written by Lisa Vasquez, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

Lisa VasquezSeptember was Recovery Month, and New Hampshire celebrated big this year with many events across the state. On August 29, across the state, an event was held to raise awareness of substance use disorder and suicide titled 10,000 Candles for New Hampshire. This event took place in Nashua, Keene, Derry, Manchester, and Concord to highlight that these issues affect everyone throughout New Hampshire. Each event presented local speakers who talked about the impact substance use, mental health, and suicide had in their lives.

We Are Public Health 1On September 21 in Manchester, the Rally4Recovery New Hampshire Event was held to celebrate all the people who have entered recovery and remember those who were not able to. In Nashua on September 19, a Girls' Night In event took place at Revive Recovery Resource Center for women in recovery to have a chance to unwind with chair massages, hair styling, nail station, music, raffles, and food. All of these events have one thing in common: They brought people together. Connection is a large part of recovery, both in terms of substance use and mental health. We encourage people to connect and build community because working together is the only way we can tackle the social issues we face as a state.

We Are Public Health is a new section that requires input from you. If you are a NHPHA member and hold a similar mission, vision, and/or values, we ask you to share what is happening within your public health region that exemplifies public health. We want this new section to highlight the work being conducted every day by NHPHA members to inspire and improve the public's health. Please contact Lisa Vasquez at VasquezL@NashuaNH.gov if there is something you or your organization is doing to showcase public health in action at the community or state level.

 

Joan AscheimInside NHPHA 

A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership

Teaming Up for Collaboration and Learning

written by Joan Ascheim, MSN, Executive Director

Jose and GroupOn October 2, 2019, NHPHA, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and the Vermont Public Health Association joined forces to host Team Up, Take Action: A Conference on Partnering to Improve Community Health, with the theme Building Bridges between Communities and Healthcare. The conference drew more than 200 participants to the lovely Hanover Inn for networking and an exciting day of professional development. We welcomed José T. Montero, MD, MCHDS, and his humor back to New Hampshire as the keynote speaker. Dr. Montero shared strategies for partnerships and leadership to address population health. Participants had opportunities to attend skills-building workshops in the morning relative to community-based participatory research, change management, health equity, and community health planning. Following lunch, Dr. Montero moderated a lively discussion on health equity and population health. Afternoon workshops focused on LGBTQ+ and quality care, health equity partnerships, food access, and adverse childhood experiences.

The day highlighted the innovative public health work being carried out by dedicated and talented public health and health care professionals in both Vermont and New Hampshire communities. Slide presentations for most sessions and more photos from the event can be found on our website here.

 

 

 

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

CapitalAreaBLEChildhood lead poisoning continues to be a persistent, environmentally mediated pediatric health problem in New Hampshire. In 2018, 635 children in NH younger than age 6 had blood lead levels of 5 µg/dL or more, which is the recommended level for public health action by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. As of April 2018, legislative changes made to NH’s lead laws now require all NH children to have two blood lead level (BLL) tests, at age 1 and again at age 2.

The NH Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) and NH Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs are pleased to introduce the 2018 Regional Lead Exposure Data Briefs. The Lead Exposure Data Briefs summarize childhood lead testing rates and blood lead elevations at the town level and for each Regional Public Health Network (PHN). Also included is information on town level risk factors for childhood lead poisoning, such as childhood poverty and age of housing.

The data briefs arm healthcare and public health professionals with key information for identifying towns in most need of outreach and resources. The maps identify the towns where the largest number of children have elevated blood lead tests. The data tables show which towns have low testing rates plus additional information about risk factors. In addition, towns with low testing rates and high risk factors highlight opportunities for future public health interventions.

Find out which towns in New Hampshire need additional resources and education to help protect children from lead poisoning. Access reports on NH Health WISDOM.

 

New FuturesThanks to the help and support of hundreds of advocates, the 2019 legislative session was overwhelmingly successful for New Futures in advancing public health in the Granite State. New Futures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates, educates, and collaborates to improve the health and wellness of all New Hampshire residents through policy change. Our collective efforts have led to the defeat and passage of critical bills and the eventual agreement on a state budget that invests in many public health priorities.

