Post written by Joan Ascheim, NHPHA Interim Executive Director

Joan Ascheim webBODI always find our annual meeting to be celebratory, motivating, inspiring and a validation of the tremendous work we do collectively as public health professionals.  This year’s 2018 NHPHA Annual Meeting hit the mark on all counts!  There were 135 of us in attendance with 30 of those being students from various academic institutions.  Students had the opportunity to attend the pre-session presented by our Rising Stars Program and led by Cait Glennen entitled: Demystifying the Interview and Salary Negotiation Process.  The program was highly rated and noted to provide practical skills students could put to use as they search for their perfect public health jobs. 

The student poster session followed with 21 scholarly and diverse poster presentations spanning topics such as: structural racism in healthcare, increasing hand hygiene, suicide ideation among high school students, community health assessments and home visiting (see article below to learn about poster winners).  The poster sessions are a tremendous opportunity for students to share their work with public health professionals and provides a networking experience between the two groups.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the night is noshing on the delectable appetizers and connecting with my public health friends and colleagues.  New Hampshire, being such a small state, affords us the chance to develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships with our colleagues. I do believe these relationships are key to satisfying careers and strong partnerships that enhance our collaborations to improve the public’s health. 

For those who were unable to attend, I kicked off the meeting noting that National Public Health Week this year coincided with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.  It was striking to me when I reviewed the six focal areas of his civil rights platform which included: poverty, better jobs/higher wages, quality education, decent housing, justice and peace.  Clearly the social determinants of health that are so much a part of our daily public health lexicon are inextricably linked with basic civil rights.  

Bobbie Bagley shared activities of the Public Health Nursing Section and Jeanie Holt apprised us of our connected work with the American Public Health Association. Rachel Maxwell updated the group on the advocacy and policy work of the Public Policy Committee.  

The Roger Fossum Award was bestowed upon Linda Saunders-Paquette, probably best known to most for her tireless work leading New Futures to make significant impact on alcohol and drug policy in the state.  What people probably don’t know about Linda is that she started her career at St. Agatha Home for Children in Nanuet, NY.  Caring for these children, who were homeless and came from extreme poverty, transformed her thinking and set her on the path in pursuit of justice and equity.  Linda spoke of the need to interweave passion, skills and knowledge and to work relentlessly to make necessary policy changes to positively impact society.  Linda’s distinguished career is illustrative of this recipe for success.
The Friend of Public Health Award was presented to Senator Dan Feltes and Tom Irwin of the Conservation Law Foundation for their steadfast work leading to the passage of the lead poisoning prevention bill into law – legislation essential to the public’s health.
The New Hampshire Community Health Service Award was given to WMUR-TV for its contribution to improving the health of New Hampshire residents through excellent coverage of the opioid crisis.  WMUR’s special coverage brought attention to this public health epidemic and the devastation it has wrought on individuals, families and communities; addressed the stigma of this disease; and prompted political action to address the issue at the state and national levels.
Other award winners include Marie Mulroy, who received the President’s Award for her exceptional service to the Association, and Sara Rainer, an employee of the Institute on Disability at UNH and a UNH Master of Public Health student who received the Rising Star Award. 
Thank you for all who attended and contributed to another successful NHPHA annual meeting!
Zachary Ahmad-Kahloon and Ashley Hall were the winners of the student poster session awards at the annual meeting in April. The judges of the 14 poster presentations used criteria including relevance of subject; rigor of project methodology; voice projection and audience engagement; and use of graphs and images. The outstanding presentations showcased Hall’s and Ahmad-Kahloon’s passion for community health and social justice.
Zachary Ahmad-Kahloon is a prevention specialist in the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP), a crisis center at the University of New Hampshire. He began volunteering as an advocate in 2010, and joined the SHARPP staff four years ago. While working at the center, Zak has pursued graduate studies in the university’s MPH program, from which he graduates in May. He also is active in campus activities related to his interest in the intersection of sexual violence prevention and social justice. He chairs the UNH President’s Commission on the Status of LGBTQ+ People and serves on the advisory boards of the Association of Title IX Coordinators (ATIXA) and the Leadership Council of the Campus Advocacy and Prevention Professionals Association (CAPPA).

