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 or

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

Michael Robustelli, ARNP

Michael Robustelli, ARNP
Family Practice


Michael is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner. Previously having been immersed in the financial world of NYC, he became disillusioned with the work. Determined to heal the brokenness around him, he returned to school where he completed his graduate studies at the University of New Hampshire.

He now works with under-served populations focusing on those affected by mental illness. Outside the office, he continues his healing mission through work with his church.


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 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.

Shaheen seeks $63B for drug, alcohol services

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Story by Kyle Stucker
Photos by Deb Cram

SOMERSWORTH — Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and a roundtable of local stakeholders stressed Monday that a new $63 billion federal bill’s substance use disorder funds must be flexible so states like New Hampshire can best help their residents.

Shaheen, D-N.H., scheduled the discussion with medical providers, recovery experts and practitioners, municipal leaders and law enforcement officials at Goodwin Community Health. The meeting focused on how her new Turn the Tide Act should work to stem the Granite State’s substance misuse epidemic.

“Probably the No. 1 concern I’ve heard as I’ve traveled around is that we need things to be more flexible,” said Shaheen. “Making it fit with each community is what we need to do.”

Shaheen’s proposal would provide $63 billion nationally to address substance use disorder over the next 10 years.

It would increase annual State Opioid Response treatment grants from $1.5 billion to $5.5 billion over the first five years, as well as provide $27.5 billion over 10 years for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.

The latter gives states the ability to provide wraparound services related to opioids, alcohol, meth, cocaine and other substances commonly used in New Hampshire.

The bill would also increase prevention resources by, among other things, extending the term cap on the Drug Free Community grant program from two to five years.

It would also fund measures designed to reduce the types of adverse childhood trauma and experiences that lead to substance use. It proposes increased Medicaid payment rates to help increase the limited number of psychiatric medication providers in the state. It would use $50 million a year to provide student loan forgiveness to the treatment workforce. It would also improve first responder assistance and eliminate roadblocks like co-pays for naloxone and Narcan.

Some attendees spoke at length Monday about child trauma and the need to prevent creating another generation of people with substance use disorder challenges. The proposed bill would provide $20 million per year to implement a new grant program modeled after the successful Manchester Childhood Emergency Response Team to help child exposed to trauma, according to Shaheen.

“I think it’s very easy in situations like this for us to just be responsive in terms of the needs of the adults and getting their situations stabilized, but I’m telling you we’re missing an opportunity if we continue to not think about… the next generation,” said a Jessica Sugrue, chief executive officer of YWCA New Hampshire.

Others asked Shaheen to look into how the bill can support alternative treatments like Greater Seacoast Community Health’s new grant-funded acupuncture detoxification program.

“This is something we may need to look at,” said Shaheen.

Shaheen and others also said focus on alcohol resources and prevention is important because it’s often forgotten behind opioids despite alcoholism being more widespread.

Since The Doorway, New Hampshire’s new hub and spoke treatment model, debuted earlier this year, 50 percent of people seeking assistance have alcohol-related disorders, according to Shaheen.

While Shaheen said her proposed bill’s $63 billion in funding is a “drop in the bucket” compared to the actual costs of substance use disorder, she said she’s hopeful it will still make a positive difference for many of the nation’s struggling communities.

The full text of Shaheen’s Turn the Tide bill can be found at

New pediatrician comes to the Seacoast

July 12, 2019

PORTSMOUTH – Pediatrician Danette Colella will join Greater Seacoast Community Health in late July, dividing her time between Families First Health and Support Center in Portsmouth and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester.

A pediatrician for the past 20 years, Dr. Colella has experience in general pediatrics and adolescent medicine. Her interests include preventive medicine and continuity of care from birth to young adulthood.

After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Dr. Colella completed her pediatric residency through Harvard Medical School at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. She served as Chief of Pediatrics at South Shore Medical Center in Norwell, Mass., and most recently worked at a pediatric practice in Wisconsin before moving back to New England. She is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Dr. Colella will see patients ages birth through 21. In addition to pediatric care, her patients will have access to many other professionals within the Greater Seacoast Community Health network, including dentists and hygienists, behavioral health care providers, social workers, a child development specialist, a nutritionist and the WIC nutrition program. St the Families First site, free child care is offered while parents are there for appointments or parenting classes. The organization also supports families through parenting classes, family programs and home visiting.

For information about becoming a patient of Dr. Colella at Families First in Portsmouth, call 603-422-8208 (press 3) or visit To establish care with her at Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester, call 603-335-4522.

Greater Seacoast Community Health is a network of community health centers providing primary care for children and adults, dental care, prenatal care, behavioral health counseling, substance use disorder treatment, mobile health services, social work services, a pharmacy, parenting classes, family programs, and home visiting. The network includes Families First Health & Support Center in Portsmouth, Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester. Strafford County Public Health Network and SOS Recovery Community Organization also are affiliated with Greater Seacoast, and the WIC nutrition program has a site at Goodwin. Services are open to everyone and provided within a culture that seeks to be respectful, recovery-friendly, LGBTQ-affirming and trauma-informed. For more information, visit

Acupuncture used to treat addiction and other ills

Acupuncture used to treat addiction and other ills

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PORTSMOUTH – Alternatives to opioids is something on everyone’s mind, given the current epidemic of abuse New Hampshire is facing and one agency is taking on the challenge.

