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Halloween and COVID-19: Tips on how to safely celebrate

by Jayme Simoes, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair, President of Louis Karno & Company Communications, LLC

Candy, costumes, and the spooky experience; everyone loves Halloween! But in the face of the COVID-19 Delta variant, should you take a rain check if your kids are not vaccinated, or someone at home is vulnerable?

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Food Insecurity: Legislation amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Tiffany Dodier, Food Access Coalition Coordinator

With both unemployment and nutrition waivers and flexibilities coming to an end, there is concern for food insecurity to rise once again. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on this issue and resulted in several changes and new legislation being introduced at both the federal and state levels. 

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October NHPHA Member Spotlight: Laura Davie

by Jess Barnett, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

Each month, the NHPHA e-newsletter will be doing a spotlight on an NHPHA member or board member. For this month’s feature, we asked NHPHA member Laura Davie to answer some questions for us.

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Mask Requirements in New Hampshire Schools

by Jayme Simoes, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair, President of Louis Karno & Company Communications, LLC

New Hampshire families are sending their kids back to school this fall with a lack of guidance from our state on masks in schools. That will have real consequences since, due to the Delta variant, simply passing in the hallway can lead to contagion. Already in states where kids are back at school, the numbers are alarming, and this public health crisis needs to be addressed and depoliticized. State policy needs to be driven by data—and we must look to protect kids to stop the spread. When it comes to keeping kids safe let us take our advice from the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics, and Infectious Diseases Society of America.

The current policy to make masks optional or, worse, to ban their use, is not supported by evidence and science. The only way to end COVID-19 is to stop the spread, and that means helping the most vulnerable children stay safe and stay healthy. Starting school without state leadership could lead to more remote learning due to outbreaks, which also hurts kids. Given all that is at stake, it just makes sense to have universal masking in schools and safeguard children who are at high risk for COVID-19 from asthma, obesity, and immune system issues, among other health risks. There is no other choice until we have vaccine approval for kids younger than age 12.

New Hampshire needs to stop the politics and implement at a state level the CDC’s recommendations to protect our kids.

September Board Member Spotlight: Gail Tudor

by Jess Barnett, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair, with Gail Tudor, NHPHA Board President

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Health Misinformation in the Time of COVID-19

by Lisabritt Solsky, NHPHA Membership Committee Co-Chair, Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at Granite State Independent Living

Yesterday the U.S. Surgeon General issued a declaration regarding the spread of false information regarding COVID-19 and coronavirus vaccines. Why? In short, because nearly all loss of life due to COVID-19 right now is preventable and avoidable. And public health professionals are all about avoiding preventable and unnecessary death and illness.  

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We are Public Health: National Recovery Month

by Lisa Vasquez, MS, CPS, NHPHA Communications Committee Member, Behavioral Health Strategist at Division of Public Health & Community Services

September is “Recovery Month”. We celebrate recovery from Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness. Why have an entire month dedicated to recovery you may ask? Recovery Month reminds everyone that Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness can happen to anyone and that recovery is possible. Let us take a minute to think about this in a different way. Have you ever broken a bone, had surgery or even had a common cold? You had to somehow recover from those ailments. It often was not easy; it took time to feel better.

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Inside NHPHA: Exciting Organizational Developments

by April Mottram, NHPHA Executive Director 

The New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA) is excited to share that the organization has been awarded a three-year, $300,000 operating grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Community Crisis Action Fund 2021, Community Crisis Action Fund. This funding will provide NHPHA with the flexibility to respond to the changing needs of the public health landscape brought about by the pandemic. NHPHA will use operational funding to invest in systems and human resources, including a part-time Advocacy Coordinator to champion public health policy and advocacy, and a part-time Communications Coordinator to develop and implement strategic communications around health inequities. Enhancing infrastructure will enable NHPHA to move towards a Public Health 3.0 model in the organization’s program planning, implementation, and monitoring. This model recognizes that building healthy communities where everyone can thrive requires strategic collaborations and a focus on upstream interventions to address social determinants of health to achieve health equity. NHPHA will continue working to cultivate a collective voice to foster healthy communities.

NHPHA is also combining various funding sources to recruit for a part-time Workforce & Coalition Coordinator. This position will be responsible for strengthening the organization’s workforce development program which will include coordinating professional development training and networking opportunities and enhancing and expanding the public health workforce pipeline. In addition, the Workforce & Coalition Coordinator will convene, facilitate, or support multi-sector partnerships and coalitions.

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Inside NHPHA: Encouraging Continued Learning in the Workforce

by Gail Tudor, NHPHA President   

As NHPHA has just completed a survey to assess the educational needs of the NH public health workforce, it seems an appropriate time to remind all of us how important continuing education is to all employees. I would also like to take this time to thank all those who completed the survey. We greatly appreciate your input and your time to complete the survey.

