Strafford County Extreme Cold Weather Shelter Activated for 1/19/19-1/22/19

The Strafford County Commissioners announce the activation of the Strafford County Extreme Cold Weather Shelter. The Shelter is located at 276 County Farm Road in Dover, NH, sharing the building with Southeastern NH Services, which is at 272 County Farm Road.


Hours of operation for this activation are from 2pm on Saturday, January 19th, 2019 to 10am on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 to ensure any unsheltered county residents have access to safe shelter from extreme life-threatening weather and cold. Transportation is available by shuttle from the Amtrak platform at the Dover Transportation Center (train & bus station) on or around every hour from 2pm-8pm on Saturday and on the same schedule, weather permitting, on Sunday. The COAST bus route to the County Complex will be available Monday. Upon closing, transportation coordination will be provided via COAST bus passes and shuttle service to local community service partner agencies. Social service agencies and municipalities are encouraged to provide transportation options or support to their clients or residents seeking access. For other transportation options and general shelter questions, please call the shelter at 857-323-0388. Point of contact for this activation is Tory Jennison @ 857-323-0388 or<>.

Parent and family programs coming to Somersworth

SOMERSWORTH  —  Two new programs for families — a parenting class and a weekly playgroup — are coming to Somersworth this winter.

The class, a 5-week series called Active Parenting, will explore some of the most effective parenting techniques through discussion, activities and videos. “One goal is to help parents reduce power struggles at home by identifying strategies that will work for their particular families,” says Patrice Baker, M.Ed., who will lead the classes. Topics include parenting styles, responsibility and discipline, building courage and self-esteem, understanding and redirecting misbehavior, and winning cooperation while balancing the parenting load. The class is for parents of school-age children.

Active Parenting meets Thursday evenings, Jan. 10 through Feb. 7, from 5:30 to 7 p.m at Goodwin Community Health (311 Route 108 in Somersworth). The program is free and includes free child care with a light supper for children. Advance signup is required.

The second program, Somersworth Family Morning Out, is for children ages birth to six with their parents or other caregivers. It includes age-appropriate crafts and other activities, positive play with peers and adults, songs, snacks and story time.  Family Morning Out meets Friday mornings, Jan. 4 through March 29, from 9:30 to 11 at the Flanagan Center, 25 Bartlett Ave. in Somersworth. There is no cost to attend.

Both programs are free. For more information or to sign up, visit or call 603-422-8208 (press 2) or

Active Parenting and Family Morning Out are offered Greater Seacoast Community Health, which includes Goodwin Community Health and Families First Health & Support Center. Families First has offered similar programs in Portsmouth for over 25 years and is now bringing them to Somersworth. Funding for the programs in Somersworth comes from the NH Division for Children, Youth and Families; United Way of the Greater Seacoast; and the Fuller Foundation.

Contact: Patrice Baker
Families First
603-422-8208, ext. 315


Barbara Henry to Chair Greater Seacoast Board

PORTSMOUTH AND SOMERSWORTH— Hampton resident Barbara Henry will serve as 2019 board chair for Greater Seacoast Community Health, leading the organization as it enters its second year after the merger of Families First in Portsmouth, Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester, NH.

Henry has served as a Families First board member since 2012 and most recently as the vice-chair of Greater Seacoast Community Health in 2018 after the mergers took effect.  Henry is also a current board member and past chair of the Music Hall in Portsmouth.  She spent 35 years in the newspaper business including an editor position with USA Today and position of president at Gannett Company’s Midwest and South Newspaper group.  She holds a journalism degree from the University of Nevada-Reno.

According to Henry, “It’s a privilege to chair the board of Greater Seacoast Community Health, which provides family services and excellent medical, dental and behavioral care to 16,000 patients.  We are seeing significant change in health care and the board and staff of our three community health centers are up to the challenge of ensuring that everyone continues to have access to quality health care.”

Henry exchanges roles with Valerie Goodwin as the Chair of Greater Seacoast Community Health.  Goodwin will remain on the board as Vice-Chair. Dennis Veilleux is the newly elected board treasurer and Jennifer Glidden will continue to serve the organization as the 2109 secretary.

