THREE ADDICTION RECOVERY CENTERS EYED FOR COUNTY

A county-wide public health network has ambitious plans to open three drug-recovery centers. Now it’s just a matter of funding.

By John Doyle
jdoyle@fosters.com

Posted Feb. 17, 2016 at 4:55 PM

SOMERSWORTH — A county-wide public health network has ambitious plans to open three drug-recovery centers. Now it’s just a matter of funding.

The centers — targeted for Dover, Rochester and Durham — are estimated to cost around $100,000 each to operate, according to Liz Clark, community health improvement coordinator at Goodwin Community Health.

One major aspect of the Community Health Improvement Plan, recently released by the Strafford County Public Health Network, is to develop and open recovery centers in the three targeted locations to help deal with the addiction crisis in the region.

According to the plan, the recovery centers will serve as resource hubs and peer support for those seeking or sustaining pathways of recovery from addiction, as well as their families.

“On average, when you’re overdosing, you go to the emergency room,” said Melissa Silvie, director of public health and continuum of care coordinator at Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth. “You’re administered Narcan (a drug to treat narcotic overdose), given a resource guide and told ‘have a nice day.’ That’s how it goes. You come back and do it again and again,” Silvie said.

Silvie said those in the region struggling with drug addiction have no place to seek early-recovery support.

“We need a place, we need to offer multiple pathways to recovery,” Silvie said. “We can’t just say, ‘OK, you’ve overdosed, you want to get clean, but you can only do it this way.’ It’s just not the best way to go about it.”

The goal is to open a center in Rochester in 2016, then in Dover and Durham in subsequent years.

Clark said the hope is to move into an already existing building to keep costs down. “The idea is for them to be on Main Street, to be public,” Clark said. “Ideally you’d like to find something that’s donated, but that’s still in the works.”

Clark said about $10,000 has been raised so far through a variety of fundraisers and a small charitable grant. Other fundraisers are in the works for later in the year. The group has also applied for a community level block grant from the City of Rochester worth $137,000, which is pending approval.

Services to be offered include telephone support and one-on-one recovery coaching by trained and certified recovery coaches.

The plan also calls for an existing work group to develop a business plan and fundraising sustainability for the recovery community centers, develop key volunteer and peer supports to bolster capacity and work with existing family support groups to integrate caregiver resources.

Silvie said the centers will also provide a teen support group for young people who have parents struggling with addiction.

The strategy is designed to complement the health-improvement plan and bridge gaps in services among regional addiction treatment and recovery resources and to reduce the harmful stigma associated with past or present substance misuse, according to the plan.

To view this Fosters article: http://www.fosters.com/article/20160217/NEWS/160219428

STRAFFORD COUNTY RANKS LOW IN HEALTH

The Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council recently released a three-year Community Health Improvement Plan.

The Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council recently released a three-year Community Health Improvement Plan. From left are: Marc Hiller, UNH Department of Health Management and Policy; Betsey Andrews Parker, Community Action Partnership for Strafford County; Mary Ellen Gourdeau, American Ambulance/Ready Strafford; Mary Wilson, SAU 64 Milton; Anne Grassie, Rochester Child Care Center; Janet Laatsch, Goodwin Community Health; Dean LeMire, ONE Voice for Strafford County; Mollie Behan, Strafford County Public Health Network; Tracey Collins, Frisbie Memorial Hospital; Liz Clark, Strafford County Public Health Network; Michelle Hanson, Wentworth-Douglas Hospital; and Liz Durfee, Strafford Regional Planning Commission. Photo/Courtesy

By John Doyle

jdoyle@fosters.com

Posted Feb. 15, 2016 at 4:10 PM

Updated Feb 15, 2016 at 6:06 PM

SOMERSWORTH — Strafford County ranks eighth out of 10 New Hampshire counties for overall health outcomes, a statistic one advocacy group wants to change.

The Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council Network has released a three-year Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), a systematic, county-wide plan that summarizes the health of the county, assesses gaps and assets, and recommends evidence-based solutions to address the county’s most pressing public health issues.