A final budget deal was reached the last week of September, and Gov. Sununu signed it into law on Thursday, September 26. This bipartisan compromise addresses several important areas of need facing the health and wellness of Granite Staters. This includes increased Medicaid reimbursement rates, which are essential to building a workforce better equipped to address the ongoing addiction and mental health crises, support for critical programs and services including substance use and mental treatment, a comprehensive children's system of care, and early childhood supports like Medicaid home visiting.

In addition to the state budget, lawmakers acted on a number of bills impacting the health of our state. See below to learn more about some of the standout bills that New Futures followed over the course of the session.

2019 Legislative Session New Futures Victories

HB 481: Marijuana Commercialization (RETAINED IN COMMITTEE!)

This irresponsible legislation would have fully commercialized the retail sale of marijuana and all high potency marijuana products without regard for the health of our youth and communities. Youth Marijuana use, when young brains are developing, can have long-term negative health effects and can increase risk for substance misuse later in life. The commercialization of Marijuana raises complex public health and safety concerns for our state and would threaten New Hampshire’s quality of life. Thanks to the strong advocacy from many partners, our lawmakers recognized that it was the wrong bill at the wrong time for New Hampshire and they voted to retain it in committee.

passed Stamp Article 201505041749HB 511: Youth Access to Vaping (PASSED!)

This bill adds vaping to the existing law restricting youth access to tobacco products and restricting vaping indoors. This legislation will reduce the negative impacts of vaping on youth in New Hampshire. Exposure to nicotine or marijuana via e-cigarettes can cause addiction or harm young people’s developing brain. This bill was signed into law by Gov. Sununu.

 

SB 290: Granite Advantage Health Care Program (PASSED!)

This bill takes steps to make the Granite Advantage Health Care Program, or Medicaid expansion, more accessible by modifying the work and community engagement requirement and allowing for the suspension of the requirement under certain circumstances. This bill was signed into law by the Governor on July 8, and the work requirement was suspended that same day.

SB 4: Codifying the Affordable Care Act (PASSED!)

This legislation codifies in state law elements of the federal Affordable Care Act. Amidst the ongoing uncertainty around the federal law, this bill ensures access to health insurance coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, among other provisions. SB 4 was signed into law by the Governor.

SB 274: Medicaid Home Visiting (PASSED!)

This bill removes barriers to accessing Medicaid home visiting, a program that provides supports and services to families and children in their own homes, where they are most comfortable. It allows more children and parents access to quality home visiting services, which supports and strengthen families and enables us all to thrive. Gov. Sununu signed this bill into law on July 19.

SB 261: Grand Families Access to Services (PASSED!)

This bill gives families access to quality childcare by ensuring grandparents who are the primary caretakers of their grandchild be provided with childcare as a preventive or protective service. This bill was signed into law by the Governor.

Thank you to all supporters and advocates for all your work during the 2019 legislative session. We are looking forward to a great 2020!

 

Recently NHPHA President Marcella Bobinsky and NH Medical Society President Tessa LaFortune-Greenberg published an opinion piece in The Concord Monitor on the importance of vaccinations at our borders. The following is an excerpt; you can read the entire piece here.

"With the recent unprecedented influx of migrant children and families at the southern U.S. border comes unprecedented challenges. A major challenge is the prevention of infectious diseases both among those seeking refuge and among those caring for them.

From Sept. 1, 2018, to Aug. 22, 2019, 898 confirmed or probable cases of mumps in adult migrants were reported from 57 detention facilities in the United States, and an additional 33 cases occurred among staff members. While approximately 150 mumps outbreaks and 16,000 cases have been reported in the United States since 2015, most often in close-contact settings, this is the first report of mumps outbreaks in detention facilities.

The prevention and control of outbreaks of infectious diseases among detained migrants is of utmost importance with the 2019-20 influenza (flu) season about to begin. Every year outside of detention facilities in the United States, millions of children get sick with flu, and thousands of children are hospitalized, and some children die from flu."

survey 5048303Thanks to those of you who took the time to complete our annual member survey for 2018! We take your feedback seriously and use it to improve our services to you. Member satisfaction remains high and seems to benefit members personal professional development. Suggested activities that could add value to being an NHPHA member included: events outside the workday, more webinars, more training and a more robust annual meeting.