Zak’s poster project, done in conjunction with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, examines the disconnect between the high rates of sexual and domestic violence experienced by LGBTQ+ People and the lower than expected rates of service utilization. Through interviews and data analysis, he identified a need for funding, reconsidered shelter models, and relationship building cross-agency. He hopes that the results of his project will serve as a foundation for future work with other underserved populations in New Hampshire.

Ashley Hall graduates in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in public health from Rivier University. As a student, she held several part-time jobs and was active in student affairs and student government, including serving as president of the Student Public Health Association, a peer mentor, a student ambassador, and a Student Government Association senator. She also volunteers every year at the Special Olympics in Boston. She plans to pursue graduate studies in public health and eventually hold a position as an infection preventionist in a hospital. 

Ashley’s poster project, co-authored with Ashley Conley, developed from an internship at Catholic Medical Center (CMC), where she was mentored by Conley, the hospital’s director of infection prevention. Her project focused on evaluating current hand hygiene compliance at CMC, which is critical to ensuring a healthy work environment and safe care for all patients. The aim of the project was to increase hand hygiene compliance to more than 90%. The project included a quiz, hand hygiene observations, completing the World Health Organization Hand Hygiene Self-Assessment Framework, and leading educational programs. The information gathered was used to develop a hand hygiene program utilizing the Influencer Behavior Change Model by appointing hand hygiene champions to monitor compliance and address missed hand hygiene opportunities among co-workers.

Rebecca Two
Because it’s here! April 2-8.  The theme this year is Changing our Futures Together.  Consider starting conversations with others in your community about the role each of us can play to create healthier people, families, and communities.  Public health work is partnership work achieved when people work together to create strong, vital communities in which all can live and contribute to our full potential.Because it’s here! April 2-8.  The theme this year is Changing our Futures Together.  Consider starting conversations with others in your community about the role each of us can play to create healthier people, families, and communities.  Public health work is partnership work achieved when people work together to create strong, vital communities in which all can live and contribute to our full potential.

During National Public Health Week, each day has a different focus.  Monday’s is behavioral health: how can we advocate for and promote behavioral well-being?   About one in every five U.S. adults experience mental illness in a given year.  At the forefront of this in New Hampshire is the opioid addiction epidemic.  This crisis is touching individuals and families in our state at an unbelievable rate. Projections estimate 485 deaths in 2017, which equates to a per capita rate that is 3rd highest in the country.  This disease is impacting families and children, employers and really, all of us. 

I feel fortunate to be able to make an impact working with many partners to increase access to treatment for people with opioid use disorders.  While building new services is critical, what I find so very important is addressing the stigma experienced by individuals and families struggling with this chronic remitting and relapsing disease of the brain.  The expression of the disease in undesirable behaviors turns many to believe the disease is a choice when it isn’t.  Self-judgement prevents people from seeking help.  Advocate Bernadette Gleeson has a different choice for us. “For us to give people who have addiction their best opportunity to be alive in recovery, “the public” must show up in ways that will change this game forever and end the “public health crisis of addiction.” Every single one of us can harness the power and agency in order to Be An Opportunity for people who have drug or alcohol addiction and people in recovery. No matter where that person is in their recovery, we have the power to be the light instead of pushing people further into darkness – which is where addiction breeds.” Sharing this message is my goal for public health week – what’s yours? #BeAnOpportunity 

One final note, I look forward to seeing each of you at our upcoming Annual Meeting on April 11th at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, 4 to 7 PM.  Register now!  See article below for more details.

