Issue: Spring into Summer 2022
NCHC presents 2022 - 2025 CHIP, highlights
Social Determinants of Health
North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) has released the 2022-2025 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for the region! A living document, the CHIP aims to create long-term strategies that improve health outcomes for the North Country and its residents throughout Coos and Northern Grafton Counties.

The CHIP update retains previously identified priority areas of the last 2018 – 2020 edition; obesity, oral health, public health emergency preparedness, misuse of drugs and alcohol, heart disease and stroke, and mental health are still significant areas of concern. In the latest CHIP, these priority areas are broadened to be more inclusive of the population’s identified needs.
Notably, Social Determinants of Health are for the first time named as a distinct priority.
Click below to view the North Country CHIP
(+ Community Health Assessment!)
 NCHC's Director of Public Health Programs, Kris van Bergen Buteau, said:

 Through a collaborative process, the CHIP framework can be used over the next three years by a variety of sectors, organizations, and individuals serving the region— including business, education, health, safety, municipalities, faith-based, community support, task forces, and coalitions— to mobilize in areas where we can be most impactful. View the 2022-25 North Country CHIP.
NCHC welcomes newest Board of Directors
NCHC thrives to expand membership and representation within its Board of Directors. Over the past year, we proudly welcomed a group of individuals who each bring to the table equal parts insight and commitment to the health and wellness of their communities from their corners of the public health landscape.

Meet the newest members of NCHC Board leadership!
Shannon Bates, Secretary
Shannon Bates began serving on the NCHC Board in November 2021, becoming an Officer in March when she accepted the position of Secretary! A Certified Recovery Support Worker (CRSW) at White Horse Recovery's The Shed at Serenity Center, Shannon is also the Assistant Regional Manager of White Mountain Recovery Homes. Shannon said:

My desire to join the NCHC Board of Directors was fueled by a strong belief in the work that the Consortium has done thus far and intends to do in the future. I believe in the missions and visions of the various programs and believe it is an honor to be of service to a local agency who is dedicated to advocating for and educating our communities for the betterment of the health and wellness of our local population.
Shannon's favorite quote: "No one has ever become poor by giving."
- Anne Frank
Heidi's favorite quote: The reason we often have so much discomfort in the face of change is because it threatens our identity and sense of self.” 
– Dr. Maya Shankar
Heidi Barker, Director
Heidi Barker joined the NCHC Board in September 2021. As the Extension Field Specialist, Health & Well-Being & County Office Administrator at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Cooperative Extension, Heidi and UNH Extension have partnered with NCHC in various health improvement capacities throughout the years, including a recent COVID-19 vaccine education initiative. Heidi also serves as the Co-backbone Facilitator of Androscoggin Valley Farm to School Coalition and is the Tri-Coordinator for Project Homebound. Heidi said her motivation for joining the BOD was:

Partnership with community health work throughout the region with health care partners; the opportunity to increase, engage and build on social determinants of health initiatives.
Mark Bonta, Director
Mark Bonta has served on the NCHC Board since November 2021. He joins business sector with Recovery Champion as the Plant Manager of Genfoot America (Kamik Outdoor Footwear), a State-Designated Recovery-Friendly-Workplace (RFW) for which he sits on the RFW State Advisory Council. Secretary of the Kamik 5K charitable organization, Mark's recent community work focuses on affordable workforce housing, while he often continues assisting the Littleton Chamber of Commerce where he sat on the BOD for two years, on projects that are within his field of expertise. Mark said:

My community roles are primarily in the recovery area. I've been working very closely with NCHC since the 2018 advent of the RFW [Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative], and when I was asked to join the BOD, I felt it was a great fit for me.

Mark's favorite quote: "Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts.” -Margaret Mead
Tiffany's favorite quote:"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tiffany Haynes, Director
Tiffany Haynes joined the NCHC Board in November 2021. President & CEO of North Country Home Health and Hospice where she has dedicated the past 5 years of her career, Tiffany is a Nurse by trade.
As a native of Stratford and current Lisbon resident, Tiffany nods at her North Country roots and dedication to her community:

As a community member and CEO, I strongly feel that the residents of the North Country should have access to exceptional healthcare above the notch. I also recognize that providing support to our rural communities takes a village. I want to assist the Consortium in any way possible to help them continue to achieve their mission of improving the health status of northern NH. 