You told us you value the opportunity to connect with your colleagues in-person and that our events are a good value for the price. Our advocacy work continues to be an important consideration for your decision to be a member. Over 40 percent of respondents themselves engaged in advocacy activities with the most common activity being contacting a legislator.

You have a great interest in learning more about key public health issues including social determinants of health, healthcare system reform, working with vulnerable populations, and more.

Click here for the full survey results. Also be on the outlook for next year’s survey in the next month or so!

 

written by Lisa Vasquez, MS, CPS, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

LClement DPHSNHPHA has talented members who work and participate in various aspects of public health. This month, we want to highlight Lynne Clement. Lynne is a new member to the Communications Committee and has already amazed us with her knowledge and expertise in marketing and media production. We met Lynne during NHPHA's Persuasive Communications Messaging Workshop in March 2019, where she expressed an interest in the communication committee. We are thrilled to have her.

Lynne is a communications specialist at the State of New Hampshire, Division of Public Health Services. She has worked at the Division four years and develops and maintains communications plans for all public health programs within the Division. If you have seen or received communication materials from the Division of Public Health Services in the past four years, you have seen her work. Lynne has an MBA from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, and has over 20 years of marketing experience.

When talking to Lynne, her passion and knowledge for her work shows. She’s always excited and willing to discuss how data can be used to inform programs and initiatives or how to add links to Instagram. It’s amazing how many public health professionals are excited about data or how little some of us know about social media. Communications is a pivotal part of public health because without accurate and understandable communications, it would be hard to disseminate information across communities. There are so many things to take into consideration when we discuss communication materials: things like language and educational level of potential readers and how people view the information we put out, whether it is through social media, radio, and/or newspaper. These are all things that Lynne takes into consideration on a daily basis to make sure information gets to who needs it and is understood and retained. Change in risk perception and health behavior can occur with simple and consistent messaging. Thanks, Lynne, for increasing our awareness of the ins and outs of public health communications, and welcome to NHPHA! We look forward to our ongoing work together.

 

How Are They Linked? How Do They Impact the Granite State?    

written by Matt Cahillane and Lynne Clement, NH Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health Services

How does climate change affect public health?

We all know how weather affects our personal health: We feel too hot or too cold, slip on ice, crash our car in a storm, or rush inside to avoid rain and lightning. It is less clear how a warming world will affect the public health in our community, region, or world. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, warming the earth and setting off a cascade of health effects that are often difficult to predict. The most recent National Climate Assessment chapter on the northeast region of the United States paints a picture of how our health is changing in a warming world. We hearty Northeasterners are experiencing longer pollen seasons that trigger allergies and asthma; extreme temperatures that lead to more heat stress; heavy rainfall that leads to floods and injury; and longer tick seasons that may lead to more vectorborne illness such as Lyme disease. 

The mental health outcomes associated with extreme weather events, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have been studied for large events like Superstorm Sandy. In the Northeast, people are used to a climate with more temperate summers and may not be able to adapt well to the extreme temperatures. A recent study of heat-related hospitalizations and deaths in New England suggests that even a rise in moderate heat (above 80 degrees) is associated with more hospitalizations, especially among those with chronic disease conditions.

How can public health professionals address climate change?

BRACEThe best way to prepare for a wide variety of extreme weather impacts is to build resilience at both the individual and community levels. To help, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a five-step framework for Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE).  The BRACE model utilizes the public health improvement cycle: Begin by assessing vulnerabilities, and then estimate health impacts from climate and extreme weather, explore evidence-based interventions, build a realistic plan for your target population, and, finally, evaluate the impact. The tricky part for public health professionals is linking health effects directly to changes in climate versus other driving factors such as demographics, changes in land use such as converting farmland to residential, access to health care, and other environmental factors. Scientists working on climate and health are focused on developing new methods, collecting data, analyzing the findings, and putting the results into action. Our success in reducing health impacts related to climate changes will depend upon collaboration with partners across sectors – such as housing, transportation, meteorology, and emergency preparedness.

