February 2021 NHPHA Legislative Policy Update

by Joan Ascheim, MSN, former NHPHA Executive Director

Virtual Testimony

The legislature is in full swing via Zoom, like everything else these days. Testifying is a bit different, but advocates can submit testimony via email and testify using Zoom links provided for each hearing. Should you want to testify on a bill, you need to submit notice in advance using the links on the general court website about halfway down on the right on the home page. New Futures is conducting trainings on remote advocacy on February 3 at 3 p.m. and the budget process on February 10 at 3 p.m. The link to their training page is here.

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February Is American Heart Month

by Lynne Clement, Communications Specialist, DPHS

February is American Heart Month, making it an ideal time to think about heart health and to learn the major risk factors for preventing heart disease. The focus of this year’s American Heart Month is on high blood pressure, a major risk factor for developing heart disease. High blood pressure is very common and usually has no symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as the silent killer. The only way to know if you have it is to get your blood pressure measured.

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What About Workforce? February 2021 Update

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

This month, the NHPHA Public Health Mentor Program will finally come together as a whole group again, virtually, after four months of one-on-one meetings. We hope mentor and mentee pairs have enjoyed learning from one another. NHPHA is looking forward to the opportunity to reconnect as a group and get to know each other better. We have an informative and engaging afternoon planned, featuring speaker Kayla Page, Director of Diversity Programs at Southern New Hampshire University. Kayla has been an integral advisor for NHPHA’s equity work. We’ll be discussing intercultural development and working on defining, reflecting, and toward cultural integration. We are also preparing additional monthly meetings for the program so that we can continue to learn and network. 

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COVID-19 Equity Task Force Update: February 2021

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force continues to meet every two weeks, and we want to keep you up-to-date on activities. The task force is convened as a partnership of NHPHA and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services. The task force is a collective of close to 60 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.

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NHPHA Memberships Are Mission Critical: How You Can Help

written by Nick Zaharias, NHPHA Consultant

Are you aware that your membership in the New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA) is absolutely critical to the NHPHA’s ability to accomplish our important mission? In fact, 42% of our non-grant annual budget is provided by annual membership dues. Without you and/or your organization, we would not be able to function, nor could we positively impact the public health of the Granite State as well as we do. Thank you so much for your support.

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Our Future Is on the Line as NH Struggles to Vaccinate for COVID

written by Jayme H. Simões, President of Louis Karno & Company Communications and NHPHA Board Member

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in New Hampshire has been slow so far. Our state is not alone in struggling. Vaccines are in short supply and citizens are confused by conflicting information. More concerning, there is still much to be done to address apprehension around the vaccines, making achieving herd immunity in 2021 a pipe dream. 

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We Are Public Health: 2021 and COVID-19

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

Finally, 2020 is gone, and here we are on the other side in 2021, yet still dealing with COVID-19. Recently we have seen a substantial increase in cases due to holiday gatherings. The number of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths has increased. Public health professionals are expecting numbers to continue increasing after the holidays. Vaccines have arrived with anticipation by some and trepidation by others.

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Inside NHPHA: A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership: NHPHA Highlights of 2020 - Looking Forward to 2021

by Lisa Bujno, NHPHA President

“The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him, but the number of people he serves.”

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January Is National Radon Action Month

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

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COVID-19 Equity Task Force Addresses Vaccine Equity

by Joan Ascheim, former NHPHA Executive Director

The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force continues to meet every two weeks, and we want to keep you up-to-date on activities. The task force is convened as a partnership of NHPHA and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services. The task force is a collective of close to 60 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.

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NHPHA Policy Committee Update January 2021

written by Joan Ascheim, former NHPHA Executive Director

As the holiday season is upon us, so too is the ramp-up to the beginning of the legislative session. Bills have been filed now by both the House and the Senate. We understand that there will likely be some combining of bills to decrease the total number during the session. How the legislature will meet is still unclear, but we are excited about our policy agenda for the upcoming session. The NHPHA Public Policy Committee is actively reviewing LSRs as they are filed and revised and will have a more complete list in January.

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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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