Families First and Goodwin, along with Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester, are part of a single organization whose legal name is Greater Seacoast Community Health. The health centers provide primary care for people of all ages, dental care, prenatal care, counseling, substance misuse treatment and recovery services, parenting classes, family programs, home visiting, and mobile health services for people experiencing homelessness. For more information, visit

Newburyport Bank Donates more than $12K to Nonprofits


Read the Full Article Here

NEWBURYPORT – Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank has donated more than $12,000 to local community groups and nonprofits, according to the bank.

The bank donated $5,000 to the Goodwin Community Health & Families First 10th annual Father’s Day 5K Race to be held June 16.

Both Goodwin Community Health and Families First provide a safety net for the most vulnerable members of the community, helping them navigate the health care system at a time when they may not be at their physical, emotional or financial best.

Timothy Felter, executive vice president, CFO and treasurer of the bank, said in a press release, “The annual 5K is a fun run and walk that supports the important role that Goodwin and Families First play within the community. Our donation furthers their mission, which is to make services available, regardless of ability to pay, with many of their parenting classes, home visiting and family programs. We’re proud to do our part on behalf of their vital efforts.”

The bank also recently made a $2,250 donation to the Newburyport Farmers’ Market, which supports local farmers, fishermen, chefs and the creative community through hosting the weekly market and related events at The Tannery on Water Street.

Lloyd L. Hamm Jr., the bank’s president and CEO, said supporting the farmers market makes sense because it’s “a program that nourishes the entire community. It provides an incentive for families to eat healthier and at the same time, supports our local food providers. It’s a cycle that can only mean good things for the community.”

Other recent donations by Newburyport Bank include: $1,000 to the Whittier Home Museum in Amesbury and $1,000 to Girls Inc. of the Seacoast Area in support of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center.  Girls Inc. of the Seacoast Area is an affiliate of the national organization, Girls Inc., whose mission is to inspire young girls to be strong, smart and bold.

The bank also donated $3,500 to Mass Audubon’s Merrimack River Eagle Festival, which takes place Feb. 9. The Eagle Festival is part of the work of the Mass Audubon Joppa Flats Education Center.

New Providers join Families First and Goodwin

PORTSMOUTH AND SOMERSWORTH – Families First Health and Support Center and Goodwin Community Health recently welcomed three new health care providers. Family physician M. Eden Beams is based at Families First in Portsmouth, while family nurse practitioner Tara Jean Conway-Kenney and nurse midwife Jessica Bacon are at Goodwin in Somersworth.

Eden Beams, MD, graduated from Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine in Philadelphia in 2014. During medical school, she co-founded two organizations to provide health services to refugees. She did her residency in family and community medicine at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware.  At graduation, she was chosen by her peers and faculty to receive the Dean Walters Award for Excellence in Community Medicine, the residency program’s highest honor. She is board- certified in family practice.

Tara Kenney, FNP-C, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Regis College in Weston, Mass. Before coming to Goodwin, she spent three years at Interventional Spine Medicine in Barrington, NH, where she worked with many patients suffering from chronic pain. She is also a certified Level 2 Reiki therapist and is interested in alternative medicine. She is certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

Jessica Bacon, CNM, has nearly 20 years’ experience working with women and infants. As a registered nurse, she spent a total of 12 years working in the labor and delivery units of Portsmouth Regional Hospital, York Hospital and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. After earning her Master of Science in Nursing from Frontier Nursing University in 2012, she worked as a nurse midwife at Garrison Women’s Health Center in Dover and St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, as well as serving as clinical educator for Wentworth-Douglass staff. She is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

Families First and Goodwin, along with Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester, are part of a single organization whose legal name is Greater Seacoast Community Health. The health centers provide primary care for people of all ages, dental care, prenatal care, counseling, substance misuse treatment and recovery services, parenting classes, family programs, home visiting, and mobile health services for people experiencing homelessness. For more information, visit

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation awards $15,000 to expand cancer screenings

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Awards $15,000 to Greater Seacoast Community Health to Expand Cancer Screenings

MANCHESTER, N.H. — As part of its commitment to increasing access to preventative care for consumers, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded a grant of $15,000 to Greater Seacoast Community Health to support the organization’s cancer-screening services. The grant will supplement the organization’s ongoing efforts to make sure uninsured or underinsured individuals have access to screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, from its locations at Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Families First Health Center in Portsmouth.

