It’s Here! Upper Valley Project Funding to Address Health Inequities

Details about the Request for Proposals for the Upper Valley Community Health Equity Partnership available here.

The Upper Valley Community Health Equity Partnership  (UVCHEP) invites proposals from local entities in the White River Junction District of the VT Department of Health who seek to reduce health disparities the UVCHEP Steering Committee has described in the Problem Statement:

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and plus (LGBTQIA+) community members have higher levels of mental health challenges and substance use disorder, diagnosed and undiagnosed. These conditions are both caused by and contribute to isolation, other chronic health conditions, and not feeling safe.

We seek applications for projects that can be completed in the 7-month time frame of this grant period, ending May 31, 2023, and that address the Root Causes of the health disparities mentioned above. We will award grants ranging from $5,000 to $28,000 and have a total pool of $150,000.

Application Materials:

Request for Proposals Packet: Includes explanation of grant purpose, eligibility, process and opportunities for Technical Assistance with the application.

Application Template:  Word Document that can be used to complete and submit the application. This is one option for submission. See RFP Packet for other options.

Budget Template [Excel] [PDF]: Please download this spreadsheet and use to complete a project budget.

Application Timeline:

Monday, October 3, 2022                Release of Request for Proposals

Monday, October 24, 2022              Completed applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm

Thursday, November 3, 2022          Applicants will be notified of funding decisions

More Equitable Grantmaking:

Our goal is to reduce the barriers that traditionally prevent groups and organizations most closely connected to the people who experience health disparities from getting funding and other resources to address health disparities in their own communities.

How is this application process more equitable and accessible?

  1. Eligibility requirements have been set to create as few barriers as possible for informal, small, and new entities to apply.
  2. We will accept applications in several different formats.
  3. The application is intended to be short and simple. We estimate it will take about 2 to 4 hours to complete once you have developed a clear idea of what you want to propose.
  4. We will provide several options to learn more about the application and get your questions answered. This will include live Webinars with recordings available online and “Office Hours” with our Equity Facilitator.
  5. If you need support completing the application, someone from the Steering Committee can help you.
  6. While the grant program is based on reimbursing grantees for actual expenses, and not providing grant funds at the beginning of the award, the Public Health Council (PHC) will provide up to 10% of the total award to grantees at the beginning of the award. PHC will also work with grantees on a case-by-case basis to address cash flow concerns for large grant expenses.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible Applicants are those who can demonstrate a clear and convincing plan to address concerns raised in the Problem Statement above, especially with projects that address one or more of the identified Root Causes.

  • Individuals
  • Grassroots Organizations (If you need a Fiscal Sponsor, we will help you find one.)
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Businesses
  • Federally (and non-federally)recognized Native American Indian tribes and Alaska Native entities
  • Governmental Entities
  • Funding can support organization(s) not located in VT, as long as they serve people in the White River Junction District of Vermontand can demonstrate ability to address the Problem Statement.

How can we learn more?

RFP Webinar Series: Join us live on Zoom for a walk through of the RFP or view recordings of the webinars, which will be posted to the Public Health Council’s Health Equity RFP Information Page within 24 hours of the Webinar.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022                          Health Equity Grant Purpose & Eligibility Requirements
6:30 to 7:30 pm                                            Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86532599451

Thursday, October 6, 2022                        Health Equity Grant: Completing the Application
6:30 to 7:30 pm                                            Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82085927847

Tuesday, October 11, 2022                       Health Equity Grant: Developing a Budget
6:30 to 7:30 pm                                           Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86504574058

Community Project Funding Drop-In Office Hours: To provide as much flexibility as possible, we are offering a number of opportunities for applications to connect with Tony Strat via Zoom. Tony will respond to questions about the application and provide as much assistance as possible. No reservation is needed. Just use the link provided during the times listed below. You do not need to stay online for the entire period. Be aware that these are not private meeting times and there may be other people waiting with questions, too. You may have the benefit of hearing a number of questions and responses you have not thought of yourself.

