NH DHHS - Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshops Being Offered to Public

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Celebrates National Public Health Week

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is offering workshops entitled “Better Choices, Better Health” to provide information to people with a chronic illness on how to improve their health and live better. DHHS recently received a federal grant to develop the program statewide. It was originally offered as the “Living Well” workshop at Memorial Hospital in North Conway. The Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services and the Division of Public Health Services are working together to implement the program statewide. Key partners are the Southern and Northern Area Health Education Centers and many aging services providers.

“Better Choices, Better Health” is a series of six interactive workshops for people living, with or caring for, someone with a chronic health condition. The program was originally developed by Stanford University as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) and has helped people across the country cope with challenges in their daily lives and improve their health. The workshops address ways to better manage one’s condition or illness, carry on daily activities, manage emotions, and communicate better with family, friends, and health care professionals.

“Hospitals and doctors saved my life, but the ‘Better Choices, Better Health’ workshops helped me to want to live again,” said Sue Lefave of North Conway. Sue Lefave was like many people living with chronic health conditions who feel overwhelmed by challenges they face in day-to-day life.

When she came to her first session of the workshop she remained sullen and silent, not believing there was hope for her. But as she listened to others in the class, she felt less alone. She began to share her story, develop self-confidence by accomplishing her goals, and take positive steps to improve her health.

“It is difficult enough to be sick, but to know that for the rest of your life you may be dealing with an illness can be extremely difficult physically, emotionally, and financially,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “This program offers support as well as practical steps to take to manage the day-to-day requirements of a chronic illness so we are very pleased to now be able to offer it across the State.”

Workshops are being held at locations such as senior centers, living facilities, and community health centers as well as local hospitals. There is a small charge or no fee to attend. To locate a workshop series near you, please contact the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) located closer to where you live:

Southern NH AHEC, Raymond
Northern NH AHEC, Littleton
Tracie Holmes
Francine Morgan
603-259-3700 ext. 232

These workshops are one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week in recognition of National Public Health Week; for more information go to www.nphw.org .