“When people lack financial resources, some of the first things they tend to forgo are preventive screenings like colonoscopies, mammograms and Pap tests,” said Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health. “This grant from Anthem helps us remove barriers that keep people from having access to these life-saving tests.”

“Creating greater access to care, including preventative care, is an essential component of what we do every day at Anthem. That’s because regular screenings for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer lead to early detection, which saves lives,” said Lisa Guertin, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire. “We’re very proud that our Foundation’s support for Greater Seacoast Community Health allows for expanded access to these critical screenings, helping more people in the community get the care they need.”

Greater Seacoast Community Health was created in January 2018 through the merger of Goodwin Community Health, in Somersworth, and Families First Health and Support Center, in Portsmouth. The organization is one of New Hampshire’s largest community health centers, serving about 16,000 local adults and children, many of them uninsured, underinsured or lacking access to affordable, quality health care.

Since 2006, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded Greater Seacoast Community Health (and previously Families First Health and Support Center) more than $65,000 to support the organization’s prenatal and primary care programs.

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About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long-term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Greater Seacoast Community Health

Greater Seacoast Community Health includes Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, and Lilac Pediatrics in Rochester. The organization provides primary care for people of all ages, dental care, prenatal care, counseling, substance misuse treatment and recovery services, parenting classes, family programs, home visiting, and mobile health services for people experiencing homelessness. Services are open to all in the Greater Seacoast region (Eastern Rockingham County, Strafford County and southern Maine), regardless of ability to pay or insurance status. For more information, visit and

SOS Recovery Community Organization becomes first Recovery Community Organization in the United States to receive an exemplary accreditation

SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS RCO) is pleased to announce they are the first Recovery Community Organization (RCO) in the United States to receive an “exemplary” level of accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services.  SOS RCO is the tenth RCO in the country to achieve accreditation and the second in NH.  Until now, no other RCO has received the CAPRSS designation of “exemplary” which is the highest possible level and includes a 5 year accreditation.

SOS Recovery Community Organization is a peer led recovery community organization with two recovery community centers.  SOS opened the first recovery community center in Rochester at 63 S. Main St in August of 2016 and they opened a  second one in Dover at 4 Broadway opened in April of 2017. SOS RCO provides a variety of peer recovery supports including meetings, peer recovery support services such as recovery coaching and telephone recovery supports, crisis navigation and a variety of activities such as yoga, art in recovery, music in recovery, and social activities.

The Council on Accreditation of Peer Recovery Support Services (CAPRSS) is the only accrediting body in the US for recovery community organizations (RCOs) and other programs offering addiction peer recovery support services (PRSS). The CAPRSS accreditation review consists of self review, peer review and committee review. Combined, these help to ensure that accredited organizations will have institutional integrity (clear purposes, high levels of integrity, fiscal stability, systems to fulfill its purposes), PRSS effectiveness (clear and appropriate objectives & design, process of review, collection and use of data that ensure environment for recovery), and sufficient capacity to sustain quality over time.

According to John Burns, Director of SOS RCO, “We are both humbled and thrilled to be the first recovery community organization in the nation to receive an exemplary accreditation.  This accreditation is a process that took well over a year of preparation and hard work and demonstrates to our community the integrity and the impact of our organization.  It is a testament to the community we are surrounded by and the input they’ve provided in building this resource and our commitment to being community driven.  This accreditation belongs to all our members, volunteers and staff as it’s been an exhausting, yet tremendously rewarding collective effort that’s being recognized by CAPRSS.”

CAPRSS offers a recovery-oriented accreditation program that:

  • helps emerging and established RCOs and peer programs to build capacity;
  • improves the performance of organizations and programs providing peer services by setting and measuring the achievement of standards; and
  • increases accountability of peer services providers to funders, the public, and the field.
  • CAPRSS is the culmination of years of work by recovery community advocates and allies, who work every day to secure, promote and provide pathways to long-term recovery for millions of Americans, their families and their communities.