LINK (ALL): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85250309174

Friday, October 7, 8:00 to 10:00 am

Sunday, October 9, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Friday, October 14, 8:00 to 10:00 am

Sunday, October 16, 2:00 to 4:00 pm

Tuesday, October 18, 6:00 to 7:00 pm

Questions: Contact Tony Strat-Cortez

Please note that we may find it necessary or beneficial to post corrections, clarifications, or responses to frequently asked questions. These updates will be posted on this webpage, so please check the page periodically to ensure you have the most up to date information.

2022 Community Flu Vaccine Clinics

Each fall, partner organizations across the Upper Valley come together to provide seasonal flu vaccine to our community members. This year is no exception.

While the COVID-19 pandemic still impacts our communities, protecting people from seasonal flu illness is very important. Many experts predict we will see significant flu transmission this season.

There are numerous options for vaccination. Please use the information below to find the right vaccine option for you and your family.

This list DOES NOT include school-based seasonal flu vaccine clinics offered in many of our New Hampshire schools. This is because these clinics are reserved only for students of those schools. If your child has the opportunity to get a vaccine in one of these school-based clinics, we encourage you to sign them up.

Public Health Council & Dartmouth Hitchcock Hosts Series of Community Flu Clinics

Starting on Saturday, October 1, the Public Health Council, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Geisel School of Medicine and other partners will host free seasonal flu vaccine clinics in communities around our region. Clinic details are below:

Geisel Medical Students providing flu vaccine in Bradford, VT, October 2021. Photo credits to Bill Secord.

Saturday, October 1
10 am to 1 pm
Plainfield Elementary School, 92 Bonner Road, Meriden, NH
Walk-In, No Reservation Required, Free, See other guidance below.

Thursday, October 13
3 to 6 pm
La Salette Shrine, Rte 4a, Enfield, NH
Drive Thru, No Reservation Required, Free, See other guidance below.

Saturday, October 15
10 am to 1 pm
Orford Congregational Church, 617 NH Rte 10, Orford, NH
Walk-In, No Reservation Required, Free, See other guidance below.

Wednesday, October 19
3:30 to 6 pm
Oxbow High School, 36 Oxbow Drive, Bradford, VT
Drive Thru, No Reservation Required, Free, See other guidance below.

Friday, October 28
4 to 7 pm
Mascoma Community Health Center, 18 Roberts Road, Canaan, NH
Walk-In, No Reservation Required, Free, See other guidance below.

PHC Vaccination Clinic Guidance
  • Offering regular dose vaccine and enhanced vaccine for people 65+. We will NOT be offering COVID-19 vaccines at these clinics.
  • Please practice social distancing for both drive thru and walk-in clinics.
  • Everyone will be required to wear a mask. A mask will be provided for you if you do not have one.
  • Please do not come if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Please do not arrive more than 15 minutes prior to the start of the clinic.

Other Flu Vaccine Options in the Upper Valley

Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth-Hitchcock will also be offering numerous flu vaccine clinic options for Dartmouth Health patients at various locations at the Medical Center this year. Please go to their Lebanon Flu Clinic Schedule webpage for details. Many of these clinics are drive thru and a few are walk-in. Reservations are required. If you are a DHMC patient and use myD-H.org to make an appointment. If you do not use myD-H, you may call the Flu Hotline at 603-653-3731.

When you schedule your appointment, please have your insurance card ready. If you carry health care insurance, we will bill your carrier at no cost to you. For individuals who do not have any health insurance, we will be providing flu vaccines free of charge. Please contact the Flu Hotline for more information.

Visiting Nurse and Hospice for VT and NH

Tuesday, October 11
9 am to 2 pm
Thompson Senior Center, 99 Senior Lane, Woodstock
Walk-in clinics open to people age 18 and older. Limited number of enhanced doses available.

Tuesday, October 18
9 am to 2 pm
Bugbee Senior Center, 262 N. Main Street, White River Junction
Walk-in clinics open to people age 18 and older. Limited number of enhanced doses available.

Friday, October 28
9 am to 2 pm
Grantham Town Hall, 300 NH Rte 10, Grantham
Walk-in clinics open to people age 18 and older. Limited number of enhanced doses available.

Valley News

Many of these clinics will be posted to the Valley News Calendar, available online and in the print edition.