Rebecca Sky
NHPHA President

Michael Reaves2Michael Reaves has a seat at the table. The 27-year-old Southern New Hampshire University graduate student is attending monthly meetings of the NHPHA Board of Directors, as part of his experience as an Equity Leadership Fellow. He sits as a non-voting member, with Marcella Bobinsky acting as his board champion.   Michael Reaves has a seat at the table. The 27-year-old Southern New Hampshire University graduate student is attending monthly meetings of the NHPHA Board of Directors, as part of his experience as an Equity Leadership Fellow. He sits as a non-voting member, with Marcella Bobinsky acting as his board champion. 
The Health and Equity Partnership created the fellowship (ELF), now in its fourth year, to support the development of experienced leaders of color. Reaves, while earning a degree in higher education administration, has served for two years as assistant director of diversity at SNHU. 

“New Hampshire is becoming more diverse in terms of race, and is learning how to define equity,” Reaves says. “People are making decisions about groups that are not sitting at the table. We need more people who represent communities that are marginalized to have a voice in creating and designing programs that meet their needs.”

In addition to shadowing the NHPHA Board, he attends learning sessions to develop concrete leadership skills and deepen his understanding of an equity framework. He is paired with a mentor, Manuel Irvin, who offers experience and guidance. 

Reaves is passionate about youth outreach, at both the college and high school level. One of his goals as he continues his career is helping to address the opioid crisis. 
Reaves has not served on a board, and sees this as an excellent opportunity to learn about board structure and how to get involved.

Join us on Wednesday, April 11, 2018!

In the spirit of our mission to bring together people interested in public health, and provide a forum for the exchange of public health information, we would like to invite you to join us at our Annual Meeting. The NHPHA Annual Meeting is a gathering of public health, medical and business professionals from organizations around New Hampshire.

The event will begin with a networking social from 4:00pm - 5:30pm. During this time, light refreshments will be served. Attendees will have the opportunity to walk through the student poster gallery where 20+ students are presenting interesting findings from their research projects or practicums. Exhibits at the Discovery Center will also be open. Students interested in exhibiting, click here.

The main structure of our meeting will be from 5:30pm - 7:00 pm where the Association will conduct annual business, present awards, and announce the election of new officers and Board of Directors.

Register Here

Special Events for Students

NHPHA is committed to growing its Rising Stars Initiative. This year, in addition to the Student Poster Session, there will also be a pre-event training opportunity for students - Demystifying the Interview and Salary Negotiation Process, which will begin at 2:00 p.m.

This workshop will equip attendees with the tools to self-advocate in the job market. In this session participants will demystify the interview and salary negotiation process by learning how to articulate the value of their unique perspective and experiences. The interactive workshop will be immediately applicable for networking during the poster presentation, and leave members feeling more confident about their next interview opportunity.

The session is being presented by Cait Glennen, a certified Global Career Development Facilitator and Career Programs Coordinator at a local New Hampshire University. She has experience helping graduate and undergraduate students navigate the transition from the classroom to the workforce in a variety of ways by facilitating workshops, guest lecturing, and providing one on one counseling. A few of her recent projects include collaborating to develop the Women in STEM program as well as piloting and building the first online micro-internship for healthcare programs at her university.

There is no additional fee for students to attend this session.

Register Now!

Each year in New Hampshire, several hundred new cases of Granite State children living or receiving childcare in housing built before 1978 were getting poisoned with lead. For several years, Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that all children have their blood tested for toxic levels of lead at ages one and two.  Up until the recent passage of SB 247, a bill which addresses childhood lead poisoning in paint and water, New Hampshire did not such a requirement for universal testing.  In fact, less than 20% of NH’s children in that age category have had this simple blood test. SB247 has now passed in the legislature and has been signed by the Governor into law.  This new law will require that:

  • Doctors and clinics test children at the one and two-year checkup, unless parents object.
  • Insurance must cover the cost of these tests.
  • Lowers the blood lead level that triggers DHHS investigations from the current “action level” of 10 micrograms per deciliter to 7.5 as of July 1,2019, and the CDC’s recommended level of 5 as of July 1,2021.
  • It enables earlier action to protect kids by providing important information to parents and landlords when a child is diagnosed with a blood lead level of 3 mcg/dl.
  • It limits DHHS to investigating only units that are occupied by a child under the age of seven or a pregnant woman in multi‐unit rental housing. A significant change from the current which requires all units in the building to be tested if a child’s blood lead levels exceeds the action level.                 
  • It establishes a loan guarantee program to help landlords and homeowners lower the overall cost of lead hazard remediation, with a total program cap of $6 million.
  • It addresses lead in drinking water by requiring DHHS to test drinking water in units where a child’s blood lead level meets or exceeds the “action level” and also requires day care centers and schools to test for lead in water every five years; and also requires filtration when lead levels exceed EPA standards.
  • It requires any newly created rental units and child care facilities building that was built before January 1, 1978 to be certified as lead safe effective July 1, 2024. This provision only applies to pre‐1978 buildings not currently being used as rental housing or for child care facilities that are converted to those uses after July 1, 2024.
  • This bill does not currently apply to privately owner-occupied housing, even if small children reside.
  • It updates the form sellers of real estate are already required to provide purchasers regarding lead, radon and arsenic with more complete and accurate information about lead.

For more information:

Thank you all for inviting me to share my field study as I complete my Masters in Public Health with the University of New England. For my MPH field study I am working with Bi-State Primary Care Association. Bi-State supports Federally-Qualified and Community Health Centers in both Vermont and New Hampshire. Bi-State supports the health centers with workforce recruitment and retention, public policy advocacy, and other projects to support high quality, affordable primary and preventive health care for all, regardless of income or insurance coverage in rural and underserved communities. I am working with the Vermont office of Bi-State in Montpelier, VT.

The purpose of my project is to identify and produce a document for the best practices for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in conducting a community health needs assessment. The regular completion of community health needs assessments are a requirement for health centers in order to receive federal funding. FQHCs complete community health needs assessments to demonstrate and document the needs of their target populations and to update their service areas, when appropriate. There is not currently a best practice guideline or template to assist the Vermont FQHCs in identifying and accessing the data to determine if their community’s’ needs are being met.  The purpose of this project is to identify and evaluate the current methods of conducting a community health needs assessment and the recommendations identified by previous HRSA site visits and to research and identify best practices for FQHCs in conducting a community future assessments. If this project is successful, I hope that whatever document I can create will also benefit our NH health centers.

While simultaneously working on this project with Bi-State, I am also engaged in writing a Capstone paper on improving access to primary care in rural communities. My research in this capstone paper is around initiatives in the state of New Hampshire that existing currently to improve rural primary care access, as well initiatives that are being suggested in the literature. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of both New Hampshire’s current initiatives as well as initiatives being proposed in research, I hope to be able to synthesize and recommend suggestions for future New Hampshire initiatives to improve rural access to primary care.

This month, NHPHA hosted its first continuing education opportunity as part of our NH Public Health Training Center grant,  called, “Lobbying and Advocacy: A Primer for New Hampshire Non-Profit Advocates”.  Co-sponsored by the UNH Institute for Health Policy and Practice, the event was held at the UNH School of Law in Concord, with refreshments donated by The Works.  The training was well-attended by members, and other interested representatives from local and state government, non-profit organizations and advocacy organizations.  There was a wide range of experience and knowledge around lobbying and advocacy leading to a ripe conversation and many questions from the audience. 

The first speaker of the day, Kerri McGowan Lowery, JD, MPH provided a presentation, “How to Get Advocacy Done without Violating the Law!” Kerri’s presentation detailed federal lobbying laws and funding restrictions, as well as IRS lobbying rules. Kerri joined us from the University of Maryland, Carey School of Law where she is the Deputy Director,  and Director for Grants Research Network for Public Health Law Eastern Region.  Kerri’s talk concluded with an opportunity for attendees to exercise the key points through a series of case studies from which attendees could gain confidence advocating for the issues important to them.