Greater Seacoast Community Health, which represents a merger between Families First in Portsmouth and Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth is a “spoke” in the state’s Hub and Spoke initiative, intended to address the opioid crisis.

GSCH has received a $1.45 million SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services) grant intended to enhance existing services and add new ones in efforts to address substance abuse and mental health services offered at both locations. The grant gives the agencies $502,729 in year one, and $476,172 in years two and three.

Acupuncture is part of the SAMHSA grant and acupuncturist Elizabeth Nelson has been hired for the service. It is not a standalone service but will complement the primary care and behavioral health services, according to Margie Wachtel, communication director for GSCH.

“In addition to SUD, some of the primary conditions that Liz will be addressing are chronic pain, stress and anxiety,” said Wachtel. “Liz’s position is funded by a grant we received recently (for the first time) from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, to expand our Medication-Assisted Recovery services.”

Nelson came to GSCH from work with veterans who have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She said she was trained in the procedure at the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine in Florida and the Lincoln Recovery Center in the Bronx, New York.

Nelson uses NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) ear acupuncture on both groups.

“It works well on stress, on helping people get better sleep, and on decreasing the desire for substances like drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes,” said Nelson. “People with PTSD and substance abuse may have anger and anxiety. No one wants to be addicted. They can have social isolation issues. Acupuncture releases stress, emotional trauma and that makes it easier to make connections. They have better track records of staying in programs.”

Nelson does her work in groups. Her clients sit together for 45 minutes, with five needles in each ear. They can talk and listen to relaxing music.

“Some of the people are afraid of needles, so we sometimes call them pins,” said Nelson.

So how does it work?

“Acupuncture releases endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals,” said Nelson. “Drugs are chemicals released into the body. When a person stops using, they can feel sluggish and tired. Acupuncture gives them a euphoric feeling and has been around since the 1970s as a treatment for addiction. It is used in some states in drug courts, in prisons. I am happy to have the opportunity to bring this here. I truly believe in the success of the treatments. I have seen it in my patients. I love that it is holistic, that it doesn’t involve hooking people on another drug.”

Beth Pearson, project director for the grant, said it has specific goals.

“The programs we are enhancing existed before the grant,” said Pearson “The grant will help us to increase services and outreach, and to enhance what is already in place.”

Pearson said acupuncture was added and approved after the grant had already been approved.

“We were looking at acupuncture as an alternative treatment for substance abuse disorders,” said Pearson. “We know a lot of our clients got involved with opioids because they had chronic pain issues. Acupuncture can help treat both conditions, so it was an easy choice and SAMHSA approved the addition to the grant specifics.”

The grant also supports the work of SOS Recovery Services, which is a part of GSCH. Pearson said it will help fund things like recovery coach training.

“And people who are in our IOP (Intensive Outpatient program) will also be offered the acupuncture service,” said Pearson. “We are excited about this. Not many others are yet offering acupuncture for SUD treatment. Eventually we hope to add a physical therapist, but we have not hired one yet. We plan to track the outcomes to see how effective this new treatment will be.”

Nelson, LAC, RN, is a licensed Acupuncturist and a board-certified Diplomate of Acupuncture through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is a certified Acupuncture Detox Specialist through the National Acupuncture Detox Association. She has practiced acupuncture since 2004, including volunteering her skills to help victims of natural disasters and shootings.

The acupuncture service is currently only available for patients who also come to Goodwin Community Health or Families First for primary care and/or recovery services. Currently (for space reasons), the treatment is only offered at the Somersworth location (Goodwin), but it is open to Families First patients.

Families First’s New Doctor Speaks Four Languages

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By Liz Markhlevskaya, Patch Staff | 



PORTSMOUTH, NH — The Families First community health center in Portsmouth is welcoming Kasra Djalayer as its new primary care physician. Djalayer comes to Families First with 30 years of experience and education in medicine, including obesity medicine, geriatrics, rheumatology, clinical immunology and dementia. He has previously studied and worked in Spain, Quatar, United Kingdon and most of the states in New England.

Djalayer, who speaks four languages, came to Families First in November as a substitute physician before joining the organization on a permanent basis. He said he decided to make a commitment to Families First because of the “friendly, warm environment and the empathy I find among staff, as well as the opportunities for collaboration and co-production.”

Djalayer went to both business school and medical school. He said that in business school, he had learned that empathy, collaboration and co-production are what create the right environment for excellence.

“This is what I find at Families First — the right environment to take care of patients in the best manner,” he said.