We wish all our Upper Valley neighbors a healthy and safe fall and winter!

On suicide: It’s no longer an unspeakable word

In NH, call/text the Rapid Response Access Point at 833-710-6477 or online chat at NH988.com if you or someone you know is considering suicide. In VT, text “VT” to 741741, or call 988. Nationally, call 988, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

By Dave Celone, New Hampshire Bulletin, September 2, 2022

Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in America. Suicide is highest among white males, followed by Native Americans, followed by black males. A suicide occurs about every 11.5 minutes. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death globally for people 15 – 24 years old.

I just used the word “suicide” 4 times in the above 4 sentences. How did that feel to you? Not so bad, I suspect. You can do it, too.

I mention this to underscore the point that talking about suicide with anyone, regardless of their age, is okay. And it’s even more okay if you think they may be considering suicide. It does not increase the risk of suicide.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, so you’ll hear more about this in the media. Suicide is preventable, and I hope what you read in September will inspire you to talk about suicide in terms that are candid, positive, and helpful to others in the throes of a crisis. Aside from awareness, what’s your role? Here are 5 steps to take if you think someone you know is considering suicide:

  1. Ask the question, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” This will not increase the risk of suicide, it will lead to the next step. Other good questions are, “How do you hurt?” and “How can I help?” (And if you are considering suicide, reach out to a friend and let them know, with these 5 steps in hand for them to read.)
  2. Be there. Be present. Stay with the person. Being there for someone increases their connectedness and limits their isolation. These have been shown to be protective factors in decreasing suicide risk.
  3. Keep them safe. Find out more. Does the person have a plan to kill themself? What is that plan? Have they attempted suicide before? Have they experimented with it? What is their timing? Remove lethal weapons or objects to distance them from their chosen method.
  4. Help them connect. Call a crisis line so they can speak with a trained crisis clinician. In NH, call or text the NH Rapid Response Access Point at 833-710-6477, or chat online at com. This will ensure a local NH mobile crisis in-person response when needed. In VT text “VT” to 741741 or call 988, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Nationally, outside NH & VT, call 988.
  5. Follow up. After the fact, call, text, visit, email, find them on social media and ask how they’re doing. Leave a message if they don’t answer the phone. Tell them you care. Supportive, ongoing contact is an important part of suicide prevention.

What are ways to prevent suicide from creeping into your psyche? Maintain meaningful social connections. Make plans with a friend. Start a hobby like woodworking, sewing, painting, or whatever you like to do—if you can do it with others, even better. Exercise! Any kind of exercise will do, even if it’s sitting in a chair and rotating your arms. Walking is a wonderful, and underrated exercise, whether you do it indoors or out. Practice mindfulness or meditation. Become a mentor. Volunteer—getting active in your community will help you develop relationships with others. Which brings us back to the beginning of maintaining meaningful social connections. And, above all, ask for help whenever you need it.

Going a bit deeper, a friend of mine suggests that there must be some evolutionary reason for suicide. I’m not so sure there is, but I’m always willing to listen and consider. He tells me suicide is about ending suffering. I won’t disagree, but I’ll counter because I know there are many ways to end suffering. While suicide may be one option, it’s within our power to prevent it so a person in the throes of a crisis can see other ways out. Helping a person believe these other options exist is the goal. That there are people who love them. That there are things they enjoy doing. That their cat or dog needs them. That a tree is beautiful and worth visiting in the autumn when its colors are ablaze. That a breeze feels nice on their cheek. That any child would appreciate their smile today and tomorrow. That living is a choice that can be made.

Talk openly about suicide. That’s the place to start. Then, let’s offer up choices. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

Dave Celone lives in Sharon, VT where a walk in the woods brings him joy, wonder, and an appreciation for the beauty of our natural world. He works for West Central Behavioral Health, the community behavioral health center for lower Grafton County and Sullivan County with offices in Claremont, Lebanon, and Newport, NH.

Reposted from NH Bulletin on September 2, 2022.

New Children’s Book Helps Parents and Children Learn How to Prevent Lead Poisoning

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced the release of Happy, Healthy, Lead-Free Me!, a new children’s book aimed at engaging children and educating parents on lead poisoning prevention and the importance of pediatric lead level testing.