Following Lowery was James Monahan, Vice President of The Dupont Group out of Concord, NH provided a New Hampshire specific presentation, “ Lobbying and Advocacy: A Primer for New Hampshire Non-Profit Advocates”.  His focused on the NH lobbying law.   Monahan closed his presentation by sharing some of his personal experiences and providing some key “Informal Rules of the Road”, including the importance of knowing the rules and procedures, of being honest, and of understanding the other side’s position. 

This training is the first part of a series in an effort to address workforce development in New Hampshire, a priority for the Association.  Stay tuned for upcoming workforce development opportunities.

Submitted by:

 Melissa Schoemmell, NHPHA BOD Member and Communications Committee Co-Chair.

Sadly this month I am adding my voice to those who are speaking out in the wake of yet another unbearably tragic mass shooting in one of our nation’s schools.  You may be like me in that each time this happens, you feel outrage and sadness and an urge to do something.  Short of adding my name to some petition and donating to causes that seek to end gun violence I mostly feel overwhelmed and helpless.  The youth of Parkland Florida are bravely making their voices heard and could, in fact, be the impetus to make real change in the reduction of gun violence in the United States.  Locally we can do more.  We can get organized.  Please join the NHPHA policy committee to create a local voice on this important issue.

As public health professionals we have an obligation to utilize public health strategies to address gun violence which kills over 36,000 individuals each year or one person every 15 minutes. Both Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times and Georges Benjamin of the American Public Health Association note that we need look no further than approaches taken to reduce motor vehicle crashes as effective public health prevention strategies upon which we could model gun violence prevention.  In public health we assess the data to explain the nature and magnitude of the problem.  We research strategies, implement and evaluate them to effect change.  Kristof states, “We don’t ban cars, but we work hard to regulate them – and limit access to them- so as to reduce the death toll they cause. This has been spectacularly successful, reducing death rate per 100 million miles driven by 95 percent since 1921.”   Strategies included seatbelts, federal safety standards for cars, child safety seats speed limits and airbags.  All fifty states have varying graduated licensing laws for teens with provisions such as limiting hours youth can drive and the numbers of passengers they can carry until they have more experience.  Such laws have dramatically reduced deaths and crashes among teen drivers.  These concepts and approaches are transferrable to the prevention of deaths due to firearms.

There are examples we can draw from to reduce firearm deaths both in the United States and other countries with Australia providing the most powerful illustration.

Following a deadly mass shooting in 1996, Australia passed sweeping gun reform including firearms restrictions and a mandatory buyback program of semiautomatic rifles.  There is a national registration, an age requirement (18 or over), required training and storage, and grounds for license refusal (violent convictions, mental or physical fitness).  After the buyback program, there has not been a single mass shooting.

While talk of gun reform legislation can be politically divisive, Kristof cites 2017 polls from the Pew Research Center and the Quinnipiac University National Poll that reveal that both gun owners and those without are fairly close in their views on several policies to make guns safer: background checks for all gun buyers (93%,96%); preventing the mentally ill from buying guns (89%, 89%) nationwide ban of sale of guns to people convicted of violent crimes (88%, 85%).  However, in some areas consensus is less likely such as banning the sale of high capacity ammunition magazines (52%, 77%). 

New Hampshire currently rates a “D”grade in terms of gun regulations according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.  The Center finds that states with the strongest gun regulations tend to get an “A” in its grading system.  Tightened gun laws in Connecticut resulted in a 40 percent decrease in gun homicide rates. 

