Portsmouth homeless memorial vigil remembers those who died in 2019

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Hospital staff buy gifts for local families

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PORTSMOUTH – About two dozen families who have home visitors from Families Health & Support Center had their holiday-gift wish lists fulfilled this year by Portsmouth Regional Hospital employees.

Every department at the hospital participated, with different departments purchasing and wrapping gifts for different families. Donors did not know the recipients’ names but only the ages of family members and what they hoped to receive.

“We share a lot of families,” Gina Apgar, family support coordinator for families who have a child with a chronic health condition, told hospital employees who gathered recently to present the gifts to home visitors from Families First. “The families you are helping with these gifts are often the same families that you see here in the hospital.” She went on to say that one of the families who received gifts last year told her that the hospital’s generosity lifted the burden of her having to choose between giving her kids Christmas gifts or paying the rent, which “freed her to enjoy the holiday season with her kids.”

This is the fifth time that hospital employees have purchased gifts for Families First families.

Families First is part of Greater Seacoast Community Health, a network of community health centers providing primary care, pediatrics, dental care, prenatal care, behavioral health counseling, substance use disorder treatment, mobile health services, WIC, social work services, a pharmacy, parenting classes, playgroups and home visiting. More information is at (603) 422-8208 or www.FamiliesFirstSeacoast.org

Portsmouth Regional Hospital is a 220-bed acute care hospital. Portsmouth Regional Hospital serves the Seacoast region’s residents in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts and is one of the area’s largest employers. Portsmouth Regional Hospital is the only ACS Verified Level II Trauma Center on New Hampshire’s Seacoast. Portsmouth Regional Hospital is the Seacoast’s only comprehensive heart and vascular program, and its only 24/7 neurosurgical and stroke clot retrieval programs. For more information about Portsmouth’s services and physicians, visit: www.portsmouthhospital.com.

New class aims to create healthier parents


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New class aims to create healthier parents

By Karen Dandurant with Seacoast Online

PORTSMOUTH – Greater Seacoast Community Health, comprised of Families First, Goodwin Community Heath and Lilac City Pediatrics, has embraced and is offering the Parenting Journey course locally.

The Parenting Journey, a program founded in 1982 in Somerville, Mass., works with parents to find ways to become the parent they want to be. The goal is healthier families and a healthier society.

Funding for Parenting Journey comes from the New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation, as well as a donor fund designated for the expansion of parent and family programs at Greater Seacoast Community Health.

According to its website, The Parenting Journey creates safer, more resilient families by supporting them in developing the inner strengths, life skills, and networks of resources they need to succeed. The approach is based on the family systems principle – that people do not exist in isolation. They live in families (however defined) and gain important strengths from these relationships.

Patrice Baker, parent education coordinator, and JoAnn Clement, program facilitator at Families First, both attended training at Parenting Journey centers and are offering the program. They have done two courses of the program at Families First and are about to offer another at Goodwin in January.

“The program is intended for parents, caregivers, grandparents, anyone who is currently raising kids,” said Clement. “We look at how our caregivers were parented. They discuss what behaviors they should keep and what they should leave behind.”

Baker said most parents tend to repeat the behaviors they were raised with, repeating patterns from their childhood.

“The course is 12 weeks,” said Clement. “We start each class with a family-style meal during which we talk about their week. What are they most proud of as a parent this week? What do they think they could have done better? The groups get really tight and support each other, trading parenting ideas without judgment.”

As facilitators of the program, Baker said they work to lead by example. They want their program attendees to discover the parent they want to be, and to give them the skills to achieve that.

“People often feel judged as parents,” said Baker. “Through this amazing program, we watch the parents gain confidence and gain trust within the group. We listen to each other and do a curriculum of activities that teach good parenting skills. We teach them it is important to be secure in their parenting and to encourage their kids.”

Portsmouth resident Kate Abbott took the classes.

“I have been going to Families First since my three children were small,” said Abbott. “I found this program a great way to recalibrate. It is good to have the resource and the chance to interact with other parents. Looking at the way we were parented gave me a whole new level of respect for my own mom.”

Once the class is established, by week 2, Clement said no new entrants to the program are allowed. She said that is specifically done to allow the group to get to know each other and to develop the trust needed to make the program a success.

“People need to feel safe to talk in the group,” said Clement. “We had one parent discuss coming from a family of yellers. She said she found herself getting angry and anxious, and being that person herself. Through the group, she learned to take a step back and to take ten minutes to meditate. She tried it and found she was less likely to be reactive. We know because the parents come back each week and self-report.”

