NHPHA Public Health Stories: What does public health mean to you?
March 2012 Member Spotlight - Beth Boucher, NHPHA Program Assistant
How long have you been doing public health work?
After graduating from college in 2003, I joined AmeirCorps to be a City Year New Hampshire Corps member. My team worked with middle school students at Hillside Junior High in Manchester on project such as lunch clubs for sixth grade students joining “main stream” kids with those in the ESOL/ELL classes to work on fun community-building activities, helped improve reading literacy/reading levels for those falling behind their peers, and introduced a Service-Learning curriculum within a seventh grade cohort with the hopes of improving community involvement and sense of belonging. After City Year, I stayed on as and AmeriCorps volunteer for two additional years working in Boulder County, Colorado primarily with recent immigrant communities at the middle and high school level, and also with k-5 communities incorporating Service Learning in to the classrooms. So, if one counts what I’ve done with AmeriCorps as “public health”, then I’ve been involved in the work for 9 years.
I’m also a massage therapist (6 years); most recently at an outpatient rehabilitation clinic.
If the above doesn’t count, then I have been a student of public health since August 2010, and have been with NHPHA for 5 months.
How did you first get involved with NHPHA? With public health work?
During a break from a first-year, second semester course at UNH-Manchester’s MPH program, I ran in to a representative from NHPHA who told me about NHPHA, what it could offer me as a student of public health (i.e. networking and experience in the field before graduating). It was only $25, so I joined as the cost-benefit analysis seemed to work out in favor of doing so.
After joining the Public Policy Committee for NHPHA, I decided that I needed to be more involved with professional public health “stuff” so I quit one of my jobs and applied for the Program Assistant position with NHPHA.
What do you do as a public health “champion” or worker?
For better or for worse, the NHPHA is stuck with me as the Program Assistant. I, along with the many long-term volunteers the organization has, are determined to increase awareness of public health happenings and promote positive change in the public health realm with our members, policymakers, and the public.
My goal is to find out what NHPHA can do as an organization, and to do that well.
What are 2 things you would tell a person in NH wanting to know more about how public health benefits them locally?
1. We live in a place where we are not worried that we will become ill from drinking the public water. If we’re not on the public water system, then we have many ways to test our well water (that are free) and ways to make it safe (that are affordable).
2. We have safety measures, personal protective equipment for example, that are becoming standard at the workplace to decrease injury while one is working.
What do you like the most about the work that you do?
I have met some incredible people who are doing hard, thankless work for the benefit of the public’s health. I am inspired daily and am grateful to be surrounded by such selfless passion.
Tell us about yourself!
Program Assistant, NHPHA
Massage Therapist, Catholic Medical Center Outpatient Rehabilitation Center
I like to read, paint, walk with my dog, sleep, hike, sing, and love to have friends and family at my home.