Jamie D'Alessandro, Director
Jamie D'Alessandro joined the NCHC Board in November 2021. A force and commited advocate in the recovery community, Jamie is a Certified Recovery Support Worker (CRSW)/Family Support Coordinator for White Horse Recovery's The Shed at Serenity Center as well as the Center & Regional Manager for White Mountains Recovery Homes. Jamie said:

I was motivated to become a Board Member because of my connection to the recovery community and wanting to be a part of everything on
every level.

Jamie's favorite quote: "Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them.”
- Carmelo Anthony
Ann's favorite quote:"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
- Abraham Lincoln

Ann Duffy, Director
Recently joining the NCHC Board by succession in May, Ann Duffy is the Chief Financial Officer of long time NCHC member organization, Cottage Hospital.
Ann said:

Cottage has been a community partner with the Consortium for many years and strongly supports the important work being done. 
NH's Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative continues gaining steam in North Country
Since the inception of New Hampshire's Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW), in the North Country the RFW initiative steadily grows both in the number of local designees and value NCHC continually builds into the program. As the North Country's RFW regional point-of-contact, beyond the initial program orientation NCHC provides ongoing support to RFW designated employers, including resources through its AskPETRA program and the Northern NH RFW Advisory Group, a local network of representatives from other RFW designated organizations dedicated to creating a supportive workplace around recovery from substance use disorders for employees and their loved ones.
Welcome to the Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) family, Littleton Co-op!
NCHC neighbor, Littleton Food Co-op received their RFW designation on April 11th. From NCHC, Community Health Worker/Recovery Coach, Savanah Miller and Substance Misuse Prevention (SMP) Coordinator, Greg Williams were there to present the RFW designation and officially welcome Littleton Co-op into the Initiative. The Co-op's Community Outreach Coordinator, Becky Colpitts, received the certificate along with her team.
Since, the Co-op has hit the ground running with RFW! Through NCHC, Co-op management staff have been trained in Drug recognition, stigma, asking for help, Naloxone administration, and guidance on handling complicated SUD situations from another local RFW. The Co-op is also an onsite carrier of Save One Life Kits containing life-saving Naloxone from AskPETRA.
Save One Life - Carry Naloxone!
NCHC is also working with designated RFWs in the region to provide on-site 1:1 recovery support with a trained Community Health Worker/Recovery Coach, a closed-loop referral system, as well as assistance for family members to increase access to recovery support for those in need, while relieving pressure on employers and their Human Resources departments by helping to retain employees in recovery.
Recovery Friendly Workplaces of the North Country
The roster of North Country RFW designated organizations currently includes:
NCHC, Littleton Food Co-op, DCI Furniture, Genfoot America, The Shed at Serenity Center, SBP Builders, Phlume Media, White Mountain Recovery Homes, PAK Solutions, Family Resource Center, AHEAD, Casella Waste Management, Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, The Doorways (at AVH & LRH), Mascoma Savings Bank
NCHC expanding Community Health Worker program and workforce
NCHC advocates for and promotes the role of community health workers (CHWs) within the community, health care settings, and public health spaces. Through its flagship 9-week CHW training and leadership provided to the NH CHW Coalition, NCHC not only offers CHW services to the community through Ways2Wellness CONNECT, but contributes to the development of the CHW role and workforce, both in the region and statewide. With the CHW initiative expanding, we are hiring 2 new Program Coordinators! Find out more and join our team!
"Plant the Promise" tulips bloom in Haverhill community