Baker said another parent talked about feeling that her own parents didn’t really care about her when she was growing up.

“She said her parents didn’t know her friends and never went to her school,” said Baker. “She said she wanted to be a better parent, to know her children’s’ friends and to be active in their schools. She said I want to do those things for my children. I want them to know how much I care.”

“Babies don’t come with a manual,” said Elizabeth Carey of Wells, Maine. “It might be nice if they did, but this program offers a way to validate your ideas. I have taken other programs, sometimes purely for the hour of childcare and the chance to talk to a grownup. This program really made me think about how I want to parent. It was a good experience and I would recommend it for other parents, especially first-time parents.”

Abbott said the Parenting Journey was unique from other parenting classes in that it focused on the adult, where most parenting programs are kid-centered, based on child behavior.

“As a group, we became friends,” said Abbott. “Because we were friends, we were open to talking about whatever we wanted to. I do think it made me a better parent, too, because of the ideas that passed through the group. It is nice because sometimes parents are more isolated than we want to be. We got to talk with other adults.”

To learn more about The Parenting Journey class, visit familiesfirstseacoast.org.

Artists of the Seacoast 2020 calendars in local stores

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PORTSMOUTH — The 2020 Artists of the Seacoast calendar, a fundraiser for Greater Seacoast Community Health, is now for sale at many local stores. “North Church,” a watercolor by Marci King, was selected as the cover artwork.

The other calendar artists, representing January through December, are: Susan Hennigan, Juleen Stacy, Debbie Mueller, Lennie Mullaney, Shawn Pelech, Peter Welch, Oleg Kompasov, Cecilia Oh, Kimberly Meuse, Joe Flaherty, Mary Jane Solomon and Eunice Miller.

To view the chosen works, visit tinyurl.com/SeacoastArtCalendar.

Calendars are sold in Portsmouth at the Button Factory Studios, Discover Portsmouth, G. Willikers!, Piscataqua Savings Bank, Portsmouth Vacuum, and RiverRun Bookstore; in Somersworth at Fiddlehead Farms, Hampshire Pewter, Seacoast Crafters, and The Gathering Place; in Dover at Noggin Factory and Sweet Meadows Flower Shop; in Hampton at The Galley Hatch; and in Rye at Summer House Furnishings. They may also be purchased at Families First and online at tinyurl.com/SeacoastArtCalendar.

Thanks to sponsors, advertisers, and donated services from local businesses, all proceeds from calendar sales go to support the health and family services provided by Families First and Goodwin Community Health. Nikki Savramis of Good Idea Design donated graphic design services, while Image Arts Etc. photographed the artwork at a generous discount.

Calendar sponsors include Atlantic Plastic Surgery Center, Clark Insurance, Exeter Hospital, Garrison Family Dental, Louis F. Clarizio Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center, Northeast Delta Dental, and Peter G. Kasnet Inc. Calendar advertisers include: Homewood Suites by Hilton, Piscataqua Savings Bank, The Provident Bank, Tobey & Merrill Insurance, Allergy Associates of New Hampshire, CGI Employee Benefits Group, Harbour Women’s Health, Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe, Southport Printing Company, DARCI Creative, Seacoast Mental Health Center, United Way of the Greater Seacoast and Bangor Savings Bank.

Families First Health and Goodwin Community Health are part of Greater Seacoast Community Health – a nonprofit network of community health centers providing primary care, pediatrics, dental care, prenatal care, behavioral health counseling, substance use disorder treatment, mobile health services, WIC, social work services, a pharmacy, parenting classes, playgroups and home visiting. Learn more at GetCommunityHealth.org.

 

Caption:
“North Church,” a watercolor by Marci King, is featured on the cover of the 2020 Artists of the Seacoast calendar, a fundraiser for Families First Health & Support Center and Goodwin Community Health. To view all the calendar artwork and learn how to purchase the calendar, visit tinyurl.com/SeacoastArtCalendar.

Strafford County Addiction Summit to focus on trauma-informed communities

SOMERSWORTH — The Strafford County Public Health Network’s 2019 Strafford County Addiction Summit will take place Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s Garrison Wing. The theme of this year’s event is Building Trauma-Informed Communities.

The summit aims to educate and provide community members with the knowledge, skills and tools to address challenges such as adverse childhood experiences (ACE) by utilizing trauma-informed care (TIC) principles in their everyday lives and work. By hearing concrete examples, learning about funding opportunities, and listening to experts across fields, attendees will learn how to cultivate resilient communities that are built on a foundation of trauma-informed care.

