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Entries in Grants (58)


Plan4Health - Five Nashua Neighborhoods Identified as "Stressful" for Bicyclists 

'Level of Traffic Stress' Data Used To Analyze Nashua's Streets
Five Neighborhoods Identified As "Stressful" for Bicyclists
 CONCORD, NH (September 23, 2015) - The Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) has been testing the City's streets for bicycle-friendliness over the past few months as part of the Plan4Health Nashua "Complete Streets" project. The NRPC analysis identified five areas within the City - including the Tree Streets and French Hill neighborhoods - that have high Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) scores, indicating they are less bicycle-friendly. These five neighborhoods represent 50% of the Nashua population, and include areas with the greatest social, economic, and environmental disparities according to U.S. Census Bureau data. 

Map of Nashua with LTS data overlay. Areas in orange and red indicate higher levels of traffic stress for bicyclists.
"What this project is trying to do is look at the level of traffic stress and answer questions such as where are people going, where do they want to go, how stressful is it, and what strategic, low-cost improvements can be made to make walking and bicycling less stressful," said Nicholas Coates, active living coordinator of HEAL NH, an initiative of the Foundation for Healthy Communities in Concord, NH. 

LTS looks at how stressed people might feel on the road when riding a bicycle versus Level of Service, the traditional evaluation approach which focuses on moving vehicles efficiently. Several criteria are taken into consideration when calculating the LTS score, including the presence of a bike lane, street and shoulder width, traffic signals, if there is a median or pedestrian island in a cross street, speed limit, and on-street parking.

The method was first used last year in New Hampshire as part of a New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) pilot project. For the Plan4Health Nashua project, an LTS score was given to every segment (i.e., street or road), approach, and intersection in Nashua to help determine how easy or difficult it is for bicyclists to get around the City.
In addition to the quantifiable data the LTS methodology provide, scores can be adjusted for other variables that commonly affect a bicyclist's comfort level, including lighting and overall feeling of safety, pavement conditions, steep hills, and traffic volumes. 
Coates said the team is now working with NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire to bring the maps to the residents and businesses of the five neighborhoods to see if the LTS data matches the public sentiment regarding stressful areas.
"These stressful street crossings around the City are barriers to people choosing to walk or bicycle to get around," Coates said. "Broken links to the City's active transportation networks can make neighborhoods feel like isolated islands and prohibit people from being more physically active."

This project is part of a growing "Complete Streets" movement that is gaining traction around the country. More than 700 U.S. towns, cities, counties, regions, and states have made official commitments to Complete Streets policies. Four New Hampshire communities have adopted Complete Streets: Concord, Dover, Keene, and Portsmouth.

NRPC will be conducting a similar study for walkability over the next few months. Once completed, the bikeability and walkability data will be used to develop a guidebook to help inform future planning in Nashua.  
About Plan4Health Nashua
Plan4Health Nashua began in early 2015 with a $125,000 grant from the American Planning Association to support active transportation in Nashua. The goal of the project is to advance street planning and design that support safer and easier ways to get around for pedestrians and bicyclists.The project is supported by the Greater Nashua Public Health Advisory Council, and was selected as a priority project for implementation in Nashua's 2015 Community Health Improvement Plan. Plan4Health Nashua is a collaboration between planning and public health professionals, including the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, the City of Nashua, New Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), and Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH).

NHProviders - March of Dimes New England awards grant for trainings on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders 

Concord, NH The NH Alcohol and other Drug Service Providers Association has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the March of Dimes New England Chapter to conduct trainings for prenatal care providers in an effort to reduce fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. According to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NO FAS), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) affects 1 in 100 live births or as many as 40,000 infants each year. That is more than Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy combined

The NH Providers Association represents a network of substance use disorder service organizations and professionals. In recent years, the organization has seen an immense need to ensure adequate substance use prevention education across disciplines in the healthcare sector.  The NH Providers Association will be working with the NH chapter of NO FAS to conduct trainings for prenatal care providers related to prevention of FASD’s and intervention for at-risk patients. “This project is the first of its kind in New Hampshire and we are eager to begin working towards developing a long standing relationship between prenatal care providers and the substance use disorder experts in their communities,” said Abby Shockley, Executive Director of the NH Providers Association.

Andrea Mächt, NO FAS NH Board of Directors Chair, shares “a primary mission of NO FAS NH is that we strive to support a workforce trained and able to act on their understanding of the effects of prenatal alcohol use with the people they serve.  Women throughout New Hampshire rely on and trust the advice of providers, it is imperative that this advice is accurate and consistent especially regarding the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy. We are very pleased to be working collaboratively with NH Providers to provide these trainings.”