Last year NHPHA began to tackle this tough issue by adopting a policy statement to allow us to advocate for measures to decrease deaths due to firearms.  Our policy supports: universal background checks; improving data on gun ownership and firearm injury and death data; restricting the sale of military-style weapons and large-capacity ammunition clips or magazines and more.  Our need now is for volunteers willing to stand together to carry out advocacy efforts.  Please contact Rachel Maxwell, our policy committee chair if this is of interest to you.  The time to hold our policymakers accountable is now.  NHPHA encourages its members to join with and support the voices of Florida’s youth to call for sound policies to stop the senseless violence both in New Hampshire and across the nation. 

header for Feb 15 2018

You don't want to miss this training where you will learn and have your questions answered about the limits and differences between Advocacy and Lobbying activities. Two subject experts - one from the national perspective and the other from the NH perspective will be on board.

What can you do as a non-profit or public health official? What are the legal sources of lobbying restrictions? What is advocacy, direct lobbying, and grassroots lobbying? As we move into the thick of the New Hampshire legislative session be ready with the information you get at this opportunity.

Kerri McGowan Lowrey will be presenting information that will empower you to effectively advocate for your organization without breaking any laws. She will cover Federal Restrictions, IRS info, and more.

Jim Monahan will bring it home by focusing on NH advocacy opportunities; and the skill sets necessary to successfully advocate at the NH legislature for your agency.

There will be ample time for your questions at the end of the presentations.

When: February 15, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Snow Date: February 22.
Where: University of NH School of Law, 2 White Street, Concord, NH
Who: Anyone interested in learning more about advocacy and lobbying - novices to experienced - all are welcome
Cost: $15 for NHPHA Members; $30 for Non-members; $15 for students.

Note: There are some scholarships available for students. Please contact to apply.

Register here.  For more info contact

More info about the presenters.

Kerri McGowan Lowrey, JD, MPH, is Deputy Director and Director for Grants & Research for the Network for Public Health Law’s Eastern Region at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Kerri has more than 15 years of experience in public health law and policy. Her areas of research include injury prevention law, particularly sports and recreational injury prevention in children and adolescents; the role of law in cancer prevention; and transportation policy and public health.

James (Jim) Monahan, Vice President, The Dupont Group has a strong and established public affairs practice that focuses on representing businesses, trade associations and non-profit organizations before state and national governmental agencies. This work includes an emphasis on policy development, legislative advocacy and effective communications.Jim’s professional focus includes energy, transportation and environmental issues. He does work in the healthcare field, with an emphasis on Medicaid policy.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB6HP27877 “Regional Public Health Training Center Program”
Call out for leadership! The NHPHA Membership Committee is seeking a Co-Chair to fill the vacant seat on the committee. Please reach out to current Co-Chair Ashley Peters ( with questions and/or nominations.

Monarchs NHPHA Member Appreciation Event. On Saturday, March 3rd @ 6PM, NHPHA will take a trip to the Manchester Monarchs. We've received significantly discounted tickets through the Monarchs - $12 for kids and $16 for adults. Reserve your tickets now. Come hang out with your fellow #publichealthnerds and their families


NHPHA Open House Recap
. In December, NHPHA hosted their annual open house. It was a night of great public health conversation, networking and fun with NHPHA members and their families. We also had a special visit from Representative Rebecca McBeath from Rockingham (District 26). Thank you to everyone who was able to join us!

Melissa resized  OpenHouseGroup

Membership Renewal Pins. As a thank you to our members for their membership renewal, the Committee has purchased pins for our members as a thank you. We hope that you will wear your pins with pride at NHPHA and other public health events. Pins can be picked up at NHPHA events, or to coordinate a pick up, please e-mail Ashley Peters (

Snapshot of membership numbers: As of January 31, 2018, NHPHA has 134 individual members and 21 organizational members.

