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North Country Health Consortium

News & Events

NCHC's North Country Continuum of Care resource guide released!
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Follow the link to access NCHC's Continuum of Care resource guide of Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Recovery resources in the North Country. 

                         

                      

Haverhill Coalition Promotes Efforts to Reduce Underage Drinking and Substance Misuse
Thursday, October 5, 2017

Dedicated to reducing the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol in the Woodsville/Haverhill area communities, this fall, the Haverhill Area Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition (HASMPC) is rallying behind efforts to reduce underage drinking, including, the “Buyers Beware” sticker shock campaign, “Banner Swap” project, and calling attention to NH state laws.

On Saturday September 30th, student volunteers from Woodsville High School worked with HASMPC to affix “Buyers Beware” stickers to alcohol packaging sold at area businesses as part of the local campaign. The main purpose of the “Buyers Beware” project is to raise awareness about the consequences associated with supplying alcohol to minors, including paying a fine of up to $2000 and/or serving up to a year in jail. This sticker shock campaign will be an ongoing effort, with “Buyer Beware” tags getting periodically replaced as alcohol inventory is sold.

When it comes to reducing underage drinking, HASMPC recognizes the importance of “all hands on deck,” and advises the community to know and understand New Hampshire’s Party Host Liability Law. Many people are unaware that if they host a party or social gathering at their home, they are legally responsible for the safety of their guests. If minors are present drinking alcohol or using drugs, the party “host” may be charged with a misdemeanor, fined up to $2,000 and/or spend a year in jail. Party guests under the age of 21 with an alcoholic drink stand to lose their license, vehicle, and college scholarship. Community members whose properties may be the site of underage drinking or drug parties are advised to: take action to prevent the party; try to stop the party if it has already started; and tell local law enforcement officials as soon as possible.

Everyone in the community has a role to play to prevent underage drinking. Later this month, members of HASMPC will be approaching local businesses that display banners advertising alcohol to request that they swap the advertisements for ad-neutral banners supplied by the coalition. HASMPC thanks local business owners who are already involved with the “Buyer Beware” initiative and urge them to participate in the upcoming “Banner Swap” effort. Families are reminded to familiarize themselves with New Hampshire’s Party Host Liability Law and to help keep youth safe by avoiding the provision of alcohol and substances to minors.

These projects are funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention through a Drug-Free Communities Support Program Grant to the North Country Health Consortium.

The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about NCHC and the North Country Regional Prevention Network, visit: www.nchcnh.org or call (603)259-3700. Find the Haverhill Area Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition (HASMPC) on Facebook to stay up to date on Coalition activities: https://www.facebook.com/hasmpc/

Prescription Drug Awareness Project Underway with Mariah Coulstring Facilitating as new DFC Coordinator
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Autumn leaves strewn about the streets are a familiar sight this time of year all around the North Country. But this fall, Woodsville and Haverhill area residents may also start noticing something else popping up around town: prescription drug bottles.

That’s because the Prescription Drug Awareness Project is underway. Mariah Coulstring, newly appointed Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Coordinator, is facilitating the campaign with the Haverhill Area Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition (HASMPC).

“This initiative is designed to act as a public service announcement about the increasing epidemic of prescription drug misuse,” said Coulstring. “It provides a visual demonstration of how accessible prescription drugs are to local youth, while educating the community on the hazards and safety precautions, like how to appropriately get rid of prescription drugs so that youth will not have the ability to misuse these substances.”

Throughout the fall, prescription drug bottles will be placed in local businesses and other public spaces throughout the Woodsville and Haverhill area. The bottles will contain information inside, including: the severity of prescription drug misuse in the area, instructions for the proper disposal of unneeded or unused prescription drugs at the local police department, and risks that come with prescription drug misuse. The intent of the campaign and army of pill bottles, explained Coulstring, is to “gain as much attention as possible to the issue of prescription drug misuse, and to interact with as many people in the community as possible.”

As a born-and-raised Bath resident, Coulstring said of her new DFC Coordinator appointment, “I am eager to give back to my own community and take great pride in being able to do my part.”

This project is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention through a Drug-Free Communities Support Program Grant to the North Country Health Consortium.

The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about NCHC and the North Country Regional Prevention Network, visit: www.nchcnh.org or call (603)259-3700. Find the Haverhill Area Substance Misuse Prevention Coalition on Facebook to stay up to date on coalition efforts: https://www.facebook.com/hasmpc/

Kristy Letendre joins NCHC as Continuum of Care Facilitator for North Country Public Health Network
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is pleased to introduce Kristy Letendre as Continuum of Care Facilitator of the North Country Public Health Network headed by NCHC.

“I am so thrilled to have Kristy join our team,” said Nancy Frank, Chief Executive Officer of NCHC,” especially at such a critical juncture with the epidemic of substance misuse, locally as well as nationally, and the need to address gaps and barriers to services, and issues around capacity in our region.”

Letendre joins NCHC as a seasoned Substance Use Disorder professional, with a 14-year career at Tri-County Community Action Program (TCCAP). Since starting at TCCAP in 2004, Letendre worked in the Division of Alcohol & Drug Services, becoming the Division’s Director in 2014. As the Director of the Division of Alcohol & Drug Services until 2016, Letendre headed high and low residential programs, and the Outpatient department for the Friendship House in Bethlehem, including its satellite locations throughout the North Country. From 2016 to 2017 at TCCAP, Letendre was the Director of Clinical Services, maintaining senior leadership of Alcohol and Other Drugs programs, before assuming the Continuum of Care (CoC) role at the North Country Health Consortium.  

As the CoC Facilitator, Letendre is tasked with bridging the vital components of care and services for Substance Use Disorders (SUD) with Regional Public Health Network (RPHN) partners throughout Coӧs and northern Grafton Counties. In the CoC role, and with her vast field experience, Letendre is primed to facilitate opportunities for collaboration amongst regional SUD experts and service providers across the continuum, including: health promotion, prevention, early identification and intervention, treatment, and recovery supports.

“Kristy’s talents will undoubtedly complement the mission of NCHC,” said Frank, “and the work we do to further integration of primary health care and behavioral health in order to enhance the current SUD infrastructure supporting our communities.”

The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about NCHC and the North Country’s Continuum of Care Development plan, visit: www.NCHCNH.org or contact Kristy Letendre at: kletendre@NCHCNH.org and (603) 259-3700 x258.

NCHC and Partners Wrap up 8th Annual STEM-Health Careers Summer Camp
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

On July 24 – 28th, North Country middle schoolers enjoyed an action-packed week, exploring a variety of health and medical professions at the STEM-Health Careers Summer Camp in Littleton.

 “It was very exciting and relieving when we got v-fib and a stable heart beat,” replied one camper describing her experience training with a simulator when surveyed on her favorite thing about camp. “Working together was fun and we were a good team.”

