Lebanon, NH — On October 19, 2016, the Mascoma Valley Health Initiative (MVHI) became part of the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley. “This change makes the organization stronger and will help us fulfill our mission of making Upper Valley communities better and healthier places to live,” said Alice Ely, who now becomes the Executive Director of the Public Health Council, served as the Executive Director of MVHI and the Coordinator of the Public Health Council for the past six years.
“The Public Health Council is a truly innovative partnership that brings together leaders in public health, community organizations, and health care providers to forge solutions that require a broad and diverse coalition,” said Greg Norman Director of Community Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock. “I’m excited that this change will help them more effectively aid communities that we serve.” Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital have been instrumental is shaping and supporting this model of shared public health leadership and community health improvement.
Prior to this point, MVHI and the Public Health Council shared staff members and mission elements, but differed slightly in their areas of focus. The Public Health Council currently serves 12 communities in New Hampshire and 22 in Vermont. “People from Vermont who wanted to collaborate with us often wondered if they could take part given the New Hampshire focus of ‘Mascoma Valley,’” said Ely. “So, while the answer has always been a most definite ‘yes,’ we want to make it even clearer that we are serving the whole of the Upper Valley and both sides of the Connecticut River.”
MVHI started in 2001, serving five Mascoma Valley towns. When Alice Ely joined in 2010, the mission had already expanded greatly with new contracts, programs, and an extended service region of 13 towns, indicating a name change might be appropriate. “The Public Health Council and MVHI have played critical roles in improving the lives of our citizens, and I expect to see even more progress in the coming years as we continue to work together,” said Mike Samson, Town Administrator, Canaan, New Hampshire.
“The name ‘Public Health Council of the Upper Valley’ better describes what we are doing,” said Ely. “For members and potential partners, this clarifies who we serve, where we already have influence, and where we expect to have more of an influence in the future.”
While the name is changing, the Public Health Council will continue to support initiatives previously established under the MVHI umbrella including the Mascoma Valley Prevention Network and the popular Upper Valley Flu Immunization Clinics. The next meeting of the Public Health Council is Friday, October 20, 2016 from 9:00 to 11:00 am at Hypertherm, 71 Heater Road in Lebanon, New Hampshire.