“It’s the first-ever health improvement plan for Strafford County,” said Melissa Silvie, director of public health and continuum of care coordinator at Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth. The two hospitals in the county (Frisbie Memorial in Rochester and Wentworth-Douglass in Dover) each embark on a health-improvement plan every three years, but just in their own backyards. The new health improvement plan encompasses all 13 Strafford County communities and the University of New Hampshire to cover the entire region, Silvie said.

Strafford County is ranked behind Rockingham, which includes Portsmouth, Greenland, Hampton, New Castle and Newmarket. It is also ranked below Grafton, Merrimack, Belknap, Hillsborough, Cheshire and Carroll counties and ahead of Sullivan and Coös counties in overall health outcomes. The data represents how healthy counties are within the state. Strafford was ranked ninth in 2014.

Silvie said one reason for Strafford County’s overall health being among the worst in the state has to do with economic disparity.

“If you look at pockets of poverty in Strafford, it’s literally haves and have-nots,” Silvie said. “Farmington, Milton and Rochester are only 10 miles from Durham, Lee and Madbury, but there are social determinants — college degrees. It’s really that simple. Those are the kinds of things that affect public health.”

Other concerning Strafford County health findings include: a 31 percent adult-obesity rate; the highest rate for hospital admissions attributable to stroke; less than one-third of residents reporting being prepared for a wide-scale disaster or emergency; and a high overdose rate.

The plan will focus on five top priorities: substance misuse (prevention, treatment and recovery); mental health; obesity and nutrition; emergency preparedness; and heart disease and stroke. According to Silvie, substance misuse and emergency preparedness are two priorities mandated by the state, but it soon became apparent to the council that substance misuse was clearly a top priority regardless.

Each of the priority areas were assigned goals, objectives, measures and evidence based strategies that will be used as guidelines for area organizations and community stakeholders to improve health in the county. A few of the initiatives selected in the CHIP are already in the making, including creating a recovery community center for those suffering from addiction and strengthening coordination with hospitals and human service organizations to better align resources.

Silvie said New Hampshire is one of the healthiest states in the country, but ranks 49th out of 50 (ahead of Texas) in access to health treatment.

“In the 1980s, New Hampshire was hailed as one of the best states as far as mental-health services,” she said. “Now we’re one of the worst. We’ve systematically broken down systems in place for substance-abuse treatment.”

To successfully implement the CHIP, strategic initiatives have been outlined for each priority area. They can be viewed on the council’s website, www.scphn.org. For obesity and nutrition, initiatives include increasing access to free and low-cost physical-activity opportunities.

For heart disease and stroke, initiatives include implementing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Million Hearts” campaign to save one million lives in five years through heart-health education.

For substance misuse, initiatives include creating a recovery center that will house local resources for youth and adults in the county.

Link to access this Fosters article: http://www.fosters.com/article/20160215/NEWS/160219603/14436 

STRAFFORD COUNTY ROLLING OUT 3-YEAR COMMUNITY HEALTH IMPROVEMENT PLAN

phac2016SOMERSWORTH, February 3, 2016—The Strafford County Public Health Network has released a 3-year Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The CHIP is a systematic, county-wide plan that summarizes the health of the county, assesses gaps and assets, and recommends evidence based solutions to address the county’s most pressing public health issues.

The CHIP was driven by the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC) Network, comprised of over 165 local stakeholders, including medical, educational, government, law enforcement, and social service personnel. The PHAC Executive Board and Network met regularly over the past year and a half to prioritize the county’s most pressing health issues, and craft strategies to address these issues. In addition, the PHAC Executive Board, comprised of 18 high level subject matter experts, guided the creation of the CHIP and will be overseeing the implementation.

Strafford County currently ranks 8 out of 10 in the state for overall health outcomes, health behaviors and self-reported quality of life according to the 2015 County Health Rankings. Other concerning Strafford County health findings include a 31% adult obesity rate, the highest rate for hospital admissions attributable to stroke, less than 1/3 of residents report being prepared for a wide scale disaster or emergency, and has a high overdose rate, with 4 communities  making the top 10 for naloxone administration in the state.

