Urgent Moments and the Long Haul 

Yvonne Goldsberry, Ph.D., EH President
"I can imagine a future where all people in our state and our nation are happy, healthy, and thriving -- a future where healthy aging is easy, and every child has what they need to grow to be their best self. A future where differences among our people are welcomed and celebrated. A future where geography and circumstance do not define our well-being."
These are my words which currently rest in boxes of undistributed annual reports. We had planned on giving them out at our March annual meeting. Cancelled. That was at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. It was before COVID overwhelmed Black and Brown communities across the nation. And it was before the mass protests and anguished calls that Black Lives Matter. It was before this urgent moment.
Our collective outrage and call for immediate change are warranted and necessary. We need everyone's bold action because beyond individual acts of hate against Black and Brown people, we live and work in systems designed to benefit only some. Those skewed systems block Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color from realizing economic opportunity, fair housing, health equity, education parity, and unbiased law enforcement. Removing those barriers is the real work it takes to get to my imagined future. It started well before and goes well beyond the current moment. It will most certainly take sustained commitment for the long haul.  
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The Moment We're In:  
Thoughts from Our Board  

"We are in an unusual moment in history given the intersecting crises of the global pandemic, and the public uprising in response to the police murders of Black people. It is shedding a light on the enormous inequities in our country across race and class, who is at greatest risk and who gets to live with dignity. The work we do is multi-generational and it will take a long time to transform the systems at the intersections of health and racial equity. And I believe this is a catalytic moment in which we must strengthen our resolve to align our resources and our voices with the communities most impacted by these crises."

-Jennifer Near, EH Board, Strategic Planning Committee Chair

"Traditions have a way of fostering caution. Emergencies have a way of introducing immediate action. During this time we have broken track records. The pandemic added a catalyst to the mix. Many longstanding issues were suddenly addressed through creativity and openness. We see the same catalytic energy in the awakening happening in the streets across the country. We can use these moments of disruption to make real progress. We know we can't go back to what it was before. We must be committed to build back better to shape a future that perhaps up to now we only dreamed we could create."
-Ned Helms, EH Board, Vice Chair
Innovations for the Long Haul  
In the words of our community partners  

Strategies forged in the fire of a crisis can often be molded into new approaches and innovations. Read below to learn how our community partners are creating new approaches to connect with the communities and populations they serve.

Connecting Older Adults Through Technology
" It was clear to us early on that we needed to stay connected with our Aging Resource Center patrons and offer support to the community of older adults at large. We quickly launched a robust program of virtual classes and, to date, participation has far exceeded our expectations. Not only have we been able to convert much of our "regular programming" to this unique virtual format, we have enjoyed the opportunity to pilot new classes, such as a series focused on different forms of technology. This virtual endeavor has clearly demonstrated the strong technological interest and capacity of older adults."  
-Ellen Flaherty, Director
Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging
  Public Health Collaborating for Equitable Response to COVID-19
"The New Hampshire Public Health Association feels privileged to have been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services to co-convene the COVID-19 Equity Task Force. Not surprisingly, the pandemic has only served to exacerbate the social and health issues faced by marginalized communities. I am humbled by the dedication of the more than fifty task force members who attend our meetings every Friday morning to seek policy and advocacy solutions to issues such as homelessness, food insecurity, the digital divide and education, mental health and substance abuse and ways in which the pandemic has affected older adults, immigrants, justice involved populations and individuals with disabilities. This work will inform NHPHA's advocacy agenda going forward as we strive to improve health equity, achieve social justice and address racism."

-Joan Ascheim, Executive Director,
New Hampshire Public Health Association

Nimble Support to Providers Through Project ECHO 
"The Citizens Health Initiative is responding to the needs of  providers and community partners as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been working with practices remotely to help them rapidly provide telehealth services and expertise in the focal areas of long-term care and aging, health analytics and informatics, public health and health promotion, health law and policy. Our team created a special session on "Telehealth for Special Populations during COVID and Beyond" in record time, and nearly 100 people participated. This is part of Project ECHO, which stands for Enhanced Community Health Outcomes. It's perfect for times like this as it's designed to work even in places with limited internet bandwidth. It's interactive and adaptable, which helps our community providers share their knowledge and skills. We are so proud of our team at the Institute for Health Policy and Practice and the UNH Project ECHO Hub. Everyone is working remotely with all of the challenges that brings and still creating great content and maintaining strong connections with our community partners."

-Jeanne Ryer, Director
NH Citizens Health Initiative
Use of Telehealth Connects Families to Services During Pandemic; Could Become Long-Term Practice
"The ability to pivot and utilize telehealth has been absolutely vital to home visiting programs in New Hampshire. These programs, often coordinated through family resource centers, are enabled by telehealth to safely continue connecting and supporting new moms and dads with consistent services despite the impacts of COVID-19.  During a public health crisis, the ability to reach families is even more vital. New Futures continues to advocate to ensure that access to telehealth remains an option for our state's crucial home visiting services."

-Rebecca Woitkowski, Kids Count Policy Coordinator   
New Futures 
Technology Enables Wider Access to Family Peer Support and Education
"Like many organizations, NAMI New Hampshire basically transitioned on a dime to working remotely. The abrupt shift to all-virtual support was challenging for our staff, volunteers, and the families with whom we work.  I wouldn't say that our work didn't skip a beat, but I will say that our folks certainly did not. Indeed, we found that families with children were able to more readily access family peer support and education; our presentations had significantly increased attendance; we had octogenarian support group participants who were amazed by the wonders of meeting via Zoom; and we had individuals who previously were not able to access programs and now were able to do so only because they were offered virtually.  Despite the fact that this has been, and continues to be, a challenging time for us all, our work continues and our folks hold onto hope for themselves and for each other."

-Susan Stearns, Deputy Director, NAMI NH    

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