 For the 8th consecutive summer, the Northern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center, a program of the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC), partnered with Hugh J. Gallen Career and Technical Center in Littleton to offer the camp. During the week, middle school students from the North Country take part in a fun, local hands-on opportunity to experience a vast array of health careers. Long-time hosts of the STEM Camp program, White Mountains Community College in Berlin will resume a Berlin-based camp in summer 2018. This year, the Littleton camp at Hugh J. Gallen welcomed 16 students, including several returning campers.

 Campers used the state-of-the-art medical training facility at the Hugh J. Gallen Center, including “SimMan”— a life-like simulator that talks back and tasks students with controlling how it reacts, while another group administered CPR and other life-saving measures. Other activities of the Littleton camp included: intubating simulation models, ranging from infant to adult-sized; inserting IVs into a training arm; frog dissection for learning the anatomy; midwifery and childbirth demonstration; creating clay replicas of the human anatomy; oral health training activities with the Molar Express; triaging during simulated mass casualty situations; and blood typing. Graciously welcoming campers for the last five summers, staff at Littleton Regional Healthcare (LRH) wrapped up the camp week, giving the group of young medical career prospects a full tour of LRH’s facilities.

NCHC would like to thank all supporters, presenters, and contributors of the STEM-Health Careers Summer Camp program. Without the collaboration of North Country healthcare organizations, this opportunity and rich experience for students to explore the health field would not be possible. NCHC would again like to thank Natanya Champney of “As it Was Midwifery” and Littleton Regional Healthcare for their generosity.  

The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human service providers serving northern New Hampshire. To learn more about STEM-Health Careers Summer Camp, visit www.nchcnh.org or call Diana Gibbs, NCHC Program Manager, at (603) 259-3700 ext. 222.

North Country Health Consortium Receives Grant to Boost Health Care Delivery System
Monday, July 31, 2017

The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is pleased to announce it has received a Rural Health Network Development (RHND) grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Rural Health Policy totaling $900,000 to support expansion of existing programming to strengthen the health care delivery system in Northern New Hampshire.

 The three-year RHND grant will support the development of the Ways2Wellness CONNECT program, emphasizing the integration of Community Health Workers (CHWs) with care coordination teams in the area. Further, NCHC will hire and train CHWs to partner with area health care teams to assist older adult patients in accessing care and services in the community.

 “The North Country has a proportionately larger aging population than the rest of the state and country as well as higher rates of chronic conditions—  such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,” said Nancy Frank, Chief Executive Officer at NCHC.” Although relatively new to the state, CHWs have been an indispensable part of health care teams throughout the country for decades, and will allow NCHC to address factors that affect health, disease progression, and care, including isolation, access to transportation, and healthy food.”

 The Ways2Wellness CONNECT model was designed to keep patients with chronic diseases from “falling through the cracks,” with CHWs functioning as both care coordinators and health educators to bridge connections between providers, patients, family members, communities, and resources. In conjunction with the Ways2Wellness CONNECT program, health professions students completing rural community rotations through NCHC’s Live, Learn, Play in Northern NH program will participate in care coordination activities with CHWs.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to grow the CHW workforce in the region,” said Frank, “and we continue to share their value with providers and community residents to sustainably integrate CHWs into the greater infrastructure.”

 The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about NCHC and Community Health Workers, visit: www.nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700.

Free Recovery Coach Academy Training Open for Registration
Friday, July 7, 2017

The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is pleased to announce registration for Recovery Coach Academy training is open. This free training will provide participants with skills to guide, mentor, and support anyone who would like to begin or sustain long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol or other drugs. Recovery coaches are individuals who help people navigate non-clinical aspects of recovery and who may or may not be in long-term recovery themselves.

“We are working to build a network of recovery coaches in the North Country in order to broaden the current infrastructure to support a person—members of our communities— to achieve and sustain long term recovery,” says Amy Jeroy, Director of Public Health and the Northern NH Unit Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) at the North Country Health Consortium. “The plan is for the new group of recovery coaches to work with the Hope for NH Berlin Recovery Community Center and the North Country Serenity Center in Littleton, with possible expansion to other North Country facilities.”

The 5-day intensive recovery coach training course will begin in August and meet on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. on the following dates: August 5, 12, 19, 26, and September 9th at the North Haverhill United Methodist Church (UMC). Participants are capped at 15 and must commit to attending all 5 dates to complete the training. Course instructors are from Hope for NH Recovery and are trained recovery coaches credentialed by the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR).

Scholarships for participants and course materials are made possible thanks to grant funding from the National Association of County and Health Officials (NACCHO). The upcoming summer course is the last of a series of trainings available with support from NACCHO. Space is generously provided by Pastor Clint Brake and the North Haverhill UMC. For more information about the recovery coach training, contact Amy Jeroy at ajeroy@nchcnh.org, or call (603) 259-3700 x228. To register for the upcoming summer 2017 Recovery Coach Academy training, go to: http://bit.ly/RecoveryCoach or call Karen at 603-259-3700 ext. 244.

Home of the Northern NH Unit Medical Reserve Corps, the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton. NCHC collaborates with health and human services providers to improve the health status of northern New Hampshire. To learn more about NCHC, visit: www.nchcnh.org or call (603)259-3700.

Free Community Presentation including Naloxone Administration Training
Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Come to a community event on Thursday, July 27th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. This free event will include training of participants in the administration of the opioid overdose-reversal drug, Naloxone, and an opportunity for the group to engage in a question and answer session with a panel of field experts: NH Licensed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Errol Rescue Training Officer, Jim MacDonald; and from the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC), Continuum of Care Facilitator, Kristy Letendre, and Public Health Coordinator, Elaine Belanger.

All are welcome and qualified attendees will receive a free Naloxone kit—also called ‘Narcan’— with the completion of training. The training presentation will cover signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, the importance of calling 9-1-1 and rescue breathing, and step-by-step instructions on how to administer naloxone.

This event is organized by Coӧs County ServiceLink, a Tri-county Community Action Program (TCCAP), presented by NCHC, and hosted by Brookside Park Apartments. Join us on July 27th from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the conference room of the Brookside Park Apartments located at 155 Maynesboro Street in Berlin. RSVP is appreciated but not required.

North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers in northern New Hampshire. To RSVP or for more information about scheduling Naloxone administration training for your group or at your next event, contact: ebelanger@nchcnh.org or (603) 259-370, x229. To learn more about NCHC, visit: www.nchcnh.org.

Middle School Students: Register Now for Littleton STEM-Health Careers Summer Camp!
Thursday, June 8, 2017

ATTENTION Parents! Are you the parent of a middle school student? Are you looking for a different kind of summer camp this year? The North Country Health Consortium and the Hugh J. Gallen Career and Technical Center are pleased to invite middle school students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with a Health Careers twist (STEM-Health Careers Summer Camp)! The Littleton STEM-Health Careers Summer Camp is open to students who have completed 7th or 8th grade. Space is limited so early registration is essential.

