacts, face the media, and put in countless hours working to lessen the effects of this pandemic and to plan strategically to address the needs of the people in our state.

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Maintaining Mental Health During Quarantine

written by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

During these uncertain times, it’s normal to feel sad, angry, and anxious or even to grieve for things that have to be canceled or postponed. It important to maintain our mental health while we stay at home and manage remote learning, working from home, parenting and maintaining your home. Below are some tips for keeping up our mental health during quarantine.

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Intern Alicia Manion Takes on Childhood Lead Poisoning and Prevention with the City of Concord

written by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

Alicia Manion is a recipient of a Health Equity student stipend from the New England Public Health Training Center made available through the New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA). She is working with the City of Concord on a Childhood Lead Poisoning and Prevention project. Alicia is a public health student at Benedictine University in Illinois, which she is attending online from here in New Hampshire.

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Executive Director Joan Ascheim Speaks About COVID-19

NHPHA Executive Director Joan Ascheim was interviewed by The Union Leader about the COVID-19 situation in New Hampshire. You can read the article here.

Health in All Policies Update: NHPHA Priority Bills

by Joan Ascheim, NHPHA Executive Director

NHPHA has been busy testifying and tracking key bills at the state house. Below is an update on our priority bills. The official crossover from one chamber to the other takes place on March 26, 2020. We will continue to follow priority bills and keep you updated.

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What About Workforce? March 2020 Update

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

The NHPHA Workforce Development Program is excited to announce that our Food Insecurity Webinar will be on March 19, 2020, and our Career Panel Webinar will be on April 1, 2020. 

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Interview with NHPHA Intern Ashley Haluch and Dr. Laura Cristoph

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

Ashley Haluch is a recipient of a Health Equity student intern stipend from the New England Public Health Training Center available through the New Hampshire Public Health Association. She is working with the Rindge Food Pantry in Rindge, NH. Ashley is a public health major at Franklin Pierce University whose goals for her future work in public health include an interest in food safety, epidemiology, foodborne illness, and health education. She is also interested in pursuing a sanitarian licensure from the local health department. She presented a poster at the NHPHA’s 2019 annual meeting, a meta-analysis comparing the United States and China on how food safety is addressed and acknowledged, different approaches to the process of food handling, and the economic impact of food handling in both countries.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Reading with Purpose to Support Diversity

by Marcella Bobinsky, NHPHA President

As a part of the NHPHA Strategic Plan for 2020–2022, I, along with Michael Reaves and Ashley Wilder, with assistance from Kayla Page of SNHU, am working on the Strategic Imperative to “Create an organizational culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Over the next few months, the NHPHA Board will explore our current relationship with these ideas, audit our current actions as to investments we have made to achieve these goals, and then establish a plan to embed actions into our policy deliberations, our committee responsibilities and our priority setting. If you are interested in joining our discussions and planning sessions, please email me at [email protected].

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National Public Health Week 2020 Is Approaching!

by Lisa Vasquez, Co-Chair, NHPHA Communications Committee

In the first full week of April, we celebrate National Public Health Week (NPHW)! This year is extra special because it’s the 25th anniversary of NPHW. This 25th anniversary is an opportunity to highlight some of the greatest public health successes and to celebrate what makes public health so vital. It’s also a time to reflect on important lessons learned and missed chances to improve health for all. In New Hampshire, we hope that your agency will join us in celebrating National Public Health Week. Let us know what you are doing this year to celebrate it!

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New Futures January 2020 Legislative Update

With the 2020 Legislative Session in full swing, we have been very busy across the state and at the State House. This session we are continuing to work alongside advocates, partners, and lawmakers on important legislation to improve the health and wellness of the Granite State. While we are closely following many bills crucial to improving the health of NH, our three 2020 campaign-level initiatives this year are Tobacco 21, Rx Drug Price Relief, and Early Childhood Investments.

All three campaigns have seen progress in January, and we are beyond impressed by all the work put in by community stakeholders and advocates. To start the year, the State Senate voted 16-8 to pass SB 248, a bill that would raise the legal tobacco sales age to 21. This bill will now move to the NH House of Representatives for hearings and a vote. A change to federal law just before the holidays raised the minimum age to 21, however, this bill is necessary to provide the state the clarity and authority it needs to enforce the federal law. For the health and safety of Granite State youth, we must take this opportunity to increases the sales age to 21 to make NH law consistent with federal law and eliminate any public confusion.

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What About Workforce? February 2020 Update

written by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

The NHPHA Workforce Development Program had a great January with our Mentor Program Check-In Event and continuing to plan our Public Health Career Webinar and Food Insecurity Webinar.

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Food, Firearms, Fluoride, and More: A Sampling of Public Health Issues for the 2020 Legislative Session

Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership

Food, Firearms, Fluoride, and More: A Sample of Public Health Issues for the 2020 Legislative Session

written by Joan H. Ascheim, MSN, Executive Director

The 2020 New Hampshire legislative session is upon us, and as usual things ramp up quickly. The New Hampshire Public Health Association will follow and testify on bills that address our three priority areas: Equity and Health Outcomes; Healthy Environments  Natural, Built and Social; and Substance Misuse  Improving Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. Here is a quick preview of some of the bills we are following.

