Save the ChildrenTwo Colby-Sawyer College sophomore public health students, Lila Bradley & Molly Pfenning, recently had the opportunity to attend the annual Save the Children Advocacy Network summit in Washington, D.C. during their spring break.  

I spoke to Lila about her experience recently, and how it has impacted her future in the public health field.  She informed me that Save the Children is an international organization with a mission of increasing childhood education domestically as well as ending preventable disease and increasing child and maternal health internationally.  

After hearing about the summit from her advisor, Shari Goldberg, Professor, School of Nursing and Health Professions, Lila completed the application in early December and soon learned that she received a scholarship to attend the summit in D.C. 

There, she spent three days attending conferences on early childhood education, child and maternal health, and how to initiate change in her own community. 

Specifically, Lila told me that the conferences emphasized the need to support local organizations such as HeadStart early development programs in schools; these essential programs are often underfunded and suffer from a lack of basic supplies. 

The trip culminated in an exciting opportunity to go to Capitol Hill to meet and speak with US Senator Maggie Hassan on issues they are particularly concerned about in New Hampshire. Some of the issues that they discussed included the need for increased government funding for early childhood development programs as well as the policies Senator Hassan is considering initiating in NH to improve early childhood education.  

Upon returning to school, the two students have started a Save the Children club on campus, hoping to raise awareness of the organization and their mission; and perform such activities as book drives for local preschools and Head Start programs, among other projects.  Lila told me she found the trip, “Exhausting but empowering. And it definitely validated my reason for being in public health.”  We can’t wait to see what these students do with their newly gained knowledge from this wonderful opportunity. You can learn more about this worthy organization and all the work they do at https://www.savethechildren.org/.
Registration is now open for the New Hampshire Antimicrobial Stewardship Symposium which is taking place at Eventthe Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH on May 23rd, 2018!  Registration is now open for the New Hampshire Antimicrobial Stewardship Symposium which is taking place at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH on May 23rd, 2018!
  
The New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, in co-sponsorship with the Foundation for Healthy Communities and the New England Quality Improvement Network, is thrilled to be hosting the first annual New Hampshire Antimicrobial Stewardship Symposium. Planners look forward to bringing together a large multidisciplinary group from across the state to address issues of antimicrobial stewardship in New Hampshire.
To save your spot on May 23rd for this exciting event, please REGISTER HERE

The day’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Arjun Srinivasan of the CDC Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion presenting on “Setting the Stage of National Efforts of Antimicrobial Resistance.” 
 
For more information about the day, see the event website page here or contact Hannah Leeman at hannah.leeman@dhhs.nh.gov or (603)271-1058Registration is now open for the New Hampshire Antimicrobial Stewardship Symposium which is taking place at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH on May 23rd, 2018!

By Marcella Bobinsky, NHPHA President, and Emily Goulet, Workforce Development Coordinator

It is always a joy to celebrate organizational achievements and thank accomplished professionals. The 2019 NHPHA Annual Meeting provided time for us to do just that. Plus, the community was introduced to young public health professionals through the poster exhibition and the Rising Stars program. Our thanks go out to all who participated, attended, sponsored, and supported the first silent auction.

At this meeting, the Board of Directors had the honor of naming annual award winners for the following categories:

  • Roger Fossum Lifetime Achievement Award: Audrey Knight
  • Friend of Public Health Award: Sally A. Kraft, MD, MPH
  • NH Community Health Service Award: The Union Leader
  • Rising Star Award: Kelley Gaspa

Outgoing President Rebecca Sky gave the President’s award to Katie Robert and Neil Twitchell. Three members of the 2018–2019 Board of Directors were thanked for their years of service: Tyler Brandow, Jeanie Holt, and Katie Robert.

Congratulations to the award recipients. You each bring a talent and passion to the work that you do every day. Thanks to those who nominated these outstanding individuals and the organization.

Cassie Yackley, PsyD, was the Keynote Speaker. She focused her talk on adverse childhood experiences, their impact, and the opportunities that public health has to develop resilience in our children.

Sixteen graduate and undergraduate public health students from six New Hampshire universities presented the results of their research projects. The posters were scored by public health professionals. Graduate student Vanessa Grunkemeyer and undergraduate student Sage Lincoln received the highest scores. They both received free registration to the New England Public Health Conference.