This week-long STEM-Health Career Camp will be held each day from 9am-3pm at the Hugh J. Gallen Career and Technical Center in Littleton the week of July 24-28. Attendees of the STEM-Health Careers Summer Camp will be given hands-on career exploration opportunities, including the use of state-of-the-art dental and medical simulators, various workshops and presentations with health professionals, and a comprehensive hospital tour experience.

The focus of the STEM-Health Career Summer Camp initiative is to provide students with a low-cost, local opportunity to explore a vast array of health careers. Participating in this hands-on, interactive camp is a fun experience that will allow students to explore different health professions with the hope that they may further pursue a career in the field. Developing interest at the middle school level allows students to gain a broad understanding of the potential opportunities that exist in the field.

The Northern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center (NNH AHEC), a program of the North Country Health Consortium and the Hugh J. Gallen Career & Technical Center sponsor the STEM-Health Camp. To obtain a registration application for the Littleton camp, please log onto bit.ly/2017HealthCareerCamp or call Diana Gibbs, NCHC Program Manager, at (603) 259-3700 ext. 222. To watch YouTube videos of past summer camps, please visit: www.youtube.com/NNHAHEC

NCHC 'Live Heart Smart' Event a Success, Promotes Heart-healthy Living in North Country
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On June 1st, the North Country Health Improvement Working Group, an initiative of the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC), hosted an educational half-day event devoted to heart health at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield. Entitled “Live Heart Smart,” the event gathered community members from around the North Country and surrounding regions to raise awareness around heart disease and stroke, with a focus on highlighting local resources and personal wellness practices to promote heart healthy living.

“It was encouraging to see the variety of attendees that turned out for this event,” said Nancy Frank, Executive Director of the North Country Health Consortium, “from seniors to nurses and other professionals, all actively engaged in their personal health and that of their loved ones and patients. With risk factors for heart disease and stroke being largely modifiable by lifestyle, we hoped to expand people’s ‘toolbox’ of resources for everyday self-care.”

The “Live Heart smart” agenda boasted relevant topics presented by experts local to the North Country and beyond, including the keynote address, “the Heart is the Seat of the Body.” An open heart surgery survivor, Kathleen Kelley, who is an independent consultant to non-profit organizations as well as a Randolph resident, kicked off the keynote by telling her personal story to regaining health and encouraging the audience to be a “heart hero” to themselves and their loved ones. Sharing the stage with Kelley, Professor of Health and Human Performance, and Director of the Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities at Plymouth State University, Dr. Barbara McCahan, provided heart research along with tips to reframe and reduce stress.

Breakout session topics that followed covered: practical fitness tips for heart health, “Living an Anti-inflammatory Life,” mindfulness meditation, and overcoming ambivalence to health behavior change. Attendees left “Live Heart Smart” armed with resources, including the cookbook “Good and Cheap: Eating Well on $4/Day” by best-selling author, Leanne Brown, and a fold-out guide produced by NCHC that highlights heart-friendly offerings and events around the North Country, including farmers’ markets, cooking demos, support groups, and physical activity options.

The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about NCHC, visit: www.nchcnh.org or call (603)259-3700.

Live Heart Smart! Check out heart healthy resources from around the North Country!
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Photo live heart smart

NCHC Live Heart Smart

NCHC Health Improvement Group invites you to Live Heart Smart, a community event on June 1
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

On Thursday, June 1st, the Health Improvement Working Group of the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) invites the community and health professionals to Live Heart Smart, a half-day event dedicated to heart health. Held from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield, this educational event will leave attendees with plenty of practical knowledge and strategies to begin or recharge a Heart Smart way of life.

Fun interactive breakout sessions will answer the What? Why? and How? behind simple and accessible tools and resources. Join us for: mindfulness meditation, practical “do anywhere” strength and cardio fitness methods, community health workers as patient advocates, Living an “anti-inflammatory” life, and overcoming ambivalence to adopt healthy habits. Continuing nursing education credits are available.

Doors will open at 9:30 AM for registration with the event kicking off at 10:00 AM. Registration for Live Heart Smart is $25 and will include lunch and cookbook, “Good and Cheap: Eat well on $4/Day” to take home. To register for this event, go to: http://bit.ly/LiveHeartSmart.

The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about NCHC visit: www.nchcnh.org . For questions about Live Heart Smart, contact Anna: ashum@nchcnh.org or (603)259-3700 x257.

 

3rd Community Health Worker Summit a success, explores the role of CHWs in NH
Monday, April 24, 2017

PLYMOUTH – On Wednesday, April 19th, the 3rd Community Health Worker (CHW) Summit in New Hampshire convened at the Common Man in Plymouth. Hosted by the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) in partnership with the Southern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center (SNAHEC), the full-day event gathered CHWs across the state together with other advocates  representing healthcare and health and human services organizations.

 “Many factors determine the health of an individual,” said Nancy Frank, Chief Executive Officer of NCHC, “we are working to problem solve barriers one might face to make an appointment and arrive at the provider’s office, for instance. CHWs have shown to improve health outcomes within the communities that they serve,” said Frank, “so we continue to work towards building the workforce and sharing the value of CHWs in the North Country.”

The day’s agenda was filled with a variety of field experts who delivered presentations and interactive breakout sessions centered on: understanding the current landscape for CHWs, fostering CHW leadership and collaboration, and looking at the road ahead to advance the CHW movement in New Hampshire. An informative panel session provided a platform for NH-based CHW’s— hailing from Indian Stream Health Center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the Nashua Health Department, and Manchester Community Health Center— to share successes, challenges, and insight gained in their roles on the job.  

The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about NCHC and community health workers, visit: www.nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700.

NCHC to Host Legislative Breakfast to Discuss Student Assistance Programs in the North Country
Thursday, April 13, 2017

On Monday, April 17, the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) invites all legislators of Coos and Northern Grafton Counties to a breakfast discussion on the Student Assistance Program (SAP) in the North Country. SAP Counselors will be in attendance to share successes and challenges working the front lines to implement school-based substance misuse prevention curriculum in North Country schools, coordinating a full range of substance abuse prevention and early intervention services in their given schools and school districts.

"One of the most important aspects of the SAP Counselor's role is relationship building with students and faculty," said Nancy Frank, Chief Executive Officer at the North Country Health Consortium. "To really integrate into their school as a trusted resource and someone students can talk to," said Frank, "SAP Counselors have to be there over time to ensure that relationships and programs are allowed to mature and programming is executed with full fidelity. This requires consistency in funding. I look forward to hearing from our SAP counselors and hosting this conversation with our local legislators."

As the hub of the North Country Regional Public Health Network and Regional Substance Misuse Prevention Network, NCHC understands that Student Assistance Programs in middle and high schools are one of the most comprehensive, evidence-based school approaches to preventing and reducing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. NCHC works with schools to initiate grant funding and contracts with the state in order to place highly trained SAP Counselors in middle and high schools. Through state funding opportunities, NCHC provides individual and peer supervision for all SAP counselors throughout the North Country.