The top 5 priority areas are Substance Misuse (Prevention, Treatment and Recovery), Mental Health, Obesity and Nutrition, Emergency Preparedness, and Heart Disease and Stroke. Each of these priority areas were assigned goals, objectives, measures and evidence based strategies, and is to be used as a guideline for organizations and community stakeholders in the area to improve the health in the county. A few of the initiatives selected  in the CHIP are already in the making including creating a recovery community center for those suffering from addiction, building a Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) coalition, and strengthening coordination with hospitals and human service organizations to better align resources.

To successfully implement the CHIP, continued collaboration among community organizations and stakeholders will be critical. To get involved and to view the full Community Health Improvement Plan visit scphn.org

About The Strafford County Public Health Network

The Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN) is part is one of thirteen regions in NH that strives to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life for all individuals in Strafford County. The SCPHN is an umbrella program that also includes ONE Voice for Strafford County, which is focused on substance misuse prevention, treatment and recovery, as well as Ready Strafford which is focused on emergency preparedness.  SCPHN works to align multiple public health priorities while developing an integrated system.  SCPHN is representative of Dover, Rochester, Durham, Somersworth, Barrington, Farmington, Milton, Lee, Strafford, New Durham, Rollinsford, Middleton, Madbury, and the University of New Hampshire. The Strafford County Public Health Network is located at Goodwin Community Health.  For more information or to get involved, please visit www.scphn.org under the contact us section.

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FARMERS MARKET BRIDGING THE HUNGER GAP

Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.
Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.

By Judi Currie
jcurrie@fosters.com

November 13. 2015 4:21PM

SOMERSWORTH – While living in a downtown area with a selection of restaurants and convenience stores works well for some, it can be a challenge when trying to feed a family on a budget.

Without transportation, even a vibrant downtown can become a food desert when it comes to accessing healthy affordable meals.

That is where the Somersworth Farmers Market comes in. Held every Thursday at Goodwin Community Health on Route 108, the market brought fresh food to a more accessible location.

Liz Clark, Somersworth Farmers Market Manager and Community Health Improvement Coordinator for Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN) said when the market wrapped up its first season at the end of September, it met its goal of improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food.

“One of the great things about the market is that we were bringing the fresh produce to an area with a bus stop right out front,” Clark said. “So that helped to increase healthy eating.”

This season, SNAP/EBT members accessed a total of $5,799 to spend at the farmers market, $4,531 of which was distributed as free incentives through programs like market match and close the gap.

SNAP is the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program where benefits are now accessed using an EBT card; which works like a debit card.

Through the partnership with Seacoast Eat Local, SNAP/EBT users could get a weekly market match of up to $10.

“If they spent $10 on their card, they received an additional $10 free to spend on fruits and vegetables each week at the market.” Clark said. “Additionally, they received $20 free to spend on food at the market during the last week of the month as part of a program called ‘Close the Gap.’”

Clark said Close the Gap aimed to bridge the gap between the time recipients ran out of benefits until the card was refilled at the beginning of the next month.

“For many, the benefit is not enough to cover what the average person needs for food,” Clark said.

The success of the market was made possible by financial support from the Public Health Network and Stonewall Kitchen, partnership with Seacoast Eat Local and many volunteers from Goodwin Community Health.

Clark said the WIC program, administered through Goodwin Community Health, really helped drive customers to the market by letting them know about the matching programs and how far their benefits would go.

“I was really excited when I heard we would be accepting SNAP/EBT, but seeing it happen at the market really put it in perspective for me how important it was.” Clark said. “On more than one occasion, I saw participants cry when the received the Close the Gap funds.”

The Somersworth Farmers Market is an initiative of the SCPHN and Goodwin Community Health to address the obesity/nutrition public health priority as identified by the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council.

The Somersworth Farmers Market is looking forward to bringing back the market next year from June through September. Clark said all of the vendors have already committed to return.