To support this process, the CAPRSS standards focus on four areas:

Principles: Elements that are often seen as intangible—principles, culture, and climate—and yet are known to have a significant impact on organizational success.

People: People are the heart of peer recovery support services program; this area helps PRSS programs to examine how peer leaders and peer supervisors are recruited, oriented, trained, supervised, and developed, and policies needed to ensure a good environment for all staff—volunteer and paid.

Practices: Organizational practices that are critical for organizational stability and success.

Performance: Capacities that programs have to help people achieve and maintain recovery.

There are 30 core standards within these four focus areas and four levels of outcomes that include: non-accreditation, provisional accreditation, standard accreditation and exemplary accreditation.  To receive an exemplary accreditation an RCO must exceed standards in at least 25 of the 30 core standards.  (Standards Attached)

The mission of SOS RCO is to reduce stigma and harm associated with substance use and misuse by providing safe space and peer-based supports for people in all stages of recovery.  The vision of SOS is one that envisions a world where recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs is possible and widely embraced through low-barrier access to inclusive and respectful support, and where all who seek long-term recovery have access to the care and resources they need to achieve their self-defined goals. SOS RCO is a program of Goodwin Community Health, a non-profit 501c3, federally qualified health center based in Somersworth NH.  Goodwin Community Health has been consistently delivering affordable, high quality care and services for nearly 50 years in Strafford County and serves over 9000 patients with over 32000 visits each year in Somersworth.

Health screenings for low-income women available

This article was written by Karen Dandurant and published by Seacoast Online. The Full article can be found here.

Health screenings for low-income women available
The Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, offered at both Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Families First in Portsmouth, makes OB/GYN physicals, cervical cancer screenings, breast exams and mammograms accessible to uninsured women ages 21-64. You do not need to be a patient; this service is open to all women in the Greater Seacoast area who qualify.

Jeni Beaulieu coordinates the Breast and Cervical Cancer program for Greater Seacoast Community Health, which includes both Families First and Goodwin Community Heath.

“I assist woman in getting enrolled in the BCCP program and navigating and coordinating care between primary care and specialist offices,” said Beaulieu. “Women have lots of questions and fears about breast and cervical screenings, testings and procedures as well as questions and fears about costs and insurance coverage. I’m here to make it less complicated and remove the fear and worry so the path to care is much easier. That’s what I call ‘patient navigation.’ Other things can be a barrier to care for low income women, too. Things like transportation or difficulties in getting multiple appointments scheduled can be overwhelming when you’re scared about something like a breast lump. I try to jump in and remove these obstacles, so the person is more likely to complete the care cycle.”

Beaulieu said the agencies served about 450 women in 2017. Transgender people are eligible to apply for BCCP services.

“The people who are enrolled in BCCP are either uninsured or underinsured and would be unlikely to get or complete diagnostic testing due to cost and other barriers,” said Beaulieu. “We have a growing immigrant population that is in need of services that may not qualify for other traditional routes of assistance that we can care for here.”

One woman, Janice Silver of the Seacoast area, says that the BCCP program likely saved her life.

“I was diagnosed when I was 41,” said Silver. “I am now 58. I have carpal tunnel and some sensation loss in my fingers, so when I felt a lump, I was not sure. I am still undergoing treatment because after winning against this disease a few times, I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in June. Sixteen-years later, I am still dealing with this.”

Silver received numerous treatments, including medications, radiation and chemotherapy. At various points along the way, the margins of her cancer changed, at one-point doctors saw cancer cells but felt they were dead cells. In 2002, she underwent a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Her mom died from cancer.

Being a busy single mother (whose two sons are now grown) Silver said she may have ignored her symptoms longer had she not been aware of the BCCP program. At one point, she served on the Goodwin board.

“I might have adopted a wait and see attitude,” said Silver. “I was busy as a mom. I owned and was running a day care center. Eventually through all this, I decided I needed a real job with benefits, so I now work for Community Partners in direct support services. I found phenomenal doctors and staff and a program that saved my life.”

In a way, Silver still has a wait and see attitude.

