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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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Alcohol Consumption During the Holidays

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

Holidays can be stressful, especially this year with all the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions to keep in mind. Many people increase their alcohol consumption from Thanksgiving to New Year’s for many reasons. People may binge drink without thinking about it, because they are on vacation, because it’s the holidays, because they are with family and friends, or because they are stressed over holiday travel or financial reasons. Binge drinking can be just as dangerous during the holidays as it is any other time of year. NHPHA wants everyone to have a happy and healthy holiday season, so please plan ahead to help you manage the anxiety of holiday preparations and keep a few things in mind:

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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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October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease including the importance of early detection and the growing number of women who are living with and after treatment.

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It's Time to Get Your Flu Shot!

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

An annual influenza (flu) vaccine is the best way to reduce your chances of getting the seasonal flu and spreading it to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 6 and older receive an annual flu vaccine. Each year, the CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as other partners, to ensure the highest safety standards for flu vaccines.

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Back to School: Are You and Your Kids Prepared?

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

As schools around the state, and the nation, transition back into the 2020-2021 school year, it is important to make sure your child and family is prepared. Although schools are taking different approaches to how and when they transition children back into the classroom, we still want our families to be prepared in case their child is going back into school this year. As you adjust to new schedules, we encourage you to take a few quick steps to keep your child safer during the possible event of an emergency or disaster during the school year.

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Preventing Youth Drug and Alcohol Use

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Chair

There’s no better time than today for youth drug prevention. We are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. It can feel overwhelming to spend more time at home with your loved ones. How do you manage remote learning, working from home, and keeping the peace and sanity of your home? For many people during this time, alcohol has been what they have sought out to cope with the changes brought on by the pandemic, but that does create problems as well. According to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, sales of alcohol jumped 13.51%, or $17.3 million, from March 1 to May 13, compared to the same time period last year. This can translate to youth watching their parents use alcohol as a means of coping with stress. It can also translate to more access to alcohol for minors. What can you do to practice prevention messaging at home? Here are some tips: 

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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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Back to School During the Time of COVID-19

by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Chair

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended so many rites of passage. One of these important transitions is back to school. A time when parents and children prepare to change routines from summer fun to school curricula. Transitioning to a new grade is hard enough when we are not in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. So what can parents do to help their children do their best and lessen their anxiety and stress during this new school year? Here are a few things that might help you have a successful remote learning experience:

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2020 Greater Nashua Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Conference

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

During this challenging time, families may be spending more time in their homes as they continue to follow public health recommendations by practicing healthy and safe behaviors. Children in the greater Nashua region may be at higher risk for lead poisoning during the COVID-19 pandemic as over 50% of homes in our region were built before 1978, the year that lead paint was banned.

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September Is National Preparedness Month!

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

Every year, National Preparedness Month (NPM) reminds all of us that we must take action to prepare ourselves and our families for disasters that can impact our communities. This year’s overarching theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today." Throughout the month, preparedness staff in the State of New Hampshire (NH) will be engaging with community members with the goal of educating them about preparedness and how to take action to be more prepared. As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better time to be involved this September.

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Resources for Suicide Prevention

by JoAnne Miles-Holmes, Injury Prevention Program Manager, NH DHHS, Maternal and Child Health Section

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. After months of social distancing and isolation, people who may be a risk of suicide may feel more disconnected from their family and friends. Staying connected by social media, telephone, email, and video conferencing can help reduce feelings of isolation. Watch and listen for changes in your loved one’s mood, changes in frequency of contact, loss in interest in things they enjoy, and/or messaging about self-destructive feelings. These may be warning signs of suicidal behavior.

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What About Workforce? September 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 to focus on health topics of critical importance to the communities of New Hampshire and Vermont. This event is a unique collaboration between health systems, community partners, and public health professionals. 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 during the mornings of November 10, 17, and 19 with a special focus area each day related to COVID and equity issues. Watch for more details soon!

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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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