This Fosters article can be found at: http://fdweb.sx.atl.publicus.com/article/20151113/news/151119678

SOMERSWORTH FARMERS MARKET IMPROVING ACCESS TO FRESH PRODUCE AND HEALTHY FOOD

Somersworth Farmers MarketSOMERSWORTH, October 29, 2015 — The Somersworth Farmers Market wrapped up its first season on Thursday, September 24 and met its goal of improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food.

This season, SNAP/EBT members accessed a total of $5,799 to spend at the farmers market, $4,531 of which was distributed as free incentives through programs like market match and close the gap.

Through the partnership with Seacoast Eat Local the Somersworth Farmers Market provided SNAP/EBT users with a weekly market match of up to $10.  If a SNAP/EBT recipient spent $10 on their SNAP/EBT card they received an additional $10 free to spend on fruits and vegetables each week at the market. Additionally, all SNAP/EBT customers received $20 free to spend on food at the market during the last week of the month as part of a program called “Close the Gap.” Close The Gap aimed to bridge the gap between the time that SNAP/EBT recipients ran low or out of benefits, and when their EBT cards were refilled.

The Somersworth Farmers Market was an initiative of the Strafford County Public Health Network (SCPHN) and Goodwin Community Health to address the obesity/nutrition public health priority identified by the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council. Improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food were the goals of the Somersworth Farmers Market that completed its first season last month.

The success of the market was made possible by financial support from the Public Health Network and Stonewall Kitchen, partnership with Seacoast Eat Local and many volunteers from Goodwin Community Health.  Additionally, the WIC program administered through Goodwin Community Health made a significant impact on the success of this market by assisting us in outreaching to its service population of SNAP/EBT users.

Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.
Local farmers, volunteers and staff of the Strafford County Public Health Network gather to close out the inaugural season of the Somersworth Farmers Market.

“Making such a positive impact in our community during our inaugural season of this market is remarkable. The SNAP/EBT numbers truly reflect the need in the community and the success we had in reaching our goals of reducing disparities and increasing access to healthy food,” said Liz Clark, Somersworth Farmers Market Manager and Community Health Improvement Coordinator, Strafford County Public Health Network

The Somersworth Farmers Market is looking forward to bringing back the market next year from June through September.  More information can be found Goodwinch.org/community/farmers-market or on the Somersworth Farmers Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SomersworthFarmersMarket

More information about the Strafford County Public Health Network can be found at www.scphn.org

STONEWALL KITCHEN DONATES TO THE SOMERSWORTH FARMERS MARKET!

Posted Jul. 9, 2015 at 3:15 AM

SOMERSWORTH — Goodwin Community Health is pleased to announce that local specialty food manufacturer and retailer Stonewall Kitchen has generously donated $2,500 to sponsor The Somersworth Farmers Market.

The Market has partnered with Seacoast Eat Local to be able to accept SNAP/EBT cards. Through this partnership, a matching program is available every week to all SNAP recipients. The matching program doubles SNAP purchases dollar for dollar, for up to $10, allowing SNAP recipients to double their spending power.

Additionally, the Somersworth Farmer’s Market is also now participating in “Close the Gap.” Close The Gap aims to bridge the gap between the time that SNAP customers run low or out of benefits and when their EBT cards are refilled. All SNAP customers can attend the last market of the month and will receive $20 free to spend on food.

“We are thankful that the new Somersworth Market is off to a great start and attracting the support of a community leader like Stonewall Kitchen, and a partnership with an organization like Seacoast Eat Local” says Liz Clark, Somersworth Farmers Market manager. ”Together we are making an impact on creating more access to healthy, locally grown food.”

The Somersworth Farmers Market runs every Thursday through Sept. 24 from 3-6 p.m. at Goodwin Community Health, 311 Route 108 Somersworth.

For more information, please visit www.stonewallkitchen.com and www.seacoasteatlocal.org.

This Fosters article can be found at: http://www.fosters.com/article/20150709/NEWS/150709411/

SOMERSWORTH HAS FIRST FARMERS MARKET

Bringing healthy food to where it is needed most is one of the goals of the first Somersworth Farmers Market.