The breakfast on Monday, April 17 will be held from 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM at the North Country Health Consortium located at 262 Cottage St. in Littleton. North Country legislators have been invited to join the discussion and listen to SAP Counselors talk about their experiences, successes and challenges, in the trenches of substance misuse prevention.

The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health organization based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about NCHC and the North Country Regional Public Health Network, visit: www.nchcnh.org or call (603)259-3700.

Hope for NH Recovery, Berlin Recovery Community Center to host community event, including Naloxone training by NCHC
Friday, March 17, 2017

The Hope for NH Berlin Recovery Community Center invites the public for an evening of education and awareness about substance use disorders and the disease of addiction.  Too many people and their families— in our communities and nationwide— are affected. This event will be an opportunity for the community to see what resources the Center offers, while learning about the importance of the full continuum of care including, prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery

The March 29th event will be held from 4:30 PM to 9:00 PM, and include: a pot luck supper; training for Naloxone administration by the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC); and screening of The Anonymous People, a documentary featuring stories from people amongst the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

“Our communities are hurting from the opioid epidemic,” says Doris Enman, Center Manager for Hope for New Hampshire in Berlin, “there is sadness and fear, with many suffering in silence. We want to reach out to individuals struggling with addiction, and to their families and friends, so we can support one another in a nonjudgmental way and offer our resources. With the increasing rise in narcotic misuse and overdoses, it is very important for our communities to be educated and trained to administer Naloxone, especially if someone you love has a substance use disorder.”

The event will open with a pot luck supper at 4:30 PM. Light refreshments will be provided, though attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share. Training for Naloxone administration will run from 6:00 to 7:00 PM with Elaine Belanger, Public Health Coordinator at NCHC. All training participants will receive a free Naloxone kit - also known as Narcan – upon completion. Screening of The Anonymous People will start at 7:15 PM, followed by an open audience-driven discussion.

“The Berlin Recovery Community Center members want to extend an open invitation to the community,” says Enman. “Whether or not you have a substance use disorder, and regardless of if you’re in recovery or not, anyone can get involved and you are always welcome here, no appointments needed.”

The Hope for NH Recovery Community Center is located at 823 Main Street in Berlin. Open Monday – Friday 9 AM – 5 PM, with additional hours for mutual aid and other support groups. For more information, or if you plan to attend the event, please call Doris Enman at (603)752-9900 to reserve your Narcan kit for the training.

The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is a non-profit public health organization that serves the North Country of NH.  If you are unable to attend, but would like to learn more about scheduling a Naloxone training for yourself or your group, contact Elaine Belanger at the North Country Health Consortium: ebelanger@nchcnh.org or (603)259-3700 x229.

NCHC and Partners to Host HPV and Related Cancers Event, including Film Screening and Panel
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On Tuesday, May 2nd at the Rialto Theater in Lancaster, NH, the North Country Health Consortium, in partnership with Norris Cotton Cancer Center, American Cancer Society, Southern NH Area Health Education Center, and the New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration, invites parents, community members, and local healthcare providers to attend a free educational event, including a film screening of Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic. This documentary looks at the lives of five women affected by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the widely misunderstood virus that causes several types of cancer, including cervical cancer. Community members will learn about how they can protect themselves, their families, and their children- both sons and daughters. Providers are encouraged to attend to be part of the discussion to understand how they can help protect patients from future cancers. Continuing education will be available for nurses and providers.

 The HPV event on May 2nd will begin with doors opening to the public at 5:30 PM and the film beginning at 6:00 PM. A panel discussion with local experts— featuring a pediatrician, OB/GYN, and a representative from the NH immunization program—will begin at 7:30 PM, and include an opportunity for audience members to engage in Q&A with the panelists. Light refreshments will be provided for this event.

 There is no cost to attend, but your registration is appreciated. To register for the event, go to: http://bit.ly/NorthCountryHPVEvent. Contact Diana Gibbs for more information and questions: dgibbs@nchcnh.org or (603)259-3700 x222.

 The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit rural health agency based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. To learn more about NCHC, visit: www.nchcnh.org

Recovery Coach Academy Training begins March 25th - Sign up today!
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

With generous grant funding from National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO), the North Country Health Consortium and Northern NH Unit Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), partnered with Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, will be providing recovery coach training to increase addiction support services in the North Country.

Open to all local members of the MRC and greater community, this 5-day intensive Recovery Coach Academy training utilizes the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) curriculum and will focus on providing students with the skills to guide, mentor and support anyone who would like to enter into or sustain long-term recovery from an addiction to alcohol or other drugs.

Class dates: March 25, April 1, 8, 29 (Saturdays), and April 30 (Sunday)

Meeting times: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Instructors: Bernadette Gleeson, Director of Recovery Support Services, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery; Doris Enman, Center Manager, Hope for New Hampshire Recovery Berlin Community Center

To register --> http://bit.ly/RecoveryCoachAcad

For more information about the program and training, contact Amy Jeroy: ajeroy@nchcnh.org or (603)259-3700 x228

For questions or help with registration, contact Karen Hoyt: khoyt@nchcnh.org or (603)259-3700 x244

North Country "Speaks Up" against Stigma of Addiction with Panel Event
Monday, February 27, 2017

LITTLETON— Last month on Wednesday, February 21st, the Health Improvement Working Group of the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) convened Speak Up NH: Changing the way we talk about addiction in the North Country. This panel event gathered North Country community members— ranging from addiction and health and human services workers, high school students, and individuals in long-term recovery— in the Tower Room of the Littleton Opera House to address the issue of social stigmas faced by individuals with an addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

The two-hour event featured a lineup of local experts, including: Ammonoosuc Community Health Services’ Director of Integrated Behavioral Health, Stephen Noyes, LICSW; Hope for New Hampshire Recovery’s Director of Recovery Development, Bernadette Gleeson, along with Center Manager of Hope’s Berlin location, Doris Enman, M.Ed.; and Black Crow Project Co-founder and Groveton Student Assistant Counselor, Erik Becker. Through the course of the evening’s presentations and concluding questions and answers section, each speaker shed light on relevant topics spanning: what makes addiction a disease; the concept of raising the “recovery capital” of addicted individuals; the weight of our words and of our reactions to people when it comes to perpetuating stigma; and what it means to recover as a community.

The Changing the way we talk about addiction in the North Country panel event piggybacks on the statewide campaign, Speak Up NH, an initiative of Partners for a Drug-free New Hampshire. The Speak Up NH campaign, which launched on February 8th at the Executive Council Chambers in Concord with the support of Governor Sununu, is a rallying cry to the people of NH to change the conversation around addiction in order to create a more supportive and inclusive environment that presents individuals with fewer roadblocks to recovery.