Attendees can expect to gain valuable insight on the core principles of trauma-informed care, practices that can be utilized in the workplace, enhancing communication skills, and how to apply trauma-informed best practices into your life.

The keynote addresses include ACES in Action: Building Trauma-Informed Communities by Dr. Larry McCullough, executive director and founder of Pinetree Institute, and Tomorrow’s Funding by Tym Rourke, director of New Hampshire Tomorrow with the NH Charitable Foundation. The event will also include six breakout sessions and a panel of experts discussing “Examples of Trauma-Informed Work in Our Communities.”

There is a $20 registration fee per person. The event includes breakfast and lunch. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify, please contact SCPHN for more information. Continuing education credits are available.

This is the eighth annual Addiction Summit coordinated by the Strafford County Public Health Network. This event is coordinated with support from Greater Seacoast Community Health, Dover Coalition for Youth, the Pinetree Institute and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. More information can be found at SCPHN.org or by contacting SCPHN@GoodwinCH.org or (603) 994-6357.

 

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Rochester property owners urged to attend free lead removal seminar

ROCHESTER PROPERTY OWNERS URGED TO ATTEND FREE LEAD REMOVAL SEMINAR

ROCHESTER, November6, 2019 – The City of Rochester and the Strafford County Public Health Network are hosting a free educational program for property owners and managers in Rochester whose properties may contain lead.  Residents owning property built before 1978 are strongly encouraged to attend this free program and dinner at the new Mitchell Hill BBQ, 50 North Main Street, Rochester, at 5:30pm on Tuesday, November 12.

Attendees will hear from NH state experts, Gail Gettens and Ross Malcolm from the NH of Division of Public Health Services on the dangers of lead as well as financial programs that will assist with removing lead. Attendees will learn about new laws like the one passed in 2018 in New Hampshire passed requiring providers to conduct blood lead level tests for all 1 and 2 year olds.  It will also connect attendees with resources and information on things property managers and homeowners can do to test their homes for lead that may exist in interior paint, exterior paint and their water.

“In 2017 652 NH children were poisoned by lead.  Lead is a toxic poison. It can slow growth and impair brain development, especially among children; the effects can be permanent and continue into adulthood. One of the most common source of lead exposure for children is lead paint and lead−contaminated dust in older homes, said Ashley Desrochers, Prevention Coordinator, Strafford County Public Health Network.  “It only takes a speck of lead dust the size of a grain of salt to poison a child. We are working with some of NH’s highest risk communities so that we can prevent further lead poisoning in our children.”

The Strafford County Public Health Network, whose mission is to improve the health of all the individuals in Strafford County, is seeking individuals interested in joining both its Rochester and Somersworth Lead Safety teams.  Anyone interested can contact Ashley Desrochers at 603-749-2346 x2579 or adesrochers@goodwinch.org. For more information about the free dinner and seminar, contact Julian Long at Julian.long@rochesternh.net.

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Media Contact:  Lara Willard, 603-516-2558

Seacoast health centers earn quality awards

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Published by Seacoast Online 

SOMERSWORTH — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will award $137,250 to Greater Seacoast Community Health, a network of community health centers that includes Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester.

The award money recognizes achievements in clinical quality improvement, and the overall value of health care in the communities they serve. It is intended to help the health centers further advance in those areas.

The $137,250 award is based on the following achievements by Goodwin, Families First and Lilac City Pediatrics in 2018:

* ranking among the top 30% of all health centers nationwide in overall performance on clinical quality measures ($36,250)

* having Patient Centered Medical Home Recognition at both Families First and Goodwin Community Health ($35,000).

* meeting or exceeding the Healthy People 2020 goals, which are science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of Americans ($32,000). For example, to achieve goals around mental health and substance abuse, Greater Seacoast Community Health hired an additional nurse to enable more patients to receive Medication-Assisted Recovery services; hired an acupuncturist to provide a non-pharmaceutical, holistic approach to treating pain and depression in patients with substance use disorders; and hired additional mental health providers to be able to offer more “warm handoffs” of primary care patients to mental health providers at the point of care.

* demonstrating improvement of at least 15% on a clinical quality measure over the previous year ($19,000). For example, between 2017 and 2018, the health centers increased the percentage of teens and adults who are screened for depression from 75% to 86%, and the percentage of prenatal patients screened from 73% to 88%.