New and renewing members. We'd like to welcome our new members:

  • Christine Paulik
  • Corey Dowe
  • Diane Sullivan

A special shout-out to our renewing individual members: Shannon Casey, Michael Cohen, Jackie Aguilar, Theresa Calope  and Marc Hiller. We'd also like to welcome back Breathe NH as an organizational member.
Guest post written by Ashley Conley, MS, CPH, CHEP, Catholic Medical Center

It’s that time of year again when we see an increase in influenza activity across the country. As of January 20th, the entire country was seeing widespread influenza activity, including New Hampshire. With so much influenza activity, there has been a lot of media attention on the topic. Are you tired of listening to the media reports? Tired of listening to the public health announcements about vaccination and hand hygiene? I know I start to get a bogged down by all the media after a few weeks of influenza season but I urge you to remain vigilant with your influenza prevention habits, and for good reason!

Influenza A (H3N2) is dominating the influenza landscape this year. Historically, this strain brings an increase in hospitalizations, deaths and influenza activity in the community. As you can see in the figure below from the CDC, this year’s influenza season has a similar level of activity to the 2014-2015 influenza season, which caused an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. Nationwide, there have been 37 pediatric deaths since the start of the influenza season. Thankfully, we have not seen any in New Hampshire at the time of this writing. The age group seeing the highest rate of hospitalizations from influenza is adults over the age of 65. 

What can you do to fight the flu? The top three ways are: get vaccinated, wash your hands (all the time!), and discuss taking antivirals if you get influenza. It can take 2 weeks for your body to develop antibodies after you get the vaccine so don’t delay and get it today. It’s not too late! Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless you wash your hands first and clean and disinfect commonly touched items such as your desk and phone. If you start to come down with symptoms of influenza, such as a fever, cough, body aches and sore throat, talk to your doctor about taking antiviral medications, especially if you are over 65 years old or have a high risk health condition (e.g. asthma, diabetes). Antivirals have been shown to reduce serious complications from influenza.2

Stay up to date on what is happening with influenza and don’t just rely on the media reports. Check out the data by going to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website for a statewide perspective or go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website ( for a regional or national perspective. The CDC also has an interactive dashboard you can manipulate to look at the data you are interested in. Check it out by going to Stay healthy this influenza season!

1CDC. (2018). Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report. Retrieved from
2CDC. (2018). Preventive Steps. Retrieved from
Guest post by Rising Star, Hannah Leeman, CDC Public Health Associate
New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, Concord, NH
Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance

Rising StarI am honored to be able to share my experience in New Hampshire public health and my work with the NHPHA community. I am a CDC Public Health Associate working in New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, on issues of antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections. The CDC Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) is a two year fellowship/training program for early career public health professionals to gain frontline public health experience. Associates are assigned to public health agencies and nongovernmental organizations across the United States and US territories, and work alongside other professionals across a variety of public health settings. If you are interested to learn more about the program, you can find information at the following link: I am happy and honored to have been placed in New Hampshire and I have had the privilege of being here over a year.

While New England was familiar territory, as I grew up near Portland, Maine and attended college in the Boston area, at Brandeis University where I completed my undergraduate studies in public health, New Hampshire was a brand new experience. I was delighted to find a small yet vibrant public health community which I was able to engage with quickly. I have found that the collaboration and partnership across different health sectors and program areas that takes place in a small state public health structure both an exciting and  nurturing learning environment.

My work at NH DPHS has been primarily focused on understanding and combatting antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. When I first began my work in New Hampshire in the fall of 2016, the antimicrobial resistance program was just getting started, allowing me to be part of shaping and taking a leadership role in the program, an experience which has been incredibly fulfilling. The primary goal of our program’s antimicrobial resistance activities is to better understand drug resistance in NH, engender statewide collaboration and coordinated efforts to work towards reducing resistance and preventing antibiotic resistant infections in NH.