As an educator for the last 27 years, I am continuously thinking about how people learn as they progress through their careers and how to encourage lifelong learning. Workforce development trains individuals to be more productive and prosperous in the workplace, which benefits both the employer and the worker. It also benefits the community. As noted on CDC’s website, “A well-trained public health workforce is our first line of defense to prevent disease, protect health, and keep people safe.” The National Consortium for Public Health Workforce Development encourages us to support projects that contribute to the development of strategic skills throughout the public health workforce. The World Economic Forum, on the Future of Job, says, “By 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling.”

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COVID-19 Equity Task Force August 2021 Update

by Trinidad Tellez, MD, HealthEquity Strategist

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NH Budget Adds $150,000 to Hunger Fight

by Tiffany Dodier, Food Access Coalition Coordinator

A lesser-known part of New Hampshire’s $13.5 billion budget may seem small to some, but is a big deal to hunger and nutrition advocates. 

Thanks to a $150,000 line item in the state budget, the current Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentive programs in the state will get a boost in financial support to increase access to local fruits and vegetables for those in need.  NH SNAP incentive programs such as Granite State Market Match (GSMM) and Double-Up Food Bucks (DUFB) – programs run by the New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities NH – allow for SNAP recipients to double the value of fresh produce purchases at farmers markets and participating local grocers. 

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Introducing NHPHA’s Member Spotlight Column!

NHPHA wants to highlight you and your organization’s hard work! Do you have news that you would like to share? Professional accomplishments or accolades? Large collaborative projects? Tell us about it in two to three paragraphs and we will share it in our newsletter! To be our next Member Spotlight send your write-up to our Program Assistant, Autumn Raschick-Goodwin, at [email protected]

NHPHA Summer Merchandise

NHPHA Summer Merchandise

Show your pride in and support of NHPHA’s work in style!  Summer selections of NHPHA’s merchandise includes women’s tank tops ($16), unisex baseball hats ($15), and our favorite men’s and women’s tees ($17 and $15 respectively) are back in stock! 

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Immunization Alliance August 2021 Update

by Tara Graham, Immunization Alliance Coordinator

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What About Workforce? August 2021 Update

by April Mottram, NHPHA Executive Director

Public health workforce development is a strategic imperative for the New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA).  To ensure the organization offers training based on identified needs, NHPHA contracted with Hope Worden Kenefick, MSW, PhD, to conduct a statewide training needs assessment.  In July, a survey was sent out to assess the training needs and priorities of the public health workforce and identify preferences and barriers related to training.  The survey was advertised on social media, and the opportunity to enter a drawing for a $25 gift card was offered as an incentive.  The winner of the survey was Elaine Hauserman.  

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Teen Mental Health and Suicide Prevention During a Pandemic

by Lisabritt Solsky, NHPHA Membership Committee Co-Chair

It is well documented that mental health has suffered during the pandemic.  More recently, the extent of that impact on teens has been getting more attention, and rightly so.  Various studies have shown marked increases in teen emergency room trips for mental health distress during the pandemic.  Experts speculate that lockdowns and separation from friends, school, and routine hit teens especially hard.  Teens’ developmental stage predisposes them to want distance from parents and growing connections with peers, which were not optimal or always feasible during the worst months of the pandemic.  Additional stressors such as remote learning, loss of sports, fear of poor academic performance or “lost ground”, and family financial strain may have compounded these effects for some teens.

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Fourth of July Safety Tips!

by Nicole Chute, Health Promotion & Communication Specialist, City of Nashua Division of Public Health & Community Services

Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. In New Hampshire, each town has its own firework laws. In some towns, fireworks cannot be set off without a permit, while others restrict use after certain hours or to particular days of the year, and a handful prohibit fireworks entirely. Public health officials advise individuals to enjoy fireworks safely by viewing them at public displays conducted by professionals, and not using fireworks at home. 

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Attention Bicyclists: Be Street Smart!

by Nicole Chute, Health Promotion and Communication Specialist at the City of Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services

It’s that time of year when the streets and trails begin to fill up with bicyclists. While bicycling is a great form of physical activity for all ages, it can also lead to unintentional injuries. In the United States, children and adolescents have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries, accounting for more than one-third of all bicycle-related injuries seen in emergency departments. The NHPHA invites our community to be street smart by gearing up and playing it safe before you move those pedals!

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NHPHA Communications Survey Results

by Jess Barnett, NHPHA Communications Committee Co-Chair

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Immunization Alliance July 2021 Update

by Tara Graham, NHPHA Immunization Coalition Coordinator

There are a lot of moving pieces and progress to report! First and foremost, we now have an official name: VaxWell NH, an Immunization Alliance. Coming up with this name was really a group effort by our Executive Steering Committee and our Consultants, and we are truly appreciative of their efforts and guidance. We also had a great introductory meeting on June 30th, where we learned a lot from our stakeholders in regards to what they’d like to see as this moves forward – thank you to all that attended!

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