YMCA of Greater Nashua participates in Complete Streets study 

On November 4, members of the YMCA of Greater Nashua provided valuable feedback about the research being conducted by the Nashua Regional Planning Commission on how ‘friendly’ Nashua streets are for walking and bicycling.

Over the past few months, The Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) has been testing the City’s streets for bicycle and pedestrian friendliness using Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) data as part of the Plan4Health Nashua “Complete Streets” project. The goal of the project is to advance street planning and design that support safer and easier ways to get around for pedestrians and bicyclists in Nashua.In addition to the quantifiable data the LTS methodology provide, scores can be adjusted for other variables that commonly affect a bicyclist’s or pedestrian’s comfort level, including lighting and overall feeling of safety, pavement conditions, steep hills, and traffic volumes. Bringing the 
maps to members of the YMCA was an important part of ensuring the LTS data matches the public sentiment regarding stressful areas and it will help inform the Complete Street recommendations and guidelines that will be developed as part of the project.  Publication1


 In October, Mike LaChance, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater Nashua, joined members of the Plan4Health Nashua coalition along with 18 other community members from a wide range of organizations who met to discuss efforts to make the streets safer and more accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists. (See Nashua Telegraph article for more information.)

 “We are very excited to be partnering with this team of organizations who are focused on improving healthier options for area residents. The Y is committed to strengthening the Greater Nashua region with a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” said Mike LaChance.

The Plan4Health Nashua project has been recognized regionally and nationally as an example of how community organizations such as the YMCA, along with planning and public health, can work together effectively to advance health and community livability. 

The project is supported by the Greater Nashua Public Health Advisory Council, and was selected as a priority project for implementation in Nashua’s 2015 Community Health Improvement Plan. Plan4Health Nashua is a collaboration between planning and public health professionals, including the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, the City of Nashua, New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), and Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH).

For more information about the coalition or how to support Complete Streets in your community, go to http://healnh.org/plan4healthnashua
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Submitted by Marie Mulroy

NHPHA and its partners are still meeting several times a week to prepare to get this important piece of legislation passed.  To date, there are two pieces of legislation filed in the House of Representatives and we are still waiting to see the language on both of these bills.   


During December and January, NHPHA and its partners will be hosting several town meetings across the state designed to make the case to legislators that NH people want and need the Medicaid Expansion to be reauthorized.    If you see an event near you and are interested in attending, let Deanna Bennett info@nhpha.org know.   As of now, the following is the list of meetings.  If there is one in your area, if you could call your State Representatives or Senator to let them know that would be very helpful.    Also, if you or your organization want to participate in any of the partnership committees working on this bill, let Deanna know that also.  

In District Meetings:

Laconia
December 17, 2015 - 1pm to 2pm
Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region
876 North Main Street, Laconia
Sponsor:  New Futures, Joe Gallagher

Derry/Londonderry

January 5, 2016 - Public Library reserved
Sponsor:  New Hampshire Citizens Alliance

Nashua 
January 6, 2016 - 5pm
Harbor Care Health and Wellness Center
615 Amherst Street, Nashua
Sponsor:  Bi-State Primary Care Association

Manchester
January 7, 2016 - 5pm
Manchester Community Health Center
145 Hollis Street, Manchester
Sponsor:  Bi-State Primary Care Association, Kristine Stoddard

Seacoast
Tentatively somewhere in lower Rockingham County (not Portsmouth)
Will probably be held on a Saturday in January
Sponsor:  Dupont Group, Jim Monahan
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Submitted by Marie Mulroy

As lawmakers prepare for the 2016 Legislative Session -- two of the biggest issues that they are going to be facing will be:  (1) extending the New Hampshire Health Protection Plan (Medicaid Expansion) beyond December 2016; and (2) the myriad of legislation that will be needed to resolve the opioid crisis in New Hampshire.   To get the necessary bills ready to deal with the complex problem of addiction, a special Joint Legislative Task Force convened by Governor Hassan has worked over the last several weeks to determine what pieces of legislation are needed and in what order they will be heard in 2016.   On December 15th recommendations will go before the full task and any items that the task force votes to expedite will have a joint public hearing in early January. While those that may require a more thorough examination will go through the normal legislative process and be appointed to be heard in Committee.  For a complete list of the legislation from the Task Force, click here.  