By Judi Currie
jcurrie@fosters.com

June 05. 2015 4:37PM

SOMERSWORTH — Bringing healthy food to where it is needed most is one of the goals of the first Somersworth Farmers Market.

Set up on the campus of Goodwin Community Health (GCH), organizers celebrated the new venture with a ribbon cutting on Thursday.

Each week vendors will be bringing fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and maple syrup to Somersworth.

Lara Willard, director of marketing and community relations at GCH, said it is their hope that the market will help with one of the program’s goals — reducing obesity in Strafford County.

“We have a couple of areas that are considered food deserts in Somersworth, where there’s a lack of access to fresh food,” Willard said. “So we’re trying to bring access to nutrition and healthy food.”

Liz Clark, public health prevention coordinator for GCH, manages the farmers market. She said a group of volunteers helped make the market a reality. “We figured this was a very good location right off Route 108, a bus stop right out front and it’s a high-traffic area,” Clark said.

Goodwin Community Health partnered with Strafford County Public Health Network to set up the farmers market.

An additional partnership with Seacoast Local allows people to use SNAP benefits. Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP benefits come in the form of debit cards to be used at stores.

Sherri Nixon of Seacoast Eat Local said they run a customer’s SNAP card and give them tokens to use at the market.

“We also give them a market match coupon for $10 good for fruits and vegetables,” Nixon said. “It not only allows them to use their benefit at the farmers market, it gives them an incentive to shop as well.”

Nixon said because products grown locally don’t spend hours in trucks, buying at the farmers market is good for both the local economy and the environment.

The SNAP match is also available at summer farmers markets in Dover, Durham, Portsmouth and Exeter, and winter markets in Rollinsford and Exeter.

Dan Comte, of the Root Seller Farm in Nottingham, had a wide variety of dried beans for sale.

“Our primary rotation in the fields is potatoes, beans and wheat,” Comte said. “We should have potatoes by the Fourth of July. In the gardens we have a handful of smaller seasonal vegetables.”

Deborah Sousane of Greenleaf Farms in Dover brought an assortment of fresh baby green and some starter plants of eggplant and tomato along with soaps and flowers.

Leaven Beer and Bread House of downtown Somersworth had a variety of breads and fresh-baked pretzels.

At the Family Busyness table, Patricia Gingrich showed off her handmade tea cozies, baby blankets, pillows and bibs.

Willow Creek Sugar House, LLC of East Kingston had a variety of maple products.

Marybeth Stocking and Jordan Pike of Two Toad Farm are in the eighth year as full-time farmers in Lebanon, Maine. They had a large selection of fresh vegetables and some seedlings.

Pike said he is excited to be a part of the farmers market and really likes Goodwin’s approach to healthcare.

“The fact that they want to do something like this matches well with what Two Toad Farm is all about: getting food to the people,” Pike said. “It’s important for people to have access to fresh local food and not just options that are trucked in from far away or processed.”

Sanborn Hope Farm offered pasture-raised pork and grass-fed beef. Located in Rochester, they are open weekends and also have chicken.

Other vendors included Pheasant Ridge Farm and Shady Mountain Farm.

Clark said Blueberry Hill Farm would join the market once the blueberry crop comes in.

Joseph Gelinas, shopping with his wife, Irene, said he was in GCH and saw a flier about the market and is really looking forward to having fresh, local produce all summer.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this in Somersworth. You could go to Dover, but why not Somersworth? We’re a city, too,” Gelinas said. “As the months go by they’ll have tomatoes and cucumbers and you know it is going to be fresh.”

Mary Moynihan, outreach and enrollment specialist for GCH, set up a table with information about health insurance. They provide assistance to people who want to sign up for either the Affordable Care Act or the NH Health Protection Program.

Mayor Dana Hilliard said he is filled with pride that the city has its first farmers market. “This is great for the community, it is great for the residents and a great day for Somersworth,” Hilliard said.

The Somersworth Farmers Market will be open every Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. now through Sept. 24.

This Fosters article can be found at: http://www.fosters.com/article/20150605/NEWS/150609577