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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: COVID-19 Equity Task Force Happenings

written by Joan Ascheim, MSN, Executive Director, NHPHA; Kirsten Durzy, MPH, Evaluator, NH Division of Public Health Services; Trinidad Tellez, MD, Director, NH Office of Health Equity

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 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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Local COVID-19 Response

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that has grown to pandemic proportions and has impacted most of the world. The response to the pandemic can change from one area to another depending on how each area has been impacted. We have seen rises and decreases in different areas of the country at differing times. New Hampshire is no different from the rest of the country. We can see different areas having higher instances of infections than others. For example, Coos County has seen a lower number of infections in comparison to Hillsborough County. Population density seems to play a large factor in the propagation of the infection. Therefore, the response of Coos County will not be the same as Hillsborough County. Hillsborough County is the most populous county in New Hampshire with the two largest cities located within. These two cities, Nashua and Manchester, each have a local health department. The rest of the state is served by the state health department.

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NHPHA Staff Spotlight: Jess Barnett

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

This August, we would like to shine the light on Jess Barnett, Program Assistant at NHPHA, for our monthly member spotlight! Jess attended Boston University and graduated in 2001. Since then, she has worked in various roles at a number of organizations, serving as a copyeditor and editor, in some instances. Jess has 16 years of experience in copyediting. Outside of her work at the NHPHA, she serves as a freelance copyeditor for publishing companies and as a freelance dissertation editor.

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Beat the Heat This Summer

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

Spending time outdoors is great in the summer months, but we must take precautions to keep ourselves healthy and safe when the temperature rises. Although heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable, more than 600 people in the United States die from extreme heat each year. Everyone is at risk in extreme heat, but individuals at highest risk include young children, people older than age 65, and people with chronic medical conditions.

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Immunizations During the Time of COVID-19

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

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. This annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. You have the power to protect yourself, your family, and your patients against serious diseases through on-time vaccination. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released in May 2020 found a troubling drop in routine childhood vaccinations as a result of families abiding by public health recommendations and staying at home. This caused an unfortunate result in many missed routine vaccinations.

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What About Workforce? August 2020 Update

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

2020–2021 Mentor Program

The New Hampshire Public Health Association is excited to begin recruiting mentors for the third cohort of our Mentor Program, which will begin in October 2020 and finish in May 2021. Our goal is to enhance professional paths of public health students and early career professionals in New Hampshire. Through the program, we aim to help strengthen the field of public health through recruitment, retention, and growth of strong and committed professionals.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: Public Health Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

written by Lisa Bujno, NHPHA President

Challenging times, trying times, uncertain times, unprecedented times… these words have been heard daily since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year. What do these words mean for us as public health professionals? How can we work to protect the public’s health in this new environment?

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NHPHA Intern Emily D'Antonio Takes On Food Insecurity

written by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

The NHPHA’s own intern, Emily D’Antonio, worked with Executive Director Joan Ascheim on a food insecurity project. Emily was a Nutrition and Wellness major at the University of New Hampshire and has just graduated with the class of 2020!

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What About Workforce? June 2020 Update

written by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

NHPHA Virtual Student Poster Session

As the annual meeting was cancelled this past April to keep everyone safe, we worked with students and our academic partners to move the student poster session to an online format. NHPHA is grateful to our academic partners for their help in planning this major adjustment and to the judges who volunteered to review and score the posters. We would especially like to thank the students who still submitted 21 posters from 5 schools while adapting to the many changes in their academic and personal lives.

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Summer Safety Tips for Children

written by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

It has been a different school year for children. Many children will remember this year as they were moved from the school buildings and had to learn from home. Summer is almost here, and there is still uncertainty about what September will look like and if children will be returning to school. This summer will also look different for children. As they social distance and as restrictions ease, they might reintegrate into their social groups with some restrictions. There is so much going on in our country at this time that we have to consider our children’s mental health as the priority.

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What About Workforce? May 2020 Update

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

NHPHA began the month by hosting a successful Career Panel Webinar. This webinar was aimed at students and early career professionals thinking about a career in public health and who want to learn more about career options. Thirty-seven participants joined the webinar from New Hampshire and beyond. Our panelists included Catherine Bardier, Vice President of Wellness and Population Health at New London Hospital; Meghan Farrell, Vice President of Community Engagement at New Futures; David LaFlamme, Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist for the State of New Hampshire; and Gwen Williams, Health and Licensing Officer for the City of Concord. They spoke with participants about their career trajectories and described a day in the life of their specific public health position. The question-and-answer segment provided participants with additional guidance on the various paths one can take in field of public health in pursuit of their ideal position. The webinar was well received and is recorded and available on our websitebhere.

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Many NH Department of Health and Human Services Programs and Services Available Online

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

New Hampshire families are currently experiencing challenges such as financial instability, food insecurity, and the stress of social isolation. The NH Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) is offering many services online to make sure children, families, and vulnerable adults remain healthy, safe, and connected during the COVID-19 emergency.

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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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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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