Host of the Health Improvement Working Group, the North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health agency based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers in northern New Hampshire. To learn more about NCHC, go to www.nchcnh.org

CANCELLED: 2/16/17 IDN Meeting
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Region 7 IDN Meeting scheduled for Feb. 16, 2017 has been cancelled due to weather. For more information, please contact April Allin, IDN Program Manager, at aallin@nchcnh.org.

MRC Grant to Increase Addiction Support Services in North Country with Recovery Coach Training
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The North Country Health Consortium is pleased to announce it has received a $13,000 grant on behalf of the Northern NH unit Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) from the National Association of County and Health Officials (NACCHO). These funds will support the training of 30 local volunteers—including current members of the MRC and community at large— to become certified Recovery Coaches, who will join the ranks of support service providers in the North Country to engage individuals struggling with addiction or who are in long term recovery for a substance misuse disorder.

“As the North Country contends with a crisis of substance misuse and addiction alongside the rest of the nation, it has become increasingly clear that the toll on the health and lives of our families, neighbors, and communities must be addressed with a unified front, including community-based partnerships and coordination between social services and health care,” says Amy Jeroy, Director of Public Health and the Northern NH unit MRC at the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC). “Offering these trainings to the community and integrating recovery coaches into the folds of our local MRC unit and healthcare system will take the North Country a leap in that direction.”

The North Country Health Consortium will partner with Hope for NH Recovery to provide two Recovery Coach Academy trainings to be scheduled for the spring and summer of 2017 in Littleton and Berlin. Recovery coaches are individuals who help people navigate non-clinical aspects of recovery and who may or may not be in long-term recovery themselves. Fifteen students will be enrolled to each 5-day intensive training lead by local Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) trained coaches. Recovery Coach Academy trainers will be Holly Cekala, the Director of Recovery Support Services for Hope for New Hampshire Recovery, an affiliate of the Face it Together state organization, and Doris Enman, Manager of Hope for New Hampshire Recovery Berlin Community Center. Graduates of the recovery coach program will be distributed throughout the North Country and support each of the following hospital service areas: Weeks Medical Center, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, Littleton Regional Healthcare, Cottage Hospital, and Androscoggin Valley Hospital.

Grant funds will cover the cost of the two trainings and materials for 30 students. The CCAR Recovery Coach Academy training will provide students with the skills to guide, mentor, and support anyone who would like to begin or sustain long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol or other drugs. For more information about the Recovery Coach Academy trainings and the opportunity to enroll, contact Amy Jeroy at ajeroy@nchcnh.org, or call (603) 259-3700 x228.

Home of the Northern NH unit Medical Reserve Corp, the North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit public health agency based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers in northern New Hampshire. To learn more about NCHC, go to www.nchcnh.org

North Country takes part in "Speak Up NH" Anti-Stigma Campaign with Upcoming Event
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

On Wednesday, February 15, the North Country Health Improvement Working Group of the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) invites you to Speak Up NH: Changing the way we talk about addiction in the North Country. This panel session is part of Partnership for a Drug-free NH’s statewide campaign, Speak Up NH, an initiative aimed at creating a more supportive and inclusive environment that presents individuals with fewer roadblocks to recovery. Arriving at the heels of the official campaign launch at the Executive Council Chambers in Concord on February 8th, the Speak Up NH panel event will follow suit to address the issue of stigma and initiate the conversation shift around addiction and substance misuse in the North Country.

The Speak Up NH event will be joined by a panel of local experts to engage the audience with presentations on: the medical basis for understanding addiction, personal stories of hope and recovery, as well as insight and resources for the community to break the stigma and get involved with local efforts to help the North Country amidst the national crisis of substance misuse and addiction.

Located at the Littleton Opera House on 2 Union St., the Speak Up NH: Changing the way we talk about addiction in the North Country panel event will run from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. This free event is open to all, including community members and leaders interested to be a part of the rallying cry to change the way we think and talk about addiction as a community.

For more information or to register to attend the Speak Up NH panel session in Littleton, go to: http://www.nchcnh.org/health_wellness.php or contact Anna at North Country Health Consortium: ashum@nchcnh.org or (603) 259-3700 x257.

Host of the North Country Health Improvement Working Group, the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is a non-profit public health agency based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers in northern New Hampshire. To learn more about NCHC, go to www.nchcnh.org

Northern NH takes on Statewide Effort to Transform Behavioral Health System in Region
Monday, December 5, 2016

The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is playing a key role in leading Northern NH to transform its behavioral health system in a 5-year $150 million statewide initiative. As the Administrative Lead representing Coos, northern Grafton, and Carroll Counties in the program, NCHC together with a network of local partners will work to change the way physical and behavioral health care are delivered to Medicaid beneficiaries with behavioral health conditions, including substance misuse disorders, and other co-occurring chronic health issues.

On January 5th this year, the state of New Hampshire received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to access new federal funding under a Section 1115(a) Waiver, known as “Building Capacity for Transformation.” Also referred to as a Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP), this initiative paved the way for 7 state-proposed Integrated Delivery Networks (IDN) to form and cover the state. Each regionally-based IDN is made up of a broad range of physical and behavioral health providers, and community-based organizations that have agreed to work in collaboration and integrate services with sights on improving access to behavioral care and reducing avoidable hospital use, while lowering health care costs. Partners working together in Coos, northern Grafton, and Carroll Counties, including Administrative Lead, NCHC, make up the Region 7 IDN.

“Building Capacity for Transformation and the concept behind Integrated Delivery Networks ring true to the causes and very mission of the North Country Health Consortium,” said Nancy Frank, Executive Director of NCHC. “Leading innovation through collaboration is our work,” said Frank, “and it is work that is vitally important to the Northern New Hampshire, where challenges to health care faced by the most vulnerable populations across the state are often compounded by the rural geography in the region. I am honored to unfold this groundbreaking work with Region 7 IDN partners.”

The goal of the statewide incentive program is to better support Medicaid recipients by tasking IDNs with multiple aims: integrating physical and behavioral health care, expanding capacity of the behavioral health workforce, and reducing gaps in care through coordination across providers and linking Medicaid beneficiaries with community supports. In order to receive its share of up to $30 million per year over the next 5 years, each IDN must collectively achieve predetermined measures for system transformation, clinical care, and population health during semi-annual reporting cycles. Funding allotted to each of the 7 networks was determined in proportion to Medicaid beneficiaries in the given service area. In the first year of DSRIP, North Country Health Consortium has received an initial $2.4 million on behalf of Region 7 IDN to build capacity for workforce and develop an information technology infrastructure that allows providers across its network to share health records and communicate in real time.

The North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit rural health agency based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. For more information about the Region 7 IDN, contact April Allin, IDN Program Manager at aallin@nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700 x220. To learn more about NCHC, visit: www.nchcnh.org.