Pregnancy is a moment in a woman’s life when behavior change is most likely. Most medical schools don’t spend much time, if at all, talking about FASD’s and with New Hampshire’s high rates of alcohol and drug use, it is imperative that pregnant women be screened for alcohol use during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “there is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink and no safe kind of alcohol.”

This is the first time that a project of this nature has existed in New Hampshire and the NH Providers Association is hopeful that this will be a model for future projects for additional training opportunities for the medical profession that address illicit drug use during pregnancy.

The one year project begins implementation in February and includes in-person trainings, online education components and dissemination of educational materials for offices and patient education packets.


PSU Receives $2.2 Million in Grants to Train Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors Federal Funding Aimed at Helping Teens and At Risk Youth 

PSU Receives $2.2 Million in Grants to Train Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselors Federal Funding Aimed at Helping Teens and At Risk Youth

PLYMOUTH, N.H.– Plymouth State University is taking the lead on combatting mental health and substance abuse problems throughout New Hampshire with the help of $2.2 million in federal grants. The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) allows the University's professional counseling and school psychology program to recruit more students by offering them stipends during their internships, which increases the number of student interns providing mental health and substance abuse services to children, adolescents and transitional-age individuals.
“According to the state Department of Education, there is a critical need in New Hampshire for trained school counselors and school psychologists,” said Gary Goodnough, who chairs PSU’s Counselor Education and School Psychology program. “It’s very hard for our students to work without pay in their internships while at the same time paying tuition. These grants allow us to support them while they are attaining this important degree.”
This HRSA grant initiative was created in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting to provide better-trained school professionals to identify and treat troubled students. These grants will allow PSU to offer stipends to more than 100 master’s-level interns in school psychology, school counseling, and clinical mental health counseling who work between 600 and 1,200 hours. Currently, students in these programs receive no stipend during their internships, while paying up to $7,000 for school credits while having little free time for a part-time job.
“It’s a huge deal for me and my family,” said PSU graduate student Emily Russell, a school psychology intern at Lisbon High School. “I’m married, we have two little kids, and my husband is now the only one working–so to take a full year off to do this internship when there’s no way to work a part-time job, and still have to pay for classes, this is a fairly significant turnaround for us.”
“In addition to the financial support provided for student internships, this funding will be transformational; allowing us to deepen our relationships with schools, mental health organizations and other external partners in an effort to ensure that children, adolescents and young adults in New Hampshire have better access to critical mental health services,” said Gail Mears, Dean of PSU’s College of Education, Health and Human Services. “Being selected as grant recipients is a testimony to the excellence of our Counseling and School Psychology programs. We are deeply honored to be recognized in this way!”
The University will use the funding to focus on prevention and clinical intervention and treatment for at-risk youth and their families and put a special emphasis on meeting the needs of “transitional-age” persons ages 16 to 25 who are at risk for mental illness, substance abuse and suicide, and the least likely to seek continuous help. According to figures compiled in the past two years by the NH Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated one in five people ages five to 19 in New Hampshire has a diagnosable mental health disorder, while the same age group has some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug use in the country. This funding will facilitate inter-professional collaboration with a local primary care health center and school, community mental health centers, and law enforcement with the primary goal of nurturing safe communities. The grant writer, PSU Associate Professor of Counselor Education and School Psychology Cindy Waltman, said the funding would positively transform students’ lives, and that will be reflected in New Hampshire’s schools.
“We want to make a difference in New Hampshire,” Waltman said. “School districts have a real need for school psychologists and counselors, but there aren’t enough qualified candidates.”
The $2.2 million awarded to PSU are among the largest social sciences grants ever awarded to a USNH school; Goodnough believes PSU will see an influx of students who aspire to be school psychologists and counselors, but could not afford the program without a stipend.
“We know that mental health and substance abuse issues can create problems anywhere, even New Hampshire,” said Goodnough. “It’s been hard for our students to endure the financial hardship to become trained counselors and school psychologists, so this grant is very exciting.”


NH DHHS - New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories Receive Biomonitoring Grant from CDC

Concord, NH - New Hampshire is one of six states recently awarded a

Biomonitoring grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC). The award, which is funded for 5 years, provides $

815,909 in year one to establish and expand biomonitoring capacity in the

state public health laboratory, as part of an on-going effort by CDC.