Sage Lincoln, an undergraduate student at Colby-Sawyer College, conducted a project entitled “Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health While Reducing Stigma in College Students at Colby-Sawyer College.” Sexual health becomes increasingly important as young adults gain independence. However, due to the current state of sexual education in the United States, many individuals are not properly educated on sexual health topics or safe practices. This hypothetical intervention project considers a mandatory sexual education graduation requirement at the college level, supplemental education opportunities outside of the classroom, and additional resources for students. The potential intervention is designed for implementation at Colby-Sawyer College to improve health outcomes in the college-age population. Completion and evaluation of this program could influence other colleges to implement similar programs to benefit their student populations.

Vanessa Grunkemeyer, a graduate student at UNH, conducted a project entitled “Assessment of Biosecurity at Live Poultry Vendors in NH.” Every year thousands of hatchling poultry birds are sold at secondary vendors, such as feed and garden stores, in NH. These birds represent a public health risk primarily because poultry can asymptomatically shed multiple species of enteric bacteria, including nontyphoidal Salmonella spp., that are potentially zoonotic. This project consisted of the development and application of an assessment tool to evaluate the biosecurity at second-party live poultry vendors in NH. The ultimate goal in analyzing the data from these assessments is to identify areas for improvement in biosecurity to reduce the risk of disease transmission from these birds.

The Rising Stars Pre-Session this year was a Career Panel of public health professionals who work in a variety of capacities all over the state. We hosted Victoria Adewumi, MA, Public Health Specialist I/Community Liaison at the Manchester Health Department; Ashley Conley, MS, CPH, CHEP, Director of the Infection Prevention Department at Catholic Medical Center; Katrina Hansen, MPH, Chief of Infectious Disease Surveillance Section for Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, DHHS; Melissa Schoemmell, MPH, Program Coordinator at Community Health Institute/JSI; and LCDR Torane Hull (TW), RN, MSN, MPA, CPH, CDC Public Health Adviser for the United States Public Health Service, NH Immunization Section at Bureau of Infectious Disease Control for New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, DHHS. The panel was well received by the students who participated, particularly the round-robin discussion at the end. This is a great way for students to learn what types of public health exist in NH, as well as the variety of paths one can take within public health.

This year, NHPHA hosted its first annual Silent Auction at the Annual Meeting. The auction launched one week prior to the meeting, via an online platform, culminating in an in-person live auction. We were thrilled with the support from local businesses and artists. We were able to offer gift certificates to restaurants, passes to movie theatres and entertainment venues, tickets for games and adventures, local artwork, handmade crafted items, wine tastings, and so much more! Thank you to our supportive donors and to everyone who bid! It was a new and exciting addition to the Annual Meeting, and we were thrilled with its success.

The Annual Meeting and the programs of the NHPHA depend on our individual and corporate members. It is their generosity, commitment, and activism that are the lifeblood of this organization. In the past three years, under the guidance of the Board of Directors, NHPHA has accepted the challenge of championing public health policy and practice, enriching the workforce, and inspiring leaders to improve the public’s health. To that end, we have hired an Executive Director and a Workforce Development Coordinator. We continue to move forward with our three-year growth plan and strategic imperatives. This summer, we will once again convene a strategic planning session to ensure that we are listening to our members, identifying our weaknesses, and leveraging our strengths.

In 2018, NHPHA was named American Public Health Association’s “Affiliate of the Year.” This award tells us that we are doing something right and have the elements in place to make a real difference for the public’s health. The Board of Directors will be asking for your help.

 

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.

NHPHA Annual Meeting 2018 002NHPHA's 2019 annual meeting was a great success! To read the wrap-up, click here.

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: http://www.leadfreekidsnh.org/index.php

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 info@nhpha.org to apply.

Register here.  For more info contact info@nhpha.org

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 (Ashley.Peters@unh.edu) 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

Monarchs



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 (Ashley.Peters@unh.edu).

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. 

Flu
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 https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/influenza/activity.htm for a statewide perspective or go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm) 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 https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/fluportaldashboard.html. Stay healthy this influenza season!

1CDC. (2018). Weekly US Influenza Surveillance Report. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm#ILIMap.
2CDC. (2018). Preventive Steps. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm
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