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We Are Public Health

written by Lisa Vasquez, Communications Committee Co-Chair

When I tell people I work in a local health department, they have so many questions and preconceived notions of what I actually do. Many think I am a nurse, for who else works in public health? Others have questions about what does someone in public health actually do. Others wonder why public health is needed if people can just visit their primary care provider. Here are some things you should know about public health. Public health is comprised of many professions, and all are needed and valuable. In New Hampshire, we have the state’s Department of Health and Human Services and their Division of Public Health Services, which acts as the state’s public health department. We also have two local public health departments, one in Manchester and one in Nashua. In areas where there is no local public health department, a system has been devised to be able to offer public health services throughout the state. This is done through public health networks. There are 13 public health networks throughout New Hampshire; visit https://nhphn.org for more information. These networks are tasked with providing public health functions within a geographical area. But what are public health functions and services? Public health is tasked with 10 essential core functions:

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NH BDAS Launches Binge-Free 603 Campaign

The NH Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (NH BDAS) has relaunched their public health awareness campaign Binge-Free 603: What’s Your Reason? The goal of this campaign is to lower young adult high-risk alcohol use. The campaign has created a brand that encompasses the values of the peer crowd identified to be most at-risk for binge drinking behavior, country-locals, a group of young adults mostly likely to engage in risky consumption of alcohol. The campaign concepts that depict healthy lifestyles, healthy activities, and personal reasons for avoiding excessive drinking and connects to the values consistent with this peer group. The campaign videos show young adults in NH doing activities such as hiking, ATV use, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, skiing, or snowboarding, rather than showing people partying.

The following are links to the campaign elements:

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February Is Heart Month

This year, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and The Heart Truth are asking people to participate in this important annual campaign by engaging in the following activities throughout the month:

Week 1: Be physically active together.
How? Share how you’re moving more with others. Have walking meetings. Start a walking club with your church group. Join an exercise class with a neighbor. Share on social media!

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NHPHA Public Health Mentor Program: Experience from the Lens of a Mentee

The NHPHA Public Health Mentoring Program is a great opportunity for experienced public health professionals to make a positive impact on the career and professional development of emerging public health professionals. This mentoring journey provides public health students and early-career professionals with the opportunity to explore the field of public health from the lens of a qualified public health professional. NHPHA works closely with the mentors to offer mentees the chance to enhance a variety of skills that will allow them to flourish in their future work of improving the health of a population.

As an early-career professional in the public health workforce and a mentee during the first year of the program, I greatly benefited from connecting with someone who had a wealth of knowledge and practice as well as a diverse background within the field of public health. Prior to starting this program, I was hesitant to join due to the majority of mentees being comprised of public health students in their junior and senior year of higher education. However, I was happy to hear that the program was able to allow early-career professionals like myself to advance their knowledge and skills while already working in this field. When I started this program in October 2018, I set a variety of goals for myself, both professional and personal. These goals consisted of learning how to network with partners, creating an effective work/life balance, gaining skills to overcome workplace challenges, and enhancing my communication skills. From my perspective, I saw a successful ending of this program as a newfound confidence, a sense of direction, and a few new tools in my tool belt.

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Workforce Development Update: January 2020

By Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

The NHPHA Workforce Development Program has been busy and has an exciting January ahead! We are currently planning our Mentor Program Check-In event, Public Health Career Webinar, and Food Insecurity Webinar. Additionally, we have some exciting internships in the works!

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Public Health Supports Quitting All Forms of Tobacco and Nicotine in the New Year!

My Life, My Quit program offers help to youth quit e-cigarettes, vape and nicotine products

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is introducing My Life, My Quit (#MLMQ), a tobacco cessation service for teens who want to quit using electronic cigarettes, liquid nicotine vape products, cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (chew). Teens who enroll in this free and confidential service will work with a coach who listens and understands their unique needs, provides personalized support, and helps them build a quit plan to become free from nicotine. Enrollments are completed online at mylifemyquit.com or by calling or texting “Start My Quit” to 1-855-891-9989.

DPHS is promoting the #MLMQ campaign to youth on the QuitNowNH.org site, Facebook/Instagram (@MLMQNH), YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok, as well as in movie theaters across the state. MLMQ coaches receive extensive training as tobacco treatment specialists through an accredited program, with additional training on adolescents from a psychologist and professor at Stanford University who specializes in adolescent tobacco prevention.

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Healthy People 2020 and Beyond

Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership

Healthy People 2020 and Beyond

written by Joan H. Ascheim, MSN, Executive Director

The end of the year and beginning of a new one is typically a time for reflection on the accomplishments of the past and a look to the future. The end of a decade and ringing in of a new one (if one is of the mind that 2020 is the beginning of a new decade) calls for a deeper look into the past and a more futuristic view of the ensuing decade.

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New Futures 2019 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

With the recent passage of the state budget, the 2019 legislative session is finally coming to a close. Thanks to the help and support of our hundreds of advocates, session was overwhelmingly successful for New Futures in advancing public health in the Granite State. Our collective efforts have led to the defeat and passage of many critical bills and the eventual agreement on a state budget that invests in many public health priorities.

This bipartisan budget compromise addresses several important areas of need facing the health and wellness of Granite Staters. This includes increased Medicaid reimbursement rates, which are essential to building a workforce better equipped to address the ongoing addiction and mental health crises, support for critical programs and services including substance use and mental treatment, a comprehensive children’s system of care, and Early Childhood supports like Medicaid home visiting. In addition to the state budget, lawmakers acted on a number of bills impacting the health of our state.

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