As the issue of Medicaid Expansion and the issue of Substance Abuse move forward, what is becoming obvious to many is that by passing Medicaid Expansion they will be putting into place one of the greatest tools to address the Heroin and Opioid crisis.  Since Medicaid expansion includes substance use disorders and behavioral health in its ten essential benefits, Medicaid Expansion represents a significant source of new funding for treatment.  Unlike traditional Medicaid, the expansion program covers a variety of substance abuse treatment and recovery programs. With more than 400 drug deaths and approximately 7000 emergency room visits in New Hampshire last year, without Medicaid Expansion the burden will fall to the hospitals and providers as uncompensated care and the ability to solve this public health crisis will be compromised.   In addition, providers and services are on hold waiting to see signs of some stability in the reimbursement stream before they commit to building more capacity for these much needed services.

According to a recent factsheet published by New Futures “Of the 42,000 people currently enrolled in the New Hampshire Health Protection Program – 7,560 are estimated to meet the clinical criteria for Substance Use Disorders – 5,880 of these individuals will likely access treatment services.   While addiction touches individuals across incomes, adults living between 0-133% of the federal poverty level are particularly sensitive to the opioid epidemic experiencing addiction rates upwards of 19.4%.   Statewide approximately 10% of New Hampshire’s adults (nearly 106,000) have a Substance Use Disorder.”  To read more, click here.    These facts make passing Medicaid Expansion even more imperative.
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An entry from the November issue of the NHPHA e-Newsletter

NHPHA would like to welcome and introduce the Healthy Homes and Environments Section, our newest organizational member and Public Health Partner.

The Healthy Homes & Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, along with the Asthma Control Program and the Health Officer Liaison, is a section within the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Health Protection.  Staff within this section train and certify contractors for lead safe work practices, investigate lead hazards in homes,  provide health education and outreach, provide case management for lead poisoned children, coordinate asthma control work, and appoint and provide Healthy Homes logotechnical assistance to New Hampshire's Health Officers.

According to Jessica Morton, Health Promotion Advisor,  “The Healthy Homes Steering Committee is  comprised of 20 to 30 individuals that are all focused on various aspects of what a health home needs, but the outcome is the same: maintaining, creating, or establishing healthy homes.  It's amazing the work we can do together vs. individually”.

Jessica enjoys collaborating with other groups and speaking to the public about ways to keep their homes safe, but feels that meeting and training the 234 Health Officers is the most enjoyable part of her work.  "Taking phone calls from residents on housing condition concerns from bed bugs to mold to radon to many other things, it's always something new." 

The 5th Annual Healthy Homes Conference was held on October 28th at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.  Keynote speakers included Murray Banks, Ellen Tohn of Tohn Environmental Strategies LLC, and Mary Jean Brown, Chief, Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  A variety of breakout sessions were offered including such topics as Home Fire Safety, Preventing Mold in Your Home, and Safety for Home Visitors.

"We are working on increasing the number of children who are screened for elevated blood lead levels. The American Academy of Pediatric guidelines recommends that all children be screened before age 1 and before age 2.', Jessica replied when asked about current and future projects.  "We are also working with partners to create better linkages among schools, hospitals, primary care, patients, and caregivers in order to ensure better care for asthma control.

In closing, Jessica shared that the Healthy Homes & Environment Section first got involved with NHPHA through former President, Marie Mulroy.  "Marie has been an active partner in our Healthy Homes Steering Committee and has worked on a number of advocacy initiatives for Healthy Homes.  We really appreciate the partnership we've had over the years with the NHPHA.”
NHDPHS Logo            HH Steering Committee logo            NHAC Logo
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The NH Health Protection Program (Medicaid Expansion) is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2016, unless it is reauthorized by the legislature and Governor.  As you know, Medicaid Expansion is critical to work that all of us are doing and your help will be needed as we move forward with this endeavor.   Pursuant to federal statute, starting January 1, 2017, the State must cover a portion of the total funding for Medicaid Expansion by the following percentages:

          ·       0% now and through December 31, 2016
          ·       5% in calendar year 2017;
          ·       6% in calendar year 2018;
          ·       7% in calendar year 2019; and
          ·       10% in calendar year 2020 and thereafter.