Djalayer earned his medical degree from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1989. He completed a fellowship at the University of Vermont in rheumatology and clinical immunology, a residency with Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Connecticut, and a mini-fellowship in geriatric medicine at Stanford University. He has a postgraduate subspecialty diploma in rheumatology and clinical immunology from the University of South Wales, a subspecialty in obesity medicine from Harvard University, and a senior diplomate in disability medicine. In addition, Djalayer has an MBA and an Executive MBA from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, focused on international healthcare leadership management.

Djalayer is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and American Board of Obesity Medicine. He speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Families First is a community health center that provides general medical care for people of all ages and income levels, as well as dental care, prenatal care, parenting and family programs, and mobile health care for people who are homeless. Families First is part of Greater Seacoast Community Health, which also includes Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth and Lilac City Pediatrics in Rochester. 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.

Families First can be reached at 603-422-8208 or
By Liz Markhlevskaya, Patch Staff | 

SOS receives grant for technical assistance

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ROCHESTER – SOS Recovery Community Organization (SOS) has been named the recipient of one of the awards for the 2019 Capacity Building Opportunity Grant, an intensive technical assistance opportunity for peer-run, recovery community, family-run, and youth- and young adult-run organizations. This technical assistance opportunity is offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS).

This is the second consecutive year SOS has applied for and received the BRSS-TACS Capacity Building Opportunity Grant. The grant, which is not a monetary award, focuses on evidence-based technical assistance.

According to SOS Director John Burns, in 2018 SOS engaged in this technical assistance for building capacity around peer recovery support services for criminal justice programs and re-entry. SOS utilized that support and assistance to build a very successful program for criminal justice supports in Strafford County. The 2019 application was accepted to allow SOS to focus on workforce development through peer recovery support services.

“We are excited and honored to take part in this program.” There is a clear need to build workforce in NH and we know we have many participants in our program that are seeking a meaningful and productive career in the workforce, “says Burns. “We hope to use this to improve our programs and abilities to build recovery friendly workplaces and connect participants in our programs to employers and supports.”

The mission of SOS is to reduce stigma and harm associated with substance use 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 is a program of Greater Seacoast Community Health, a non-profit 501c3, federally qualified health centers made up of Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, Families First in Portsmouth, and Lilac Pediatrics in Rochester. Greater Seacoast Community Health has been consistently delivering affordable, high quality care and services for nearly 50 years in the Seacoast and Strafford County.

Family Morning Out Supports Parents, Kids

SOMERSWORTH — Kassandra St. Pierre was looking for an affordable way to kill some time on her day off from work with her 16-month-old daughter Jadalynn.

St. Pierre, who works in the cafeteria at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, found what she was looking for Friday morning, thanks to Greater Seacoast Community Health, which hosts a free weekly program for parents and young children called Somersworth Family Morning Out at the Flanagan Community Center.

“I say ‘play group’ and she’s at the front door, waiting for me to leave,” St. Pierre said of her daughter. “She’s at that door saying ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!’ She loves it. She hates to leave when it’s over.”

The program is designed for parents with small children (generally kindergarten age and younger) to socialize with each other while their children play in a supervised setting. For the children, toys and games are available, as are crafting materials. The group also spends time in the Flanagan Center Gymnasium, where they can play with balls and other games.

“I don’t know a lot of people who have kids her age, or anywhere near her age,” St. Pierre said. “It gets me out. I can talk to the other parents. We sit, chat and have fun while the kids are playing. Jadalynn gets to play with other kids.”

Ally Dillon, the evening childcare supervisor at Families First in Portsmouth (which last year merged with Goodwin Community Health to form Greater Seacoast Community Health), said that while the Family Morning Out program does not offer curriculum per se, it’s a good opportunity for parents to learn ways to find support.

“We can definitely provide materials for anything a parent might be going through,” Dillon said. “A sleeping issue, toileting, behavior, disciplining methods. We can offer any sort of advice. And it’s really fun.”

Johanna LaBarge of Rochester said she heard about Family Morning Out through word of mouth, and now regularly attends with her children Sofia, 3, and Maverick, 1.

“As a stay-at-home mom, it’s hard to find stuff to keep your kids busy, especially in the colder months,” LaBarge said. “Any event you can find where kids can interact and do things like this is really great.

“Anywhere there’s other kids around, that’s where they want to be,” she added.

The Family Morning Out is one of several new programs Greater Seacoast Community Health is bringing to Somersworth and other communities in Strafford County.

“Parenting is hard work; it’s nice to connect with other people and offer opportunities,” said Patrice Baker, parent program coordinator and home visitor with Families First. Free parenting education classes are held Thursday nights at Goodwin Community Health from 5:30 to 7. Childcare is available with advance sign up.

Baker said Families First will also host a 12-week program titled “Parenting Journey” through June 27. There is already a waiting list for the class, according to Baker.

“It provides a nurturing environment where parents are invited to reflect on their own experiences, what did and didn’t work with their own parents, what they want to keep and let go of,” Baker said. “It’s an opportunity for parents to confront issues, gain insights on their own lives and relationships, and work on behaviors that will promote positive relationships with kids.”

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Story by John Doyle
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