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NH Food Access Coalition February 2021 Update

by Tiffany Dodier

The NH Food Access Coalition is full speed ahead with its efforts to increase access to nutritious affordable food for those most in need in NH. We already have a call to action for NHPHA members in sending letters of support for key legislation that will increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for SNAP participants in NH.

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We Are Public Health: Teen Dating Violence

by Lisa Vasquez, Co-Chair, NHPHA Communications Committee

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Teen dating violence doesn’t just affect teens; it affects families and communities as well. It is important to talk with teens about the signs of dating violence, including not just physical violence. Talk with them about what constitutes a healthy relationship. Discuss with your teens how unhealthy relationships may be portrayed on television shows and movies as well as other media forms. Create open communication with your teen so that they can feel comfortable talking to you about any issues that they may have. Teen dating violence has long-lasting repercussions in the lives of those who experience it. Teens who experience dating violence may have higher experiences of substance use, suicide attempts, and other mental health–related illnesses later in life. Teens who experience dating violence may also take those unhealthy patterns in relationships into other relationships later in life. Adolescents ages 12 to 19 experience a high rate of sexual and physical assaults. It is important to talk with our adolescents about this issue to prevent it, and in cases where it is occurring, services are available. The best way to stop teen dating violence is to talk about it and make sure our teens are informed and have the healthy skills necessary to have healthy relationships. As they are teenagers, those early relationships will shape the future of how they see themselves in relation to others.

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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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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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