Because of this requirement, in addition to extending Medicaid Expansion, leaders in the House and Senate will simultaneously be considering how to fund New Hampshire’s 2017 share of its cost.

Some of the funding methods being explored are: an assessment on the hospitals, adding premiums and/or increasing co-pays for enrollees, personal responsibility measures and/or work search requirements.  For full detail of these proposed methods of funding being considered, click here.

How the State will fund Medicaid Expansion is as important as extending the plan and we will be working with all of our partners across the state to ensure that we get legislation that both extends Medicaid and does not do so at the risk of increasing costs to the point where many of its 42,000-50,000 enrollees will no longer be able to afford the good quality healthcare that the rest of us take for granted. 

As we move forward, we will keep you informed as to what you may do to help.   In addition to helping educate and inform your district representatives of the importance of Medicaid Expansion to New Hampshire, if your organization can help now, below is a list of committees that are forming that you can participate in.

          ·       NHHPP Reauthorization Meetings will be held every other week through the end of the year.  The purpose of these large meetings will be to share information & compare notes

          ·       NHHPP Grassroots Team This group will initially meet weekly at a time and location TBD.

          ·       NHHPP Communications Team This group is focused on several elements.  First, they will help create materials, develop calendars; lift up stories of beneficiaris.  This group will meet weekly at a time and location TBD.

          ·       In-District Meetings   5-7 in-district meetings beginning in December and continuing through January.  They will need volunteer lead organizations that will help to identify a location, organize speakers and invite targeted Representatives. 

If you can participate in any of the above committees that would be great! Send an email to info@nhpha.org, and you will be put in touch with the heads of those committees.  As always, the health of all citizens in New Hampshire requires all of us to do our part.   So thank you for whatever you can do to ensure that Medicaid Expansion becomes a permanent part of New Hampshire’s insurance fabric for those who most need it.NH Health Protection EnrolleesDownload the map
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Submitted by Amanda Cosser, MPH - Biomonitoring Program Manager, NH Public Health Laboratories

The New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (NH PHL), a bureau of the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, is excited to announce the start of their new biomonitoring program, biomonitoringNewHampshire.  With financial and technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Environmental Health (RFA EH14140202), biomonitoringNewHampshire will be conducting two studies over the next four years evaluating environmental chemicals in humans.  Biomonitoring is the study of natural or man-made chemicals (or their metabolites or reaction products) from the environment in human specimens such as urine, blood, or tissue.  Epidemiologists and scientists at the NH PHL will be working side-by-side to design and conduct two studies which will give public health professionals valuable information regarding whether and how much chemicals from the environment are entering our bodies.  These studies are crucial to many objectives of the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) as they go hand-in-hand with the overall approach of the SHIP: population health. 

The first study is a targeted biomonitoring evaluation of arsenic and uranium from residents in three high risk counties in southern NH (Rockingham, Strafford, and Hillsborough).  Research conducted by the US Geological Survey has shown that the bedrock in these counties is highly conducive to leaching arsenic and uranium into water.  If left untreated, humans consuming, cooking, and bathing with arsenic-contaminated well water at levels above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level of 10 parts per billion have been shown to develop bladder, skin, and lung cancer.1  Arsenic exposure has also been linked to negative effects on respiratory, cardiovascular, and immunological health and has been shown to cause developmental delays in children.2  The toxic effects of uranium in the general population have not been as widely studied, however occupational exposures to uranium in miners and other workers have been found to cause respiratory disease such as fibrosis and emphysema.3  Since 40% of NH’s population uses private wells as their main water source and because the EPA does not have the authority to regulate well water quality, it is important to evaluate possible contaminants in order to identify at-risk populations and develop effective public health interventions.