Spring's in full bloom! The Haverhill Area Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition (HASMPC) has been enjoying the flowers of their Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31) plantings.
As is tradition, the Coalition distributed tulip bulbs in observance of the National campaign on October 23-31st, so
community partners could "plant the promise" for a drug-free community. Come Spring, red blooms serve as beautiful reminders of that promise.
Happy Pride Month, June 2022!
National Drug Take Back Day in the North Country, April 2022 results are in!
This Spring's April 2022 DEA National Drug Take Back Day yielded a total of
11, 085.5 pounds of unused, expired, and unwanted medications collectected for safe disposal across New Hampshire. The North Country contributed a combined 7% = 737 pounds-Thank you to all participating North Country Police Departments!
Oral Health Education
& Connection Project - recap in #'s
NCHC's Oral Health Program has been working over several years on the Oral Health Education & Connection Project. The project focuses on the infant to 5 year-old age group by providing education to pre-school teachers, staff and parents about important oral health topics such as toothbrushing, feeding and eating practices, the importance of fluoride, how to locate and establish a dental home, and how to utilize dental insurance such as Medicaid. By using a train-the-trainer approach facilitated by NCHC's Public Health Program Manager who is a Certified Public Health Dental Hygienist, NCHC aims to create sustainable change in the way oral health is viewed and addressed, and get kids off to a better, healthier start. Check out our review to date of the Oral Health & Education Project in numbers:
Spring 2022 lived streamed UP Conference in the books- Watch the replay!
The Spring 2022 Up Granite Youth Conference convened on April 21st! This was the third live streamed UP in a row since the inception of the youth facilitated event focused on empowering young people in the North Country to advocate for their mental health and that of their peers. A past presenter at the last in-person UP Conference, renowned youth motivational speaker, Jeff Yalden, returned to speak to students at UP's 3rd virtual event. Student leader and 2022 White Mountains Regional High School senior, Grace Frink followed Yalden's address to host the mental health-focused dialogue with the young adult group:
In June, North Country raised MMA fighter Sean Lally pledged and donated his June 4th fight purse to the production of the upcoming Fall 2022 UP Granite Youth Conference. Look out for more news on the Fall UP!
Mental Health Awareness Month, May 2022!
DID YOU KNOW? Suicide is the second leading cause of death for New Hampshire youth ages 10 to 24. Through collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI NH), the North Country Public Health Network is engaged in initiatives that expand access to suicide prevention training and resources in the North Country.

The language that we use goes a long way to promote understanding, hope, and open conversation about mental health. Spread the good word: your language matters!
North Country first responders train in Crisis Intervention (CIT)
On May 16-20, NCHC brought the First Responder model of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training to the North Country live and in-person at the Northwoods Center for Continuing Education in Whitefield. CIT emphasizes officer and citizen safety and proper referral for those in crisis.
All first responders working/volunteering in Coos or Northern Grafton Counties were welcome to join at no cost and with reimbursement for their time away from work for the 5-day 40-hour training. The training covered topics including practical application of Crisis Intervention Teams in their own departments and patrol operations; how to interact with someone in psychiatric crisis; how certain techniques may safely diffuse potentially violent encounters; and the landscape of the state and community mental health system.
Nine participants took the May CIT training and represented the following organizations and roles in the community:
Grafton County Department of Corrections, Berlin Police Department, Littleton Police Department,
Littleton Fire & Rescue, The Shed at the Serenity Center:

  • Fire Fighter/AEMT 
  • Sheriff
  • Police Officer
  • Intake Sergeant
  • Community Corrections Director
  • Rapid Response Peer Specialist

NCHC is looking forward to providing more opportunities later this year to our law enforcement and first responders to engage with the Crisis Intervention Team curriculum.
North Country Subtance Use Disorder & Prevention series wrapping up
Sub-contracted with the NH Alcohol & Drug Counselors Association (NHADACA), Northern NH Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is getting ready to wrap up the North Country Substance Use Disorder (SUD) & Prevention Series with the 13th and last session on June 23, "Helping NH's Families in Addiction: Resources to Help Kinship Caregivers."

Presentations of the 2021 - 2022 SUD & Prevention Series lineup were related to the best practices in the treatment of substance use disorders and offered continuing education to a variety of professionals including social workers, nurses, physicians, providers, certified prevention specialists, alcohol and drug counselors, and certified recovery support workers. Topics covered in the series were deteremined using a combined needs assessment identified by NHADACA and an additional needs assessment determined by NCHC staff polling our regional SUD treatment and prevention staff and stakeholders.

The initial plan for the SUD & Prevention Series was to hold live trainings in northern NH, but the COVID-19 pandemic required a switch to a remote virtual format. However, the benefits of Zoom turned out a wider range of attendees from other parts of the state and beyond. Northern NH AHEC looks forward to continue offering these collaborative interprofessional trainings in the upcoming year and sticking with the accessible virtual format.

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