How do you communicate about climate change?

You may have noticed that many climate messages use complex data or threatening images to sell the public on taking action. While effective to raise awareness at the beginning of an information campaign, this fearful message can also cause people to tune out the news or reject the premise. As an alternative, George Mason University has created the Center for Climate Change Communications to develop a new approach in communicating this complex topic in a more user-friendly way. The center’s approach is to use simple messages that reflect community values, delivered by a respected authority (such as health professionals), and repeat the message often through different media.

A good example of a simpler and more positive message would be: 

“Climate change is real, it’s us, it’s bad, and it’s solvable.”  

Let us break down the messaging.

First, trusted experts help us understand that climate change is real and that its impacts are being felt right now. Examples in the Northeast include the loss of snow cover, the longer growing season, the shorter winters, and the rise in the number of severe weather events and floods.

Second, we know that climate change is caused by greenhouse gases from more people, using more fuel, in a new energy-intensive system of food, transportation, and international trade. Examples in the Northeast include the growth of suburban areas and the increase in traffic and development. By knowing this, we can take responsibility in a positive way and change policy around the way we use fuel and release air pollutants.

Third, the situation is serious, demands attention, and is on par with other national and global challenges. Examples in the Northeast include the impact of super-charged hurricanes, a rise in extreme precipitation, and the arrival of new vectors and pathogens.

Fourth, the issue of climate change is solvable because we know how to both adapt to and mitigate the problems. Examples of effective mitigation strategies in the Northeast include emissions trading programs and the rapid growth in solar and wind power. Examples of effective adaptations include a project that trains people to prepare for higher temperatures or prepare for extreme weather emergencies.

What are we doing to protect the public’s health from climate change? 

To mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases, New Hampshire joined with other Northeast states to create the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, in an effort to reduce emissions and become more fuel-efficient. The State of New Hampshire also developed a Climate Action Plan that addresses both adaptation to change by building a new energy economy and reducing emissions. The plan also includes strategies to strengthen our roads, bridges, and shoreline against extreme weather and storm surge.

To adapt to the health impacts of climate, we need a plan of action. The NH Department of Health and Human Services established a Climate and Health Program to assess and act on the health impacts with the help of CDC guidance and funding. The program brings together partners from across the state to gather information, pursue research on climate and weather hazards, and, most recently, fund regional public health networks to design and implement adaptation plans at the local level. The greater Monadnock area has taken on an emergency preparedness project to train older adults on individual and community preparedness and raise awareness of risks via an information campaign. The Seacoast Public Health Network has taken on a tick-safe project to train camp counselors, increase medical education on tickborne disease, assess tick habitat, and change repellent use policies.

Where do we go from here? 

Public health professionals need to integrate climate change into long-term planning. As we develop solutions, we also have a duty to acknowledge that health equity and social justice are important to consider when designing interventions that affect at-risk populations. We need to engage with community leaders and the affected populations to ensure that they are heard and involved in developing and implementing long-range plans that will affect their lives and health.

In a way, the answer to the challenge of climate communications question is straightforward. When you are out in the community doing good public health work, the issue of climate change may come up. In those moments, be realistic about the tough challenges ahead and let people know we have positive solutions.

 

Inside NHPHA 

A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA LeadershipMarcella Bobinsky resized

NHPHA Board President Presents Strategic Planning Results

by Marcella Bobinsky, Board President

When a Board president mentions the phrase "strategic planning retreat,” the response is often the same: Heads drop, eyes roll, and arms fold across chests. Yet, Board members usually rally and step up to the opportunity to assess previous accomplishments and mishaps, review our current state of affairs, and look forward to a future that is fraught with uncertainty and overflowing with opportunity.

This June, New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA) Board members committed to a day of planning. The process, led by past member, former President of NHPHA, and current APHA Executive Board Member Jeanie Holt, was upbeat and stimulating. We had the benefit of workplans that had been rigorously developed at our previous strategic planning sessions and maintained by Executive Director Joan Ascheim as well as recent interviews with key stakeholders. And we had the vision and knowledge of our broad base of current Board members.