The second study biomonitoringNewHampshire will be conducting is a state-wide surveillance project looking for various metals, pesticide metabolites, perfluorochemicals, and nutritional biomarkers.  This surveillance project is vital to having NH-specific biomonitoring data.  Annually the CDC conducts the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which gives a snapshot of the health and nutritional status of the US as an aggregate.  Important data are collected regarding the prevalence of and risk factors for many diseases.  Unfortunately that data cannot be broken down by state and so evidence-based state-specific public health interventions cannot be implemented.  For that reason, biomonitoringNewHampshire is excited to start collecting NH-specific data that can be used to assess the health of NH residents, to evaluate public health interventions that are already in place, and to inform policy makers as new interventions are proposed.
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By Jeanie Holt

As you know, I represent NHPHA on the Governing Council of APHA. Since GC meets only twice a year, we need a governing body that manages APHA business between GC meetings. This group is the Executive Board. At the Annual Meeting, GC elects representatives to EB. Elected EB members serve 3 years on a rotating basis. So what do I look for in deciding whom to vote for? First, keeping in mind that EB manages a large non-profit including overseeing the work of APHA staff (through Dr. Benjamin, CEO) and makes decisions about finances, policies, and implementation of GC directives, I look for experience on non-profit boards and/or experience managing organizations. A candidate may have great academic credentials, interesting research or a lifetime of working in public health but without a solid foundation in management, they may not be the best candidate. I do not automatically rule out such folks, especially those with a lifetime of working “on the ground”. These public health workers bring valuable life experience and perspectives. I look at the balance of people already on EB to see what other voices might be needed. The other thing I look for in candidates is leadership in a state affiliate. While each affiliate is unique, we share some common needs, perspectives, and issues so experience with those are very important to me, and to NHPHA. We elected three excellent people to the EB: Benjamin Hernandez is Chief Financial Officer at City of Houston Health and Human Services and brings enthusiasm, skills, and a very warm and friendly personality to the EB; Aaron Guest has been active in several state affiliates as he has moved around pursuing first an MPH and now a PhD (in gerontology and public health), and he is an active leader in the Student Assembly; and Elena Ong who has been active in the California South Public Health Association, APHA, and the Asia-Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health.

We also elect the President-Elect. The role of APHA President is a little different from NHPHA’s President. Rather than leading meetings and making organizational decisions, APHA’s President travels. The Pres visits 1/3 of the Affiliates and represents APHA at many national and international meetings. So for this office I look more at wide and deep public health experience. Does the candidate know first-hand about working “in the field”? About navigating tricky political waters? About being a student and mentoring students? About listening? About finding common ground in diverse opinions? Does the candidate have vision? And can the candidate speak compellingly? This year we elected Tom Quade who was the obvious choice for me He meets the qualifications I just discussed. In addition, he has been an important mentor for our star student, Addie Murray. For those who saw her stunning Ignite presentation at our 25th Anniversary Celebration, you’ll understand more about why I am so excited about Tom when you know that he helped Addie shape and refine that presentation.

Don’t stop reading! I want to share one important success the Council of Affiliates had (in addition to helping elect some really stunning people to the EB!). Many NHPHA members ask me every year why they can’t write one check to join both NHPHA and APHA. Some of you may also know that several years ago (11 to be exact) APHA and four states started a Joint Membership Pilot (going to be the longest “pilot” in history) to explore how joint memberships might work. APHA proposed ending the pilot this year saying, “it isn’t working for APHA.” But the Council of Affiliates basically said, “prove it!” As a result of our advocacy on behalf of all 54 affiliates, the EB appointed a committee to decide what metrics to use to measure the success/failure of the JMP and to then evaluate the pilot on the basis of those metrics. The committee will report to GC at our mid-year meeting in June, 2016.

