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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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