In general, the Board members present and our stakeholders expressed the opinion that the past three years have been successful in many key growth areas, leading us to expand on current critical objectives. The following draft strategic objectives are being developed by the Board and will be ready for publication in January. If you have comments, please send them to info@nhpha.org.

* * *

NHPHA Strategic Objectives

Because NHPHA is a member-driven organization and because we seek to gain knowledge and leadership from public health professionals in all aspects of the field, NHPHA chooses to:

1) Expand the Membership Base and Member Engagement

Because: a great number of public health professionals are retiring, New Hampshire needs new competency-based professionals who have had the opportunity to interact with all aspects of the public health field and gain experience, and more New Hampshire schools are offering public health degrees, NHPHA chooses to:

2) Strengthen the Workforce through Professional Development

Members and strategic partners tell us that NHPHA can have an impact on the public’s perception of public health. The association can impact policy, opinion, and general knowledge. We can use the association’s capacity to generate action and collaboration through various media. NHPHA will:

3) Advance Public Health through Strategic Communications

The association is proficient at advocating for health in all policies, collaborating with partners to develop policy statement and educating policy makers. The association is known as a nonpartisan voice and a statewide leader for public health in the state. Therefore, we will continue to:

4) Champion Public Health Policy and Advocacy

In order to accomplish the mission, goals, and objectives of the association; meet the requirements of a not-for-profit charitable organization in New Hampshire; and meet the requirements of our donors, funding organizations, and members, the association must:

5) Implement a Sustainable Economic Plan

… and in order to operate in a manner that maximizes resources, meet targets and timeframes, and achieve desired outcomes, NHPHA will:

6) Operate a High-Performing Organization

Because we have made an organizational commitment to addressing inequities; have equity as an organizational value; do not yet have a shared understanding of equity concepts and vocabulary; do not regularly reach out to communities of color; and want to be committed to speaking out about racism, inequity, and their impact on individuals, communities, and our state, the Board of Directors will undertake a yearlong learning process to better understand how we will develop foundational objectives to be added to all of the strategic imperatives above. Within the next three years, NHPHA will:

7) Create an Organizational Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The NHPHA Board looks forward to working with its members to realize the goals and objectives put forth in the strategic plan. We trust that you will see our efforts unfold as we continue the important work of your membership organization.

 

With prolonged heat and humidity expected throughout the state in the coming days, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reminds people to keep cool to avoid heat-related illness.

practice heat safety“People should take precautions to prevent heat-related illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke when temperatures are high,” said Leigh Cheney, Director of the DHHS Emergency Services Unit. “Seniors, young children and those with chronic health conditions are especially vulnerable to heat exposure. We urge people to watch for signs of heat-related illness, and know where they can find relief from the heat in their communities.”

Residents seeking information on cooling-related resources in towns and cities throughout New Hampshire are encouraged to call 2-1-1.

The following tips can help prevent heat-related illness:

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day (between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and take regular breaks from physical activity.
  • Wear sunscreen and loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to help keep cool.
  • Never leave children, seniors, pets, or people with health conditions in a parked vehicle, even briefly. Temperatures can become dangerous within a few minutes.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially seniors and people with a chronic illness, to see if they need assistance.
  • Use air conditioning to cool down. People who do not have an air conditioner can go to an air-conditioned public building, such as a public library or shopping mall, for a few hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids – don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. Water is best. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
  • Be aware that some medicines affect the body's ability to sweat and stay cool. Do NOT stop taking medication unless instructed to do so by your healthcare provider.

When the body is unable to cool itself sufficiently by sweating, heat exhaustion can result. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, or flushed skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; fatigue. If you are experiencing heat exhaustion, drink cool beverages, seek air conditioning, rest, and remove heavy clothing. If left untreated, heat stroke can result.

Heat stroke is life-threatening. Symptoms of heat stroke include red skin that is hot to the touch; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. The body temperature may rise dramatically, and the skin may feel dry. Move someone experiencing heat stroke to a cool place and seek emergency medical assistance.