The book, developed by the Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) with clinical collaboration from NH Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (NH AAP), is currently available at many pediatric health care provider offices and is available for free download at https://leadfreekidsnh.org/happy-healthy-lead-free-me-resources/.

The Public Health Council has copies of the book available for free for partners able to distribute the book to families in our area. Please reach out to alice.ely@uvpublichealth.org to request copies of the book.

“We wanted to create something that would resonate with parents and children,” said Gail Gettens, coauthor and Child Development Specialist and Health Promotion Advisor in the DPHS Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. “The illustrations and rhymes engage children and the parents section provides additional details about lead exposure prevention and the importance of pediatric blood lead-level testing.”

“As New Hampshire has some of the oldest homes in America, many still have lead paint,” Knatalie Vetter, coauthor and Environmental Supervisor of the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, stated. “On average, 55% of New Hampshire homes were built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978, and, in some communities, that percentage is as high as 83%. This underscores the importance of getting your child’s lead-level tested at both the 12 and 24 month well-child check visits.

Early blood lead testing is critical. NH’s pediatric lead level testing rates dropped 14% during 2020, due to COVID pandemic, meaning that 3108 fewer children in NH were tested for lead levels in 2020, than the year prior, 2019.

Pediatric health care providers and other agencies interested in ordering free copies of Happy, Healthy, Lead-Free Me! may contact Gail Gettens at Gail.C.Gettens@dhhs.nh.gov, or visit www.happyhealthyleadfree.me to download a free copy, available in 7 different languages.

For a printable postcard highlighting the book, go to https://leadfreekidsnh.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Post-card-board-book-FINAL.pdf.

PHC Approves New Strategic Plan

The Public Health Council of the Upper Valley serves 13 communities in New Hampshire and 22 communities in VermontIn November 2021, the Public Health Council approved a new PHC Strategic Plan to guide our organization between 2022 and 2025. As we move into 2022, the Board and Staff are working hard to implement the plan and look for new ways to engage our many partners as we grow to meet their needs. Please read on to learn more about our goals and strategies. Please reach out to Alice Ely at alice.ely@uvpublichealth.org if you are interested in supporting our organization my joining our Board of Directors, becoming involved in priority work or special projects, and providing financial support.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Public Health Council of the Upper Valley (PHC) is a regional public health coalition that brings together a diverse group of stakeholders (e.g. health care providers, community-based organizations, municipalities, human service agencies, businesses) to identify and address issues in Upper Valley cities and towns through multi-sector engagement and collaboration. The PHC serves the 12 municipalities of New Hampshire’s Upper Valley Regional Public Health Network and 22 Vermont municipalities, as shown in the map above.

Every few years the PHC looks internally to assess operations and programming to ensure alignment with partner needs within the current public health landscape. While the COVID-19 pandemic required a shift in strategy to meet the immediate needs of neighbors and partners, it also gave the PHC an opportunity to leverage its strengths and highlight where the coalition provides value to the region.

During summer and fall of 2021, the PHC engaged in a strategic planning process with 60+ coalition members, including PHC leadership, to identify operational priorities and common objectives for the coalition over the next 3-5 years. The PHC used this process to reflect on its value-add and ability to pivot during the pandemic despite limited staff capacity and financial resources.

Out of this planning process came four strategic goals to help direct the PHC over the next 3-5 years:

Goal 1:  Increase the capacity of PHC staff to maintain the current level of activities while growing the ability to respond to emerging public health opportunities and partner needs.

Goal 2:  Identify new sources of funding for the PHC to ensure short and long-term sustainability and support its growth among traditional and non-traditional sectors.

Goal 3:  Engage PHC leadership in advancing the work of the organization within the region to increase visibility among peers, identify strategic partners and recruit additional Board members.

Goal 4:  Enhance PHC’s visibility and influence in the region through increased messaging of success stories and system level change.

The Public Health Council Board of Directors and staff look forward to working with all our partners and stakeholders over the next 3-5 years to ensure our organization’s sustainability and contribution to the Upper Valley.

Click here to view the full Strategic Plan: PHC Strategic Plan 2022 to 2025