And, finally, the Council of Affiliates elected me as Chair-Elect of the Council of Affiliates and also appointed me to bring the Affiliate “voice” to an APHA task force that will help shape APHA’s global initiatives.
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P4H Nov Pic 1Members of the Plan4Health Nashua coalition met on October 19 to discuss efforts to support Complete Streets in Nashua. The day began on the steps of Nashua’s City Hall when 18 community members from a wide range of organizations met with Mayor Donnalee Lozeau to discuss the City’s efforts to make the streets safer and more accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Matt Makara, Program Manager at the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C., attended the meeting and was quoted in a Nashua Telegraph article covering the event: "I feel one of the big successes of the project is that it's having these different groups working together in a non-competitive way," Makara said. "I think Nashua has done a phenomenal job of working together for these common goals."

Other meeting attendees included representatives from the Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC), City of Nashua, Great American Downtown, YMCA, HEAL NH, Police Athletic League (PAL), New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua, NeighborWorks, and other community members.

After meeting with the Mayor, the coalition hit the streets, walking along the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail and through other areas of the City. The group discussed Plan4Health Nashua's Complete Streets Project, what improvements have already been done in Nashua, and other priority areas for improving access to safe walking and bicycling, including streets around the PAL building and the Boys and Girls Club.
P4H Nov Pic 2
The meeting continued at the Nashua Transit System offices to review the Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) data the NRPC had collected about how “friendly” Nashua’s streets are for biking and walking. Community partners then reviewed the maps showing the data overlay and provided feedback to ensure accuracy.

While the focus of the coalition’s work is on supporting Complete Streets in Nashua, the Plan4Health Nashua project has been recognized regionally and nationally as an example of how planning and public health can work together effectively to achieve shared goals. Plan4Health partner and Nashua Community Development Division Director, Sarah Marchant, was invited to Washington, D.C. to present an overview of the project at the American Planning Association Conference in late September. The Plan4Health Nashua project was also featured at the HEAL NH Conference on October 1 in Concord. A week later, Plan4Health Nashua was highlighted in a presentation at the NHPHA Celebration at the Red River Theater in Concord.

The Plan4Health Nashua coalition continues to grow and gain support. If you would like more information about the coalition or how you can
support Complete Streets in your community, go to
http://healnh.org/plan4healthnashua or contact Nik Coates. 
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An entry from the October issue of the NHPHA e-Newsletter

This month, the spotlight shines on and welcomes Community Health Options™, a new organizational member and Public Health Partner to NHPHA.

Community Health Options is a non-profit, member-led health insurance plan providing comprehensive health insurance benefits to individuals, families and businesses and is a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) licensed in Maine and New Hampshire.  Community Health Options is dedicated to delivering affordable, high-quality health insurance benefits designed to improve consumer health and CHO Logo
well being. “We do this by working collaboratively with Providers and Members towards achieving the Triple Aim – to improve the patient experience of care and the health of populations while reducing the cost of health care,” said Leigh Curtis, Outreach and Education Specialist at Community Health Options.  

Governed by a Board of Directors, a majority whom are Community Health Option Members, ensures members having a strong voice in the management and development of products and services.  Their Value-Based Insurance Design includes their unique Chronic Illness Support Program, integration with behavioral health services, and population health support & care management coordination.  “We are proud to feature a broad PPO network,” Leigh said, “which includes all hospitals in New Hampshire and Maine, as well as access to a national network.”

Projects of Community Health Options includes frequent participation in health and wellness related conferences, annual meetings and trade shows.  They’ve partnered with colleges and universities, federally qualified health centers, and held info sessions open to the public on the Affordable Care Act highlights, as well as held overview sessions on Community Health Options and how to choose a plan and enroll, health insurance literacy concepts, and more.  When asked how they first learned of NHPHA, Leigh responded, “Community Health Options is constantly striving to create partnerships with local non-profit organizations who share in a vision of healthier communities.  The New Hampshire Public Health Association was a natural fit for collaboration.”  After an initial first-meeting between Leigh and representatives from the NHPHA Membership Committee, Community Health Options eagerly signed up.  “We are very much looking forward to working with NHPHA in the months and years to come. “

To learn more about the Community Health Options team, click here

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By Jeanie Holt


As your representative on APHA’s Governing Council (meeting November 1-4), I vote on new policy statements. Before the vote, I can attend hearings to express concerns or propose edits to the statements. I like to know from you, our members, what you think of the proposed policies so I can truly represent you. Below is a list of the titles of the proposed policies. Some of the titles give you no indication of the position the policy proposes and even those that do give you very little information on the content of the policy. So, if you want to read the text of any of these, please let me know (jeanieNHPHA@gmail.com) and I will email the text to you for review.