For more information on resources available in your community, call 2-1-1. For more information on excessive heat, view the Excessive Heat Factsheet. For more information on heat-related illnesses, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For updates on weather conditions, visit the National Weather Service.

extremeheat

 

Inside NHPHA 

A Monthly Column Written by NHPHA Leadership

NH Gives Wrap-Up and Thank You!

written by Joan Ascheim, MSN, Executive Director

 

On June 11-12, the New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA) joined 275 nonprofits to participate in NH Gives, 24 hours of online fundraising. During our second year participating in the event, we increased our fundraising goal and expanded our activities to engage members in the event. We were successful in surpassing our previous year’s earnings and reached 62% of our more ambitious goal for 2019. We were also in the top 15% for number of donors and 18% for funds raised. More importantly, this was a tremendous opportunity to engage our members and the public as well as raise awareness of NHPHA and, in particular this year, our workforce development initiatives.

Prior to the event, we produced testimonial videos of one of our mentors, Katie Bush, and mentee Maria Walawender, who spoke to the value of our Public Health Mentor Program. These videos were expertly edited by our Board Secretary Michael Reaves and Southern New Hampshire University student Aisha Khiyaty. Visit our YouTube page for these terrific videos!

NH Gives 2During the event we were joined in the office by dedicated volunteers, including board members NHPHA President Marcella Bobinsky, NHPHA Board Secretary Michael Reaves, and NHPHA Board member Lisa Vasquez, who helped contact potential donors. Member Gail Tudor, new member Sophie LaRochelle, and students Adaeze Okorie and Aisha Khiyaty assisted in outreach through social media and wrote thank-you notes to donors. We all enjoyed pizza together, were live on Facebook, and rang a cowbell for each donation secured. It was our own mini-social media/telethon and a lot of fun. We also took and posted “unselfies” noting our reasons for supporting public health. Thank you to our board for 100% donor participation. Many thanks to our members for showing your support through your generous donations. Your contributions will support our ongoing workforce development offerings.

 Emily unselfie

 

NHPHA recently published a letter to the editor regarding the proposed NH budget in two newspapers, The Eagle-Tribune and Seacoastonline.com. Click on the links to read the letter.

 

By Jim Edson, Program Coordinator, Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) Injury Prevention Program

Kayak DHSwimming is summer’s most popular activity, and New Hampshire residents are fortunate that their swimming options range from the Atlantic Ocean to freshwater ponds, lakes, and rivers. As you prepare to enjoy the water, it’s important to remember these safety tips to keep you and your children safe.

Nationally, 43 percent of children and teens drown in open water versus 38 percent, who drown in pools and hot tubs. Nine percent drown in bathtubs, and 10 percent drown from other causes. In the U.S., drowning is the second most common cause of unintentional death for individuals between ages 1 and 14, after car accidents.1

Drowning typically looks like nothing out of the ordinary is happening. When we think of drowning, we think of movies where the person is on their stomach. But they typically remain upright in the water and often don’t appear to be in distress. If you suspect someone is drowning, you should immediately check if:

  • They look at you with a blank stare or have glassy eyes;
  • Their head is low in the water;
  • They can’t verbally respond to you; or
  • You wave to them and they can’t wave back.

Most drownings in New Hampshire happen in open water or nontraditional swimming areas, such as swimming holes or rivers where kids jump off a cliff or swing from a rope. Riptides in the ocean are another hazard. Most beach areas typically have flags or warning signs, but you should also ask a lifeguard about swimming conditions.

Another cause of drowning is hypothermia. If someone falls into the water, especially in March, April, and May when water temperatures are still between 40 and 50 degrees, it takes just two to three minutes for hypothermia to set in. If that happens, you can’t move, so you’re not able to self-rescue. If you’re wearing a life jacket, you have a chance to get to shore or to stay above water long enough for someone to help you.

Safety Tips for Open Water

  1. Watch kids in and around water with no distractions (no cellphones).
  2. Teach kids how to swim in open water.
  3. Use a U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jacket that corresponds with the child’s weight and the water activity.
  4. If you see someone in trouble, reach with a stick or throw a rope or float. Take a boat or swim out to the person ONLY if you have been trained in those lifesaving skills.

