Thanks to all who attended Team up, Take Action 2021! To watch the recordings, please visit our YouTube channel page.

Team Up, Take Action Fall Forum:
Envisioning an Equitable Future through Public Health Strategies
November 4, 2021

Learning Objectives:

• Describe how our states’ responses to COVID revealed the need to address health equity challenges.
• Outline the strengths and weaknesses of the public health infrastructure of New Hampshire and of Vermont.
• Identify some initiatives that public health professionals and their partners can undertake to support the vision that has been outlined by our state health department leaders.

Keynote speaker: Tricia Tilley
MS Ed, Director, New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services

Director Tilley’s remarks centered around the theme that we need a strong foundation and only with that strong foundation can we be prepared to tackle the challenges we currently face and the challenges of the future. She talked about health disparities laid bare by the pandemic, strengths and weaknesses of the public health system in NH, and gave a sneak preview of where we’re going.

Watch here: (20 minutes)

Keynote speaker: Mark Levine

MD Commissioner of Health, Vermont Department of Health

Commissioner Levine talked about the evolution of public health priorities in VT and shared several visuals on upstream and downstream interventions to address social determinants and population health. One point he made was that when you look at the data you see the disparities are profound. The theme of his talk was that the vision must consistently and reliably be informed by health equity. He stated that this is the future of public health, and hopefully, we can enact this public health framework for reducing health inequities.

Watch here: (24 minutes)


3:30 - 3:40 Welcome, Overview, and Introductions
3:40 - 4:40 Keynote Presentations
4:40 - 5:30 Breakout: Team Up to Take Action
5:30 - 6:00 Reconvene: Take-Aways and Action Steps


Following the keynote speakers, participants went into virtual breakout rooms and discussed the following questions:

1) What about the speakers’ presentations resonated with you? Were there aspects that you strongly agree with or disagree with?
2) Are there examples of current or past programs that would serve as examples of ‘things that work’ that you would like the speaker to know about?
3) What do you need/what are barriers as a professional/tools to work on health equity? What solutions do you propose?

  • Collect data broken down by social determinants and make it accessible.
  • Create a universal EMR focused on health outcomes.
  • Create a model to bring together community partners and increase their voice/power.
  • Form multi-sector collaborations to improve how money is spent, joint programming, more efficient holistic care (i.e., encourage more community-based programs – avoid passing customers from one organization to the next, need one-stop shopping and support them through it all – and the funding model to support it).
  • Provide and encourage cultural competence training.
  • Improve government trust and re-establish the view of public health in a positive way.
  • Leverage legal and marketing professionals to be more creative in our messaging and communication (see Rescue Social Change).

Responses to Open-Ended Polling Questions:

Several items questions were posed to conference participants in the large group prior to closing remarks. Responses were typed into the "Chat" feature. A compilation of responses follows:

1. Provide at least one example of a program or policy idea that you would like the speaker to consider within the frame of the vision presented.

  • Housing First Programs
  • Planet Youth
  • Increased minimum wage to a living wage
  • Shifting program evaluation from widget productivity to client/population centered outcomes
  • Value-based payment models (upfront PMPM - type) for community organizations
  • Pull in non-traditional partners e.g. business and financial institutions.
  • Policy related to rural populations and health
  • Community health workers - from the population being served and integrated with a larger community health team

2. What is your biggest takeaway from Director Tilley’s keynote?

  • We are unfinished!
  • Cannot alone do this work. Must join together in a multisector, community-driven approach.
  • That the public health infrastructure in NH needs to be strengthened. They need to hire more ph workers
  • Build the foundation or infrastructure to be effective to meet chronic disease and other ongoing needs and large-scale catastrophes like the pandemic.
  • A consistent and sustainable statewide NH framework to deliver more expansive public health services in NH could stabilize the role of public health (and perception of the value of public health). Funding mechanisms for current public health networks don't support adequate services to reduce disparities (adult immunizations, environmental health, etc) OR hyper-local/regional population health programming that could move DEI efforts forward and demonstrate successful practices.

3. What is your biggest takeaway from Commissioner Levine’s keynote?

  • We need abundant collaboration!
  • There is much more to do.
  • We need to rebuild and sustain our public health infrastructure.
  • Linking key health outcome areas to social areas is key
  • SDH are key to addressing health inequity.
  • We have to address inequities as a major part of any health interventions.
  • That there is a great need for affordable and transitional housing for residents of VT especially those recovering from a SUD.

From both- let's move forward based on the lessons from the pandemic