NCHC Provides Naloxone Administration Training at Berlin Event, Distributes Kits
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) partnered with Hope for New Hampshire Recovery in Berlin and White Mountains Community College (WMCC) to host an educational community event centered on substance misuse and addiction, including training of the group in the administration of the overdose-reversal drug, Naloxone, and viewing of The Anonymous People, a documentary featuring stories from people amongst the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The November 9th event at WMCC in Berlin brought together a diverse group, including Berlin Hope’s own Recovery Coach Volunteers, staff of Northern Human Services, WMCC students, and members of the greater community.

“The increasing rise in narcotic misuse makes offering these trainings really important,” said Doris Enman, Manager of the Hope for New Hampshire Recovery Center in Berlin. “Addiction does not discriminate, but recovery is a reality,” said Enman. “We require our employees to be trained [in the administration of Naloxone] and most of our dedicated volunteers already are.”

Enman’s wishes to expand training and access to Naloxone echo those recently expressed by Dr. Vivek Murthy in the new Surgeon General’s report on alcohol, drugs, and health, “Facing Addiction in America,” issued last month. Marking the first time in which a Surgeon General defines substance use disorders as a disease, the report calls on the nation to help address the current opioid crisis, including changing our attitudes about addiction and supporting harm reduction strategies like Naloxone to give drug users a chance to get help when they are ready.

Acting in cooperation with the NH Department of Health and Human Services, NCHC provides trainings to organizations and communities for administering Naloxone. Training participants are provided with a free Naloxone kit - also known as Narcan - upon completion. In the past year, NCHC has trained school groups and hospital staff, in addition to broader community members at public events, such as the annual North Country Moose Festival in August 2016. Last spring, NCHC partnered with the Black Crow Project and the Lancaster Rialto Theater to host the public awareness forum, “Heroin in the North Country.” With 145 life-saving kits issued to attendees, this forum was the largest Naloxone distribution event in the state to date.

“Everyone deserves to have access to this life-saving medicine,” said Enman. “There has been an increase in inquiries to have more training… I believe that the community is learning more about the value of having individuals trained.”

North Country Health Consortium is a non-profit rural health agency based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers in northern New Hampshire. For more information about scheduling Naloxone administration training for your group, community, or at your next event, contact Amy Jeroy, NCHC Public Health Director at ajeroy@nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700 x228. To learn more about NCHC, visit: www.nchcnh.org.

Save the Date! North Country Health Consortium's 2016 Annual Meeting: November 14, 2016
Friday, September 23, 2016

Please join us on Monday, November 14, 2016 from 8:30am-1:00pm at the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa in Whitefield, NH!

More information to follow in October 2016

NCHC and Partners Wrap Up 7th Annual STEM-Health Career Summer Camps
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Northern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center, a program of the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC), has closed another successful summer of Middle School STEM-Health Career Summer Camps. The STEM-Health Career Summer Camp is designed to provide students with an interactive, local opportunity to explore a vast array of health careers. Participating in this fun, hands-on experience allows students to experience different health professions, with the hope that they may be further encouraged to pursue a health career.

Each summer, NCHC partners with the Hugh J. Gallen Career and Technical Center in Littleton and the White Mountains Community College in Berlin to offer this experience to middle school-aged students in the North Country. Marking the 7th year for the week-long health career summer camps, 2016's two STEM camps hosted a total of 39 participating youth.

"The STEM-Health Career Summer Camps are a fun way to introduce middle school students to the many career opportunities available in the healthcare field, everything from nursing and dentistry, to veterinary medicine and biotechnology," said Nancy Frank, Executive Director of North Country Health Consortium. "In the past 7 years that we've offered them, the camps have been well received by our campers and the community, so we're looking forward to next summer, and keeping up this initiative."

The Berlin camp was held the week of June 20-24, where 21 students were in attendance. NCHC was pleased to welcome to camp the Weeks Medical Center's Northwoods Center for Continuing Education of Whitefield and RizFit Fitness Coaching of Lancaster, amongst other new and returning camp presenters. Northwoods provided first-aid and CPR education, while RizFit offered a health and wellness segment to students at the Berlin Camp. Other items on the week's agenda included activities around veterinary medicine, rocket building, science with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, oral health with NCHC's Molar Express, and a field trip to the Berlin Fish Hatchery.

The Littleton camp was held the week of July 11-15 at the Hugh J. Gallen Career and Technical Center. During the week, 18 campers utilized the state-of-the-art medical training facility, including "SimMan"- a life-like simulator that tasks students with controlling all of the dummy's vitals and even talking for him, while another group administers CPR and other life-saving measures. Other activities of the Littleton camp included: intubating different SimMan models, ranging from infant- to adult-sized; inserting IVs into a training arm; creating clay replicas of the human anatomy; learning about emergency medical services with CALEX Ambulance Service; using a high-tech dental simulator for oral health training activities with the Molar Express; triaging during simulated mass casualty situations; and blood typing. Graciously welcoming campers for the last four summers, Littleton Regional Healthcare (LRH) wrapped up the camp week giving a full tour of its facility to the group of young medical career prospects.

NCHC would like to thank all supporters, presenters, and contributors of the STEM-Health Career Summer Camps. Without the collaboration of North Country healthcare organizations, this opportunity and rich experience for students to explore the health field would not have been possible. NCHC would again like to thank Weeks Medical Center's Northwoods Center for Continuing Education, RizFit Fitness Coaching, Littleton Regional Healthcare, CALEX Ambulance Service, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

NCHC is a rural health network based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human service providers serving northern New Hampshire. To learn more about the STEM-Health Career Summer Camps, visit nchcnh.org or call Diana Gibbs, NCHC Program Manager, at (603) 259-3700 ext. 222.

Statewide Emergency Preparedness Drill, North Country Public Health Network Partakes
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

HAVERHILL- On August 5-6, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) sponsored a public health emergency exercise that played out a large-scale infectious disease outbreak affecting multiple regions throughout the state. Slated to test each region's plans to deliver medication to the community- and ability to communicate and work in tandem with Federal, State, and local emergency response personnel and systems in the event of an actual emergency- this preparedness drill saw participation from each of New Hampshire's 13 Public Health Networks. Serving all of Northern Grafton and Coos Counties- and hosted by the North Country Health Consortium, based in Littleton- the North Country Public Health Network assumed their emergency response roles and training activities at the Grafton County Complex and the Haverhill Cooperative Middle School, in North Haverhill on the 5th and 6th, respectively.

"I believe that it was important to come together, as a state and a region, to play out the protocols standardized for large-scale public health emergencies," commented, Amy Jeroy, Public Health Coordinator of the North Country Public Health Region, "because we don't want these basic steps to feel novel in the case of an actual event." In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, North Country residents would be notified about a Point of Dispensing (POD) site to which they would report should treatment be required. For this part of the emergency exercise in the North Country, Haverhill Cooperative Middle School housed the simulated POD activities, including staging: a landing zone on campus to receive a Black Hawk helicopter transporting the NH National Guard with the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) supply of medications and vaccinations for distribution; and space to host medical providers, response and administrative staff, security personnel, the media, and crowd of community volunteers standing in as patients being triaged for treatment.

