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We Are Public Health: COVID-19 Vaccine 10% Equity Allocation

by: Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communication Committee Co-Chair

New Hampshire has allocated 10% of COVID-19 vaccinations that come into the state for underserved populations as an effort to address inequity in vaccine distribution. This decision was made looking at the COVID-19 social vulnerability index which highlights how underserved populations have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, hospitalization and death due to COVID-19 complications. The equity allotment will be distributed through the regional public health networks.

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Workforce Development Update: February 2021

by: Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

Mentor Program
On February 10, the NHPHA Public Health Mentor Program met again for the first time since October. We began the day with a presentation by Southern New Hampshire University  Director of Diversity Programs, Kayla Page, who spoke with the group about defining, reflecting, and working toward cultural integration. Participants said they enjoyed the presentation and wished they had more time. NHPHA was able to get great feedback about how the program is going so far. Mentors have helped mentees with job applications, mock interviews, networking opportunities for mentees with their colleagues, as well as guidance through professional and personal changes as we all adjust our plans due to Covid-19. The day ended with an opportunity for mentees to get to know other mentors, and make additional professional connections. Going forward, the mentor program will be expanding with additional options for meetings and activities. In early March there will be a training for the program with New Futures about policy and advocacy, and an additional training in April, before we all come back together again for the Celebration in May.

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March is National Colorectal Awareness Month!

by: Lynne Clement

Colorectal cancer refers to cancer in the colon and/or rectum, or both. Most colorectal cancers develop first as polyps, which are abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous if they are not removed. Colorectal cancer is very treatable when it is discovered early.

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Special Enrollment Period for Health Insurance

by: Jayme Simoes, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

Under an Executive Order issued by President Biden, a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for New Hampshire individuals and families for Marketplace healthcare insurance coverage will is running from February 15, 2021 and through May 15, 2021. Under this special enrollment period New Hampshire is one of 38 states covered by the federal exchange.

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NH Food Access Coalition March 2021 Update

by: Tiffany Dodier

The NH Food Access Coalition was able to celebrate its first success in the month of February for its work to support passage of senate bill 98, relative to the SNAP incentive program, out of the NH Senate Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee with a 5-0 vote. This bill makes $150,000 of appropriations for the biennium ending June 30, 2023 to implement SNAP incentive programs. These programs give beneficiaries of SNAP a dollar-for-dollar match for fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmer's markets, farm stands, mobile markets, community supported agriculture sites, grocery stores, or other participating direct food retailers.

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NHPHA Legislative Policy Update

by: Joan Ascheim, Former NHPHA Executive Director with contributions from JJ Smith and Tiffany Dodier

Members of the NHPHA policy committee have been active meeting with members of the legislature, the governor’s office and with partners in support of our policy agenda.  We have provided testimony on our priority bills and others bills of importance to public health.   A summary of actions and bill status follows. 

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Inside NHPHA: Endurance and Leadership

by: Lisa Bujno

Last March I said to a coworker, who was working long hours to prepare for the impending COVID 19 pandemic, “Keep in mind, this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint”. Of course, it felt like a sprint at the time but as the months unfolded, the stress of the pandemic response marathon was evident throughout the healthcare and public health systems. At some point the initial adrenalin subsided but we kept going. Now we are working hard to deploy COVID vaccine to the population – another long haul and another leg in this crazy race.

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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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Black History Month

by Lisabritt Solsky, VP Strategy & Corporate Development at Granite State Independent Living and NHPHA Board Member

The NHPHA has committed to centering equity in its current platform. As such, recognition and careful consideration of Black History Month is merited. This year’s theme is The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), which founded Black History Month 95 years ago, notes, “Not only are individual black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the black family at large. While the role of the black family has been described by some as a microcosm of the entire race, its complexity as the ‘foundation’ of African American life and history can be seen in numerous debates over how to represent its meaning and typicality from a historical perspective—as slave or free, as patriarchal or matriarchal/matrifocal, as single-headed or dual-headed household, as extended or nuclear, as fictive kin or blood lineage, as legal or common law, and as black or interracial, etc. Variation appears, as well, in discussions on the nature and impact of parenting, childhood, marriage, gender norms, sexuality, and incarceration. The family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present.”

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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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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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