Group A: Access to Care, Reproductive and Sexual Health and Substance Use 
A1: Opposition to Requirements for Hospital Admitting Privileges and Transfer Agreements for Abortion Providers
A2: Restricted Access to Abortions Violates Human Rights, Precludes Reproductive Justice, and Demands Public Health Intervention
A3: Universal Access to Contraception
A5: Prevention and Intervention Strategies to Decrease Misuse of Prescription Pain Medications

Group B: Environmental and Occupational Health
B2: Cleanup of U.S. Military Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan
B3: Updating Codes for Foam Plastic Building Insulation to Protect Public Health
B4: Public Health Opportunities to Address the Health Effects of Climate Change
B6: Preventing Occupational and Community Transmission of Ebola and Globally Emerging Infectious Disease Threats
B7: Lyme and other Tick-borne Disease Prevention to Protect Workers’ and the Public’s Health
B8: Stopping Cancer before it Starts: Emphasizing Prevention
 
Group C: Public Health Law and Ethics
C1: The Use of Human Subjects in Dental Licensing Examinations Violates Public Health Ethics
C3: Addressing human relevance in alcohol use disorders-related research
C5: Preemption Policy Statement
C6: Ensuring Trade Agreements Promote Public Health

Group D: Public Health Infrastructure and Workforce
D2: Improving Availability and Access to Individual Worker Fatality Data
D3: Building Environments and a Public Health Workforce to Support Physical Activity in Older Adults
D4: The Role of Health Education Specialists in a Post Health Reform Environment
D5: Expand and Coordinate Human Trafficking Related Public Health Research, Education, and Prevention and Intervention Evaluation

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NHPHA’s Policy Committee has been very busy. We are reviewing all of our policy statements with the help of members with expertise in specific topic areas. We use these statements for two main purposes. We refer legislators, policy makers, and students to them. The statements are designed to be a concise overview of the most current public health science to act as a starting point for further research. In addition to the statement itself, we include several of the most significant resources for digging deeper. Our other use of the statements is advocacy. Since the statements have been approved by NHPHA's Board of Directors, we can take action based on a position statement without further Board approval. This means we can sign on to various kinds of letters, we can collaborate on op-ed pieces, and we can advocate for good public health policy when the state legislature is in session. You can view our policy statements on our website.  We encourage our members to use these statements and credit NHPHA, increasing awareness of both good public health policy and of our organization.

Most NHPHA members identify our advocacy work in the state legislature as one reason they join the association. We are already gearing up for 2016. Take a few minutes to lend a hand. Here is what we need from you:

1.      Read through the list of working titles for bills filed with Legislative Services. We know nothing more than the working title on most of them!

2.      If you have expertise that seems applicable, please let Jeanie know (jeanieNHPHA@gmail.com). We can keep in touch with you as the bill text comes out and as the bill moves through hearings and votes.

3.      If there are proposed bills you know of that aren’t on our list, please let me know.

4.      You can also go through the list Prime Sponsors and let Jeanie know if any of them are your representative. We can keep in touch with you and let you know if a phone call to your rep will help public health.

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New Plan4Health Video Explains Link between Planning and Health  

City of Nashua Graphic
The Plan4Health Nashua project is bringing the City of Nashua to the forefront as a leader in New Hampshire in advancing Complete Streets at the municipal level. The coalition developed an informational video to help demonstrate that people’s ability to make healthy choices is improved when health is integrated into comprehensive planning processes.  


The goal of the Plan4Health Nashua project is to advance street planning and design that support safer and easier ways to get around for pedestrians and bicyclists. The project is supported by the Greater Nashua Public Health Advisory Council, and was selected as a priority project for implementation in Nashua's 2015 Community Health Improvement Plan. Plan4Health Nashua is a collaboration between planning and public health professionals, including the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, the City of NashuaNew Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), and Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH).