While Saturday's events at the Haverhill Cooperative Middle School were the more visible, Friday's behind-the-scenes activities marked the official start of the drill. That Friday morning, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) transmitted the first alert to all 13 NH Public Health Networks via the Health Alert Network- or HAN- the nationally shared, integrated electronic information and communication system. Receiving the call, Jeroy, assembled the command team at the Grafton County Complex, which served as the stand-in command post. Stationed at the Grafton Complex, collaborating expertise and coordinating response activities, the command team tracked the simulated emergency through HAN as it unfolded throughout the day; and in a series of communications with State and Federal entities, deployed a SNS of emergency medical supplies for next-morning delivery to the Haverhill Cooperative Middle School to be inventoried, administered to patients, and re-inventoried before getting packed and airlifted back to one of the unidentified SNS storage sites scattered throughout the country.

After the large-scale SNS exercise spanning two days and two sites in the North Country, Jeroy reflected on the experience. "I am proud of the North Country for the job we all did in this statewide exercise," she shared, commending her team, including all participating local responders and partners. "Since the drill," Jeroy continued, "the Public Health team has already met to further refine our processes, which would not have been possible without the insight gained from our active participation in the drill. As a region of small communities, the North Country has to resist the notion that large-scale emergencies just don't happen here. No matter how unlikely they are, we must be prepared for incidents, big and small. That example starts with our Public Health system."

Home to the North Country Region Public Health Network, North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is a non-profit rural health agency based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human services providers serving northern New Hampshire. To learn more about the PODs in your region, opportunities to volunteer at upcoming POD emergency preparedness trainings, or other NCHC programs and services, visit www.nchcnh.org, or call Amy Jeroy at (603) 259-3700.

2016 Community Health Needs Survey Underway, Calling All Residents for Input
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

North Country- The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process is underway throughout Coos and Northern Grafton counties. All community members are encouraged to participate in the survey, which is open to residents of the North Country, including Berlin, Colebrook, Lancaster, Littleton, and all surrounding towns. The survey asks people to report their experiences and opinions on different aspects of health and well-being in their community and will take about 10 minutes to complete.

The Community Health Needs Assessment is conducted by the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) in collaboration with the North Country Healthcare system: Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Littleton Regional Healthcare, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, and Weeks Medical Center.

"The Community Health Needs Assessment relies on the voices of the people who live here to understand the circumstances that affect health," says Nancy Frank, NCHC Executive Director. "Because survey results are used to inform and strengthen the programs, services, and care that collectively make North Country communities healthy, it is so important to hear from as many people as possible, so the needs of the whole community are represented."

The purpose of the CHNA is to gather information about the overall status, concerns, unmet needs, and suggestions for improvement in regards to health in the North Country communities. Results from the CHNA survey will help North Country hospitals and health and human services leaders understand and identify the areas of opportunity for their organizations that represent the most pressing health needs of the communities that they serve.

If you live in the North Country, we urge you to participate. The opportunity to complete the Community Health Needs Assessment survey will close at the end of August. You can access the survey online with this link: http://bit.ly/CommunityNeeds2016. Paper versions of the survey will also be available at your local North Country hospital, select locations throughout your community, or by contacting Diana Gibbs at North Country Health Consortium: (603) 259-3700, ext. 222.

NCHC is a rural health network based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human service providers serving northern New Hampshire. To learn more about the Community Health Needs Assessment or NCHC programs and services in your community, visit www.nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700.

5th Annual Health Summit Convenes Around 'Culture of Wellness'
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

WHITEFIELD- The 5th Annual North Country Health Improvement Summit, hosted by the North Country Health Consortium (NCHC), gathered on June 9, 2016 at the Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa in Whitefield. Representing Health professionals, government officials, local business and community members from across the state, summit participants came together around the theme and common vision of "Embracing a Culture of Wellness."

"I think it is important to understand that many critical indicators are used to rank health outcomes and determine that health factors are moving in the right direction," said Nancy Frank, Executive Director of the North Country Health Consortium. Addressing the group during her opening remarks, Frank pointed out the positive strides in Coos County since NCHC's initial Health Improvement Summit in 2011, including: a 5 percent decrease in adult smoking; a nearly 1 percent and 3 percent drop, respectively, of adults who reported poor physical health days and physical inactivity; and a 26 percent rise in adults' reports of access to exercise opportunities.

Delivering the keynote address, Rebecca Busanich, PhD, Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities at Plymouth State University, discussed, "The Weight We All Carry: Resisting Cultural Narratives Around Body Weight to Improve Health and Well-being." Dr. Busanich argued that the current focus on weight, and on health as a collection of numbers, is a narrow lens with which to consider obesity. What's more, the culture's obsession and negative language attached to weight, food, and physical activity hurts the cause. In closing, Busanich asked the audience to challenge the way they think and talk about health- and "run for joy," as she put it- to focus on positive health behaviors.

The presentation lineup continued to paint the big picture of health, including the importance of cultural, social, and environmental influences on individuals and communities, also known as "Social Determinants of Health." Ashley Conley, MS, Epidemiologist for the Nashua Public Health Department, described how conditions in which people grow, live, work, and play affect a population's health. Since individual communities have conditions distinct to their region and people, it is crucial to understand the unique needs of a population when working towards positive changes for health and well-being. Closing sessions wrapping up the Summit offered tips and resources for breaking up desk time with physical activity; asthma management education for health providers; worksite wellness best-practices to improve employee health; and tools to plan and start a personal wellness journey.

"We all have been working hard to improve health outcomes in the region," praised Frank, "but we still have work to do." Collaboration is key to continuing this positive momentum. The North Country Health Consortium extends an invitation to anyone interested to join the North Country Health Improvement Working Group- a collaboration of health professionals, local business and community members, and others dedicated to the health of the North Country.

NCHC is a rural health network based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human service providers serving northern New Hampshire. To join the North Country Health Improvement Working Group and to learn more about NCHC, visit www.nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700.

Emergency Preparedness Kits Assembled for Local Public Health Effort
Friday, June 17, 2016

LITTLETON- The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) assembled emergency preparedness kits to be given to community members for use in case of emergencies or disasters.

As the home of the North Country Public Health Network (NCPHN), which serves Northern Grafton and Coos counties, NCHC collaborates with local health systems to increase health status and ensure the safety of North Country residents. NCHC partners with local communities and residents to: prepare for emergencies, access healthcare, provide healthcare professional and community-based education, as well as oral healthcare services, and prevent and address substance misuse disorders.

