In the Spotlight - February 2015

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An entry from the February Issue of the NHPHA e-Newsletter

This month's member spotlight features Lia Baroody.  Lia is the Program Coordinator for the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (HDSP) Program with the NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS).  The NH HDSP Program is part of a team within DPHS that works to improve outcomes on heart disease and stroke.  Heart Disease and Stroke are listed as a priority in the 2013 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP).  Within the plan, four (4) objectives related to heart disease and stroke are identified: Reduce Coronary Heart Disease Deaths; Improve Blood Pressure Control; Improve Cholesterol Control; and Reduce Stroke Deaths.  The DPHS has also identified six (6) goals within heart disease and stroke: Control High Blood Pressure; Control High Cholesterol;  Increase awareness of signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke and the need to call 911; Improve Emergency Response; Improve Quality of Care; and Eliminate Disparities.  

Lia states that another important initiative has been the release of a blood pressure guide which came about as a result of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Million Hearts (MH) Learning Collaborative that the DPHS has been a part of.  The Ten Steps for Improving Blood Pressure Control in New Hampshire - A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Community Partners has just been released in partnership with the University of NH, Institute for Health Policy and Practice and the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene.  The guide can be found on the NH DHHSwebsite, and on the UNH, Institute for Health Policy and Practice website.

In honor of American Heart Month, DPHS offered blood pressure screenings on Go Red For Women Day - a day to raise awareness about heart disease being the number one killer of women, and organized a lunchtime heart healthy group walk. Employees of DPHS received heart healthy tips on how to reduce the risk of heart disease and many staff also dressed in observance of Go Red For Women day in which a group photo was taken to show support.  A resource table has been set up in the lobby of DPHS for the month of February and includes information on heart disease and the importance of knowing one's risk factors such as diabetes, tobacco and the importance of eating healthfully and being physically active.

Prior to joining DPHS in 2010, Lia worked at the NH DHHS, Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS), working closely with the NH nutrition agencies and senior centers that provide home delivered meals and congregate meals to older adults.  It is during that time, that she began to partner with DPHS and also began working collaboratively throughout the year on providing important public health information to help older adults be as healthy as they possibly can. "During "flu" season, we shared information on the importance of getting the flu shot, we also provided information on West Nile Virus, food safety concerns and the Commodities Supplemental Food Service Program through Women Infants and Children (WIC) program to name a few."  It is after having developed a great partnership with DPHS, that Lia thought it would be "great to work in public health if an opportunity arose."

Two things that Lia would tell a person in NH wanting to know more  about how public health benefits them locally is that everyone should remember that how one lives can affect their health; being physically active, eating healthfully, and knowing one's risk factors is so important to being healthy.  Lia goes on to say that prevention and health education is so important and public health works hard to make this information available and easy to understand to individuals through our website, programs and sharing with community
partners.  DHHS - HDSP


Although NH is considered a fairly healthy State, LIa likes most about her job that everyone at DPHS is committed to working hard and striving to make NH an even healthier place to work and live.  "Working in the DPHS, means working with staff that are committed, work as a team and are especially nice to work with.  In addition, the DPHS has great community partners and we could not accomplish the work we do without our stakeholders and partners."

Lia would like to add that on March 26, the NH DPHS in partnership with the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, and the Institute for Health Policy and Practice at UNH are offering a half-day workshop modeled after the successful statewide approach to hypertension control as part of the national Million Hearts (MH) initiative. 

Click here to register.  

For questions or concerns, please contact Lia Baroody.
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