Safety Tips for Home

  1. Undistracted supervision is key, whether you’re at a pool or in a bathtub.
  2. Buckets and containers that are stored outside should be turned over so that they can't collect water.
  3. Close toilet lids, use toilet seat locks, and keep bathroom and laundry room doors closed.
  4. Install a 4-foot-tall-or-higher fence around your pool.
  5. Get CPR training so that you know what to do in an emergency.

Safety Tips for Boating

If you’re getting into any boat—with a motor or without—the state of New Hampshire requires a life jacket for children up to age 12, and we encourage everyone to wear life jackets whenever they are boating, including in canoes and kayaks.

Safety Tips Around Pools

Pools should be enclosed by a fence and have an alarm on the gate. Be careful with older pools and hot tubs. They don’t have drains with special covers that prevent children from being pulled under water by the suction and potentially getting stuck to the drain. Most newer pools and hot tubs are equipped with a cover that prevents this.

Supervision is key. Always physically and verbally identify somebody to watch a child if the supervising person has to leave.

For more safety tips, visit chadkds.org.

1. Hidden Hazards: An Exploration of Open Water Drowning and Risks for Children, May 2018, Safe Kids Worldwide, accessed June 8, 2018, https://www.safekids.org/research-report/hidden-hazards-exploration-open-water-drowning-and-risks-kids.

Image courtesy of Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

 

New FuturesSpeaking up about policy is an important part of promoting public health in New Hampshire. At New Futures, we advocate for evidence-based health and wellness policies in the Granite State and help partners and community members raise their voices in Concord.

In 2019, New Futures is advocating for three large campaign priorities: promoting home visiting and family support services, addressing our health care workforce shortage, and opposing marijuana commercialization.

For information on other bills that New Futures is following in 2019, visit new-futures.org.

SB 274: Home Visiting

Our Granite State children are dealing with traumatic experiences due to our substance misuse, mental health, and child protection crises, and as a result, these children can face social, emotional, physical, and mental health challenges that last into adulthood and leave our state at risk in the future. To combat these adverse childhood experiences, we need to support home visiting programs, Family Resource Centers, and effective child protection programs that help connect parents and children with services they need to be healthy and happy.

SB 274 addresses some of these issues by increasing access to home visiting services to families in need. To learn more and read the bill, click HERE.

Thanks to the strong advocacy of home visitors, families, and more public health advocates, SB 274 passed both the House and Senate. The bill is awaiting the Governor’s signature and is expected to soon be signed into law.

SB 308: Health Care Workforce

In New Hampshire, businesses are struggling to fill open positions because there is a lack of qualified candidates. This challenge is overwhelming in our health care industry, where there are hundreds of clinical vacancies. These open positions lead to longer wait times, staff under additional pressure, and backups in emergency departments, all of which prevent Granite Staters from getting the health care that they need.

To learn more and read the bill, click HERE.

Pieces of SB 308 have been incorporated into other bills and the state budget. Some of the most important pieces of the bill to support our health care workforce and help ensure New Hampshire stays healthy, including increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates, have been included in the budget by the Senate Finance Committee and will soon be put up for a vote in the full Senate.

This is an important first step to grow our health care workforce.

HB 481: Opposing Marijuana Commercialization

Marijuana commercialization without proper protections and more research does not promote public health in New Hampshire. Yet New Hampshire representatives have introduced an irresponsible bill, HB 481, which fully legalizes and commercializes marijuana without providing the necessary public health protections to keep our youth and communities healthy. Marijuana use during youth, when young brains are developing, can have long-term negative health effects, and commercialization can open the door to Big Marijuana entering our state and marketing harmful substances to our young people.

To learn more and read the bill, click HERE.

Lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary committeed voted 5-0 to recommend that HB 481, the irresponsible marijuana commercialization bill, be re-referred back to committee. If this recommendation passes, the bill will continue to be studied until January 2020, so commercialization will not pass this legislative session. This is great news for our youth and communities!

Strong public health advocacy this session has helped craft and pass legislation that protects our communities and public health. We look forward to seeing this work cross the finish line soon!

We want to help you get comfortable with advocacy! If you are interested in learning more or advocating for public health policy at the State House, visit new-futures.org.

 

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