"We wanted to tie the public health work that we do every day directly with service to our local communities," says Nancy Frank, Executive Director of NCHC. "Making these kits was an opportunity for us to give back to the community, while connecting our efforts with other local organizations that do great work, like Granite State Independent Living."

North Country Health Consortium received generous donations from Home Depot and Walmart of Littleton, Shaws in Lancaster, and Staples to stock utility buckets with essential items, such as water, first-aid kits, and materials outlining emergency protocols. The emergency preparedness kits will be distributed to area residents through Granite State Independent Living (GSIL).

"Granite State Independent Living provides support to seniors and consumers with disabilities to live their lives as independently as they choose," says Donna Potter, Director of Home Care North at Granite State Independent Living. "The emergency preparedness kits provided by the generosity of North Country Health Consortium will go a long way to assist GSIL consumers, many of whom are unable to leave their homes, in maintaining their independence."

NCHC is a rural health network based in Littleton that collaborates with health and human service providers serving northern New Hampshire. Learn more at www.nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700.

Register NOW for the 5th Annual North Country Health Improvement Summit
Monday, May 16, 2016

Please join us for the 5th Annual North Country Health Improvement Summit for an energizing day filled with opportunities to connect with and learn from others about health in the North Country!

The goal of the Summit is to provide practitioners and leaders updates and resources available that foster health improvement in the North Country. The Summit will provide tools for improving health at the personal, professional, organizational, and policy levels.

Register at: http://bit.ly/5thSummit

Governor Hassan Visits the North Country to Unveil Workforce Development Initiative
Monday, April 4, 2016

White Mountains Community College President Matt Wood welcomed Governor Hassan to the North Country on Friday, March 25. Governor Hassan unveiled the new "Gateway to Work" initiative in partnership with the New Hampshire Community College System that will begin in the summer of 2016. The Gateway to Work initiative will repurpose federal funding to provide supports for individuals to reduce barriers to gainful employment, such as transportation, job skills, etc.

North Country Health Consortium Executive Director, Nancy Frank, succeeded Gov. Hassan to discuss current Northern NH Area Health Education Center (NNH AHEC) workforce development initiatives, including the North Country Health Career Initiative Program. In 2015, the NNH AHEC- a program of the North Country Health Consortium- was fortunate to secure federal funding to provide direct scholarship support to economically or educationally disadvantaged residents to complete allied health training programs through the White Mountains Community College (WMCC). This collaboration with WMCC has created obtainable training opportunities for students to enter Licensed Nursing Assistant, Medication Nursing Assistant, and Health and Wellness Advocate Certificate training programs.

Programs such as Gateway to Work and the North Country Health Career Initiative Program create further supports to ensure that a well-trained workforce exists in Northern NH communities.

To learn more about the Governor's Gateway to Work initiative, visit: http://governor.nh.gov/media/news/2016/pr-2016-03-02-community-colleges.htm

To learn more about the North Country Health Career Initiative Program, contact Diana Gibbs at dgibbs@nchcnh.org or call (603) 259-3700 ext. 222.

NCHC's Quality Improvement Program Recognized at the Federal Level!
Monday, February 29, 2016

North Country Health Consortium's Quality Improvement efforts have been recognized by the Rural Health Information Hub's feature on the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Grants in Motion feature, titled "Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Grant: A Cultural Shift in Quality for Providers". View the feature at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/rural-monitor/quality-improvement-grant/

Are you interested in becoming an Allied Health Professional?
Monday, December 7, 2015

If you would like to become a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA), or move up from a current LNA to a Medication Nursing Assistant (MNA), or become a Health and Wellness Advocate, North Country Health Consortium and White Mountain Community College offer a scholarship program that provides funding to cover 100% of your tuition and training costs! More Info & Schedule [136 KB pdf]

North Country Youth Leadership Through Adventure Annual High School Conference
Thursday, November 12, 2015

North Country Health Consortium is proud to host the annual Youth Leadership Through Adventure high school conference. Involving almost every high school in the North Country and involving upwards of 100 participants, this three day leadearship and skills building experience will ready the Youth Leadership groups to lead change back at their schools.

Location: American Youth Foundation's Merrowvista Camp, Tuftonboro NH

North Country Health Consortium, NH Citizens Health Initiative and New England Regional Partners Receive Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative Award
Thursday, October 1, 2015

Collaborative network will join federal government and other partners in supporting large-scale health care transformation among clinician practices

Littleton, NH - The North Country Health Consortium is a partner in one of the 39 health care collaborative networks selected to participate in the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. The Northern New England Practice Transformation Network is a partnership between the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative at the University of New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy and Practice, Maine Quality Counts, and Vermont Program for Quality in Healthcare, Inc.

In New Hampshire, the Practice Transformation Network will be led through the NH Citizens Health Initiative at the University of New Hampshire's Institute for Health Policy and Practice. "We are very excited to be able to provide NH's medical practices with practical assistance to help them respond to the changing health care payment and practice environment and better serve their patients' needs," said Jeanne Ryer, Director of the NH Citizens Health Initiative.

The Citizens Health Initiative will connect Practice Transformation Network activities to its Accountable Care Project learning network and work with key partner North Country Health Consortium to provide health practices around the state with Practice Transformation Coaches. Coaches will assess individual practice needs and provide technical assistance to enhance patient care, improve care coordination and quality outcomes, and lower costs. "We are thrilled to be a partner in this important initiative and to work with practices throughout the state. We will be working at the community level to ensure patient and clinician needs are being met as we move New Hampshire forward toward better health," said Nancy Frank, Executive Director of the North Country Health Consortium. The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is a rural public health organization whose mission is to improve the health status of North Country residents. NCHC will be working with the statewide Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program to provide a network of Practice Transformation Coaches at the community level.

"Having worked with CHI on both the patient centered medical home and accountable care project efforts in my role as CEO of Ammonoosuc Community Health Services, as well as a Board Director at NCHC on efforts including the North Country Accountable Care Organization, I am pleased to see this investment in CHI and NCHC as it will once again demonstrate how New Hampshire is first in the nation in moving health care reform forward," said Ed Shanshala.

The Northern New England Practice Transformation Network will support 500 primary care and specialist practices to expand their quality improvement capacity, learn from one another, and achieve common goals of improved care, better health, and reduced cost. The network will conduct a readiness assessment for each practice; provide direct technical assistance through the network of practice "coaches"; offer a range of options and opportunities for regional and cutting-edge distance-based collaborative learning; provide evidence-based team trainings; and build networking and tools to improve care coordination across the participating practices.

These awards are part of a comprehensive strategy advanced by the Affordable Care Act that enables new levels of coordination, continuity, and integration of care, while transitioning volume-driven systems to value-based, patient-centered, health care services. It builds upon successful models and programs such as the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Organization Program, Partnership for Patients with Hospital Engagement Networks, and Accountable Care Organizations.

For more information on the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, please visit: http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Transforming-Clinical-Practices/

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