Please view and share the Plan4Health Nashua Complete Streets video by clicking here.

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An entry from the News from the Network section of the NHPHA e-Newsletter, September issue

How many times have you heard this statement: “Sounds like a plan!?” Or this one: “I love it when a plan comes together?” Plenty of times, right? We have too, but to leaders at the Central New Hampshire Public Health Network (CNHPHN) those statements are more than a quip representing an intention. Leadership provided by the Communities For Alcohol- and Drug-free Youth (CADY) has led to implementation of a number of activities to provide education, training, and information to the Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC).  Similar efforts are being done in each of the 13 Public Health Networks statewide to facilitate development of comprehensive  “Continuums of Care” across the substance use disorders spectrum of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.

In January 30, 2015, the PHAC convened with 12 members in attendance for an interactive presentation of Prime For Life, a science-based alcohol and drug program designed to persuade resistant populations to examine and accept the need to change their attitudes and behaviors concerning alcohol and drug use.” Donna Magee, LADC and a Master’s level intern with CADY educated the group with a slide show overview of this values-oriented, evidence-based program used for substance use disorder education and recovery. Ms. Magee’s personal experience in administering the program in a variety of treatment settings provided the PHAC with greater insight into the program, its processes, and outcomes. Attendees also had an opportunity to get a feel for the impact of some of the program components by participating in several of the structured, facilitated activities that are part of the “Prime For Life” program.

On February 20, 2015, CADY hosted a Drug Court Lunch-‘N-Learn, with speakers from the Grafton County Drug Court. Lucille Amero, Grafton County Alternative Sentencing Director, and Jennifer Stone, Grafton County Drug Court Manager, spoke before a group of over 30 interested community members about the Drug Court model, how it operates in our region, and its ability to change lives. In addition, two Drug Court participants—both local people—shared their powerful stories of addiction, arrest, and recovery. Their descriptions of lives turned around, and even saved, by their participation in Drug Court gave a personal face to the story of addiction and underscored the documented positive outcomes and success of the program, including a 57.5%overall success rate since its inception in 2007.  

On May 22, 2015, CADY hosted its Fifteenth Annual Regional Prevention Summit on the Plymouth State University campus in Plymouth, NH. This event brings together over 200 participants, including the PHAC, from all core sectors to recognize community accomplishments in preventing and reducing youth tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use, spotlight youth development initiatives, and express appreciation to coalition partners. The Summit includes distinguished speakers from the state legislature and community leaders in the Substance Misuse Disorder prevention and treatment. Presentations serve to educate, inform, and inspire participants for continued collaborative action for positive change in the region.

All of these works will continue in the next two years in every public health region in order to improve the quality and seamless delivery of services across the continuum of care. 

So, the next time you hear “Sounds like a plan!” or “I love it when a plan comes together,” think of the impressive array of Continuum of Care Workplan activities being accomplished in central New Hampshire and in each of the 13 public health regions.

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By Jeanie Holt

Do you plan to attend the APHA Annual Meeting in Chicago? The Council of Affiliates invites you to spend Saturday, October 31, with us. (I know it is Halloween—what can I say?) The day is full of activities especially designed for member of state affiliates. We will start with breakfast during which you will meet people from the other New England state public health associations. We always enjoy sharing stories about us Yankees and the challenges/rewards of the fierce independence of New Englanders. For the rest of the morning we divide our time between updates from APHA, sharing best practices with each other, and learning together. This year the learning will focus on public health communications and on the new RWJ state-based reports. After lunch, you will have an opportunity to meet with other “new leaders” to learn more about the structure and functioning of APHA. Or you can spend your afternoon (probably the only free time you’ll have at APHA!) at one of Chicago’s many museums. Then, at 6:00, join us again for the Affiliate Reception. It is always a big event with candidates for APHA offices mingling among us, awards given for a variety of reasons, and a general celebration of the work of state affiliates. And the best part? It is all FREE (well, except the museums!)!!

Call to action: Please let Jeanie know if you will join us for Affiliate Day. She can then keep you informed of location and other details.

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