Biomonitoring is the direct measurement of environmental chemicals in

people’s blood and urine, indicating the amount of chemical that actually

enters the body from all environmental sources.

The CDC State Biomonitoring Cooperative Agreement serves to increase the

capability and capacity of states to conduct biomonitoring and surveillance

to assess human exposure to environmental chemicals. Biomonitoring provides

human exposure data that can assist in making important public health

decisions. Better exposure information helps identify at-risk population

groups and assess the effectiveness of interventions.

“This is a great opportunity for the Public Health Laboratories to help

determine if New Hampshire residents are being exposed to selected

contaminants in the environment and work with partners toward plans for

alleviating these pathways in the future,” said Dr. Christine Bean,

Director of the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories (NH PHL). “I am

proud of the work the laboratorians do here every day and that we were one

of only six states to receive this grant.”

NH PHL will use the funding to purchase laboratory equipment and supplies,

hire and train toxicologists and epidemiologists, and conduct both targeted

and surveillance investigations. Toxicologists will conduct the laboratory

analysis and epidemiologists will work to determine exposure risks of New

Hampshire residents. CDC program staff will provide technical support and

training for the state program.

The NH PHL will begin working on an arsenic and uranium project analyzing

urine and water samples from individuals reliant on private bedrock wells

for drinking water. Residents of selected high-risk communities, as

determined by local geology, will be invited to participate in this

important public health study. Arsenic speciation, which is used to

identify which form of arsenic is present, will be conducted on urine

specimens with elevated total arsenic.

In future years of the project, the PHL will initiate a state-wide

Surveillance Biomonitoring effort, testing blood and urine for chemicals of

concern in New Hampshire. The data from these analyses will be useful in

determining state-specific background levels of contaminants, identifying

emerging concerns, prioritizing resources, and evaluating public health

interventions. Biomonitoring data from New Hampshire will help inform the

Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services

in implementation of multiple priority areas in the New Hampshire State

Health Improvement Plan,


NH DHHS - As Part of Achieving Million Hearts Initiative, DHHS Receives Grant from  ASTHO

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Service

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services, in partnership with the

University of New Hampshire, Institute of Health Policy and Practice,

applied for and was one of nine states to receive a grant from the

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to

participate in the Million Hearts Learning Collaborative. Through this

initiative, ASTHO supports states in utilizing a Quality Improvement (QI)

process to collaborate with clinical, community, and public health partners

to implement best practices and proven policies that identify, control, and

improve rates of high blood pressure with the aim of achieving the Million

Hearts goal.

Other partners include Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock–Keene,

Lamprey Health Clinic–Nashua, and the Manchester Community Health Center.

For this proposal, New Hampshire focused its blood pressure control

initiatives around developing and using patient registries and to look at

opportunities to engage patients in managing their condition. NH used the

Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock model that showed demonstrated

results in BP control

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us and our partnering healthcare

organizations,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS.

“High blood pressure is sort of a precursor to future problems, it is all

too common, and there are simple steps we should all take to help keep our

blood pressure under control, including eating a healthy diet, exercising,

and limiting salt intake.”

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in New Hampshire and

stroke is the fifth leading cause. The Million Hearts™ is a national

initiative launched in September 2011 to prevent one million heart attacks

and strokes over the next five years. The Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are

the co-leaders of Million Hearts™ within the U.S. Department of Health and

Human Services, working alongside other federal agencies including the

National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and

Quality, and the Food and Drug Administration. The American Heart

Association is one of many key private-sector partners.

Million Hearts brings together a wide range of heart disease and stroke

prevention program policies and activities to raise awareness among health

care providers, private-sector organizations, policymakers, and consumers

about what can be done to prevent heart disease and stroke and help

Americans live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

Americans can take steps to help achieve the Million Hearts™ goal by taking

steps towards a healthier life. These include:

Maintain a normal weight

Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days

Limit alcohol intake

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables

Avoid tobacco and

Reduce salt

Know your ABCS:

8 Aspirin – talk to a healthcare provider about whether you should

take aspirin

8 Blood Pressure – have your blood pressure checked, talk to a

healthcare provider re: how often

8 Cholesterol – have your cholesterol levels checked

8 Smoking Cessation

For more information about the Million Hearts initiative, visit  To contact the Heart Disease and Stroke

Prevention Program at DHHS call 1-800-852-3345. For more information about

quitting smoking, eating healthier, and exercising more, visit the DHHS

website at  or the CDC website at