Strafford County Public Health Wraps Up Flu Clinic Season

The Strafford County Public Health Network finished their run of flu clinics at Dover Middle School on Tuesday, October 16. The Public Health team, assisted by nurses and vaccinators, and the coordination of school nurses and staff from 19 Strafford County schools. In the 2018 season, 1,351 people received a vaccination from the school-based flu clinics, an increase of over 100 people from last year’s turnout.

The Strafford County Public Health network, which organizes the school flu clinics each year, has seen an increase in turnout over the past 2 years, and works to integrate vaccination and health education into the schools of Strafford County. To learn more about the Strafford County school-based influenza vaccination clinics, visit their website.


Shaheen, Hassan & Shea-Porter Announce $500K To Expand Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Abuse Disorder in Seacoast

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced $502,729 in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The grant will fund Greater Seacoast Community Health’s efforts to expand medication-assisted treatment for vulnerable populations in Somersworth and the Seacoast region.


“Expanding medication-assisted treatment for Granite Staters struggling with substance use disorder is a significant step to strengthen our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “This funding will provide critical resources to Greater Seacoast Community Health, increasing treatment options for those who need it most. We need every tool at our disposal to turn the tide of the opioid crisis, so I’m very pleased by these additional grants to help our health care providers. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to fight for more federal support for Granite Staters on the frontlines of this epidemic.”


“Medication-assisted treatment is the gold standard for opioid use disorder treatment and it is a critical part of the comprehensive approach that we need to continue implementing to curb the deadly tide of the opioid crisis,” said Hassan. “This federal grant will support those efforts by expanding access to medication-assisted treatment for some of our most vulnerable Granite Staters under the care of Greater Seacoast Community Health. I’ll keep fighting to secure additional resources so that those seeking treatment have access to the care they need to get their lives back on track.”


“We know that to turn the tide in the deadly opioid epidemic, individuals with substance use disorder need access to evidence-based treatment options, and that’s what this funding will support,” said Shea-Porter. “Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is critical in our state’s fight to combat the opioid epidemic, and we rely on organizations like Greater Seacoast Community Health to administer MAT programs. This funding was made available through the hard work of the entire New Hampshire Congressional Delegation, and I am pleased to see that Greater Seacoast Community Health will receive more of the resources it needs to serve our communities. Congratulations to Greater Seacoast Community Health, and I thank them for the incredible work they do to improve the health and well-being of our communities.”


“We are grateful to the delegation for this funding as it makes a big impact on our capacity to create more access to much needed treatment and recovery services,” said Janet Laatsch, CEO of Greater Seacoast Community Health. “This level of support means that we can expand our street outreach efforts to more of the homeless population, pregnant woman and women with dependent children, veterans, people struggling with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, and people involved with the criminal justice system.


Greater Seacoast Community Health was established when the Goodwin Community Health Center and Families First merged in January, 2018. The organization of Federally Qualified Health Centers serves 16,500 patients at clinics in Somersworth, Portsmouth, and Seabrook, providing primary care, prenatal care, breast and cervical cancer screenings, MAT, and intensive outpatient treatment for substance use disorder.


As members of the Common Sense Caucus, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped secure an additional $6 billion to combat the opioid crisis in the budget deal signed into law in February, and helped ensure that a dedicated portion of that funding would be set aside specifically for states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. The congressional delegation led efforts to change the SAMHSA funding formula that puts states like New Hampshire with small populations and high mortality rates from opioid overdoses at a disadvantage. SAMHSA recently agreed to change this funding formula and also limit the number of states eligible for the set-aside funds to a targeted list of states, adhering to a request from the New Hampshire congressional delegation. Together, the funding increase in the omnibus funding bill and these subsequent changes to allocate additional resources to states with exceptionally high overdose death rates, have led to a substantial increase in resources for New Hampshire.


Last week, Senate and House negotiators announced the final funding legislation of the Departments of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and other agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2019, which includes an extension of equivalent funding for opioid response efforts secured in the omnibus funding bill for FY 2018. The Labor-HHS funding bill provides $3.8 billion in funding, an increase of $206 million above the FY2018 funding level. This includes $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The legislation also ensures that New Hampshire will also receive $22.9 million in State Opioid Response Grants for FY 2019.