One of my major projects in recent months has been the creation of a statewide antibiogram. The first event state antibiogram was published in New Hampshire last month. An antibiogram is a chart that compares bacterial organisms to antibiotics and shows the percent susceptibility of each organism to each respective antibiotic. An antibiogram is produced by all hospital labs across the state, and then the data were compiled into a statewide antibiogram. This is the first that’s been done in New Hampshire and one of only a few across the county. Antibiograms are both a clinical tool to assist providers in prescribing appropriately based on the population resistance, which can directly lead to the better treatment of patients, and they are also an important public health tool to track resistance over time and geographically. As part of this project, I worked closely with many different clinical infectious disease doctors and pharmacists to develop messaging around the data and I have also had the privilege to travel across the state presenting the antibiogram and our findings. If you want to check out the first NH state 2016 antibiogram report, you can find that here:

I am also planning the first annual New Hampshire Antimicrobial Stewardship Symposium, a large statewide conference to discuss and kick start state coordinated efforts of antibiotic stewardship to promote the responsible and judicious use of antibiotics across New Hampshire. The issue of antimicrobial stewardship is one that reaches across disciplines and healthcare types, and we hope this symposium will to reflect that in the audience it attracts. This symposium is targeted toward physicians, nurses, pharmacists, veterinarians, dentists, laboratorians, public health professionals, healthcare administration, and any other leaders in stewardship in all healthcare settings. It is taking place May 23rd, 2018 at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. I encourage anyone interested to join us, and please be in touch if you’d like more information! I can be reached at, (603) 271-1058.

Antibiotic resistance is an issue that affects everyone and we each have a role to play in prevention. The link below provides further information on antibiotics and describes ways that you can be a responsible user of antibiotics.

I have enjoyed and learned so much from my experience in my past year plus in New Hampshire. I have been lucky to work closely with many smart and passionate public health advocates here at NH DPHS. I look forward to my coming months here before I plan to return to school full time to pursue a Master’s in Public Health.
Guest post by Meghan Farrell, New Futures

The New Hampshire Health Protection Program, also known as Medicaid Expansion, is a unique, New Hampshire solution that leverages federal dollars to ensure that all Granite Staters have access to quality and affordable health care. Over 130,000 New Hampshire residents have accessed necessary care throughout the program’s lifetime. Over 23,000 individuals have used their coverage to access substance use services, making the program our number one tool in fighting the Granite State’s addiction epidemic.

Unfortunately, this critical program is set to sunset at the end of 2018. Currently, lawmakers are considering multiple proposals to reauthorize Medicaid Expansion, ensuring that tens of thousands of Granite Staters get the care they need to get healthy and get back to work.

It is crucial that our lawmakers understand the benefits of Medicaid Expansion to our economy, workforce, and communities.

How can you support Medicaid Expansion?

Help plan, or attend, an in-district meeting

An in-district meeting with your representatives is the perfect opportunity to explain to them the immense and unique impact that Medicaid Expansion has had on your own community. In-districts look different in each community, but overall allow lawmakers to hear from a wide variety of constituents, organizations, and businesses that they represent.

Contact your representatives

Phone calls, emails, letters, and in-person meetings with your senators and representatives to urge them to support reauthorization can happen at any time. Click here to find your lawmakers.

Submit a letter to the editor

Advocating in the media will help make sure that your lawmakers see all angles of this issue from lots of different sources. Consider submitting a letter to the editor to your local newspaper in support of Medicaid Expansion reauthorization.

Collect client stories

Stories of success from Medicaid Expansion beneficiaries help to demonstrate the local impact of this program. Collecting client success stories to bring to your lawmakers, or empowering clients to share their stories themselves, will help lawmakers understand the many lives that benefit from the program. Individuals can also share their stories via this link.

Use social media

Social media is an important tool to advocate for issues that we care about. Some sample tweets about Medicaid Expansion include:

Over 50,000 residents have health care because of #MedEx. What will they do if this program sunsets? #nhpolitics
#MedEx supports NH's low-income workforce and it helps people get back to work. Without it, our economy would suffer. #nhpolitics

New Futures has talking points, planned in-district meetings, sample phone scripts, and letters to the editor to make it as easy as possible for you or your organization to get involved. Please contact Holly Stevens at for more information.
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