* increasing the number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services ($10,000). One way Greater Seacoast did this was to begin sending a family nurse practitioner to Community Partners’ Rochester facility one day a week, in order to make primary care more accessible to patients with severe mental illness.

* using Health Information Technology to increase access to care and advance quality of care ($5,000).

Families First and Goodwin have received quality award money annually since the federal government began giving it in 2014. It is meant to be invested in increasing quality, efficiency and access to care at the health centers. In the past, the health centers have invested award money in technology upgrades, staffing and purchasing diagnostic equipment so that patients can get more services in one place.

Families First, Goodwin and Lilac City Pediatrics provide primary care, pediatrics, dental care, prenatal care, behavioral health counseling, substance use disorder treatment, mobile health services, WIC, social work services, a pharmacy, parenting classes, playgroups and home visiting. For more information, visit GetCommunityHealth.org.

The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HRSA is the primary federal agency responsible for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit HRSA.gov.

New provider joins Families First, Goodwin health centers

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SOMERSWORTH – Family Nurse Practitioner Kelly Moore, APRN, NP-C, has joined Greater Seacoast Community Health. She will see children and adults at both Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth.

Before earning her Nurse Practitioner degree from the University of New Hampshire last spring, Moore worked for eight years as a registered nurse. Most of that time was spent in cardiac care at Portsmouth Regional Hospital and at Elliot Hospital in Manchester.

While studying for her nurse-practitioner degree, Moore did a five-month internship at Goodwin Community Health, working under Family Nurse Practitioner Paige Wilder, APRN NP-C.

Moore says she chose to work in a family practice because of her interest in preventive health and health promotion and in “looking at the patient as a whole across the lifespan.” She adds that she is happy to be working at Goodwin and Families First because “a community health center is not just primary care; patients can also get other services like dental and behavioral health care.”

Moore is board-certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

To become a patient of Kelly Moore, call (603) 749-2346 for Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth; call 603-422-8208 (press 3) for Families First in Portsmouth; or visit the Become a Patient section at GoodwinCH.org or FamiliesFirstSeacoast.org.

Greater Seacoast Community Health is a network of community health centers providing primary care, pediatrics, dental care, prenatal care, behavioral health counseling, substance use disorder treatment, mobile health services, WIC, social work services, a pharmacy, parenting classes, playgroups and home visiting. The network includes Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester. The Strafford County Public Health Network and SOS Recovery Community Organization are also affiliated with Greater Seacoast. Services are open to everyone and aim to be respectful, recovery-friendly, LGBTQ-affirming and trauma-informed. For more information, visit GetCommunityHealth.org.

Abenaqui golfers give record-setting donation

RYE – When the Women’s Golf League at Abenaqui Country Club began donating a portion of proceeds from their annual Pink Day Tournament to help Families First Health and Support Center in 2011, the donation came to $1,800. This summer, the Pink Day group donated more than six times that amount – $10,960 – bringing the league’s total donations over eight years to $45,000. The money is designated to help Families First – and, now, its partner organization, Goodwin Community Health – to make breast exams and mammograms accessible to women who are uninsured or have health insurance with a high deductible.

In was 21 years ago that the Abenaqui Women’s Golf League began designating one day a year to raise funds for breast cancer programs, initially supporting national organizations. When league members and breast cancer survivors Laura Cannon and Jackie Stone took over the Pink Day Tournament in 2008, they asked the League Board to change the focus to supporting Seacoast nonprofits. Counting the $45,000 raised for Families First, the league has raised a total of $70,000 for local Seacoast nonprofits since 2008.

Another turning point came in 2016, when organizers expanded the tournament’s fundraising capacity by selling hole sponsorships to the entire Abenaqui membership rather than only women’s league members, and also challenging Men’s League teams to sponsor holes. “The membership and staff stepped up to the plate big time,” Cannon says. “This year we had more than 72 signs on the course the day of our tournament. We were a sea of women dressed in pink celebrating our cause.”

For information about the cancer screening services offered at Families First for uninsured and underinsured women, visit tinyurl.com/FFBCCP or call (603) 422-8208 (press 3).

 

Photo Caption:
Abenaqui Women’s League Tournament Chair Laura Cannon, second from left, recently presented Greater Seacoast Community Health with more than $11,000 raised through Abenaqui Country Club’s Pink Day golf tournament in late July. Accepting the donation were Greater Seacoast Community Health CEO Janet Laatsch, far left, and Barbara Henry and Valerie Goodwin, chair and vice chair of the GSCH Board of Directors.