Press Releases

 

Entries in NH DHHS (667)

Thursday
Mar262015

NH DHHS - Rockingham County and Grafton Counties Rank Healthiest in the State in Annual Report

Steps New Hampshire Is Taking to Address the Issues



Concord, NH – Rockingham County is joined by Grafton County this year as

the healthiest counties in New Hampshire in the sixth annual County Health

Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and

the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). Coos and

Sullivan Counties ranked the lowest for Health Outcomes, which measures how

healthy a county is, and Health Factors, which look at the influence on

health in any given county.



The Rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org , include a

snapshot of each county in New Hampshire with a color-coded map comparing

each county’s overall health ranking. Researchers looked at the length and

quality of life to determine Health Outcomes. Health Factors include

measures of health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors,

and physical environment.



Since 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has provided

funding to 13 agencies across the State to convene a Public Health Advisory

Council. The purpose of these Advisory Councils is to develop and implement

a range of public health improvement activities. Advisory committees are

made up of community leaders, local health and public health entities,

concerned citizens, and experts who make up the public health system in

their region. The first step toward improving the health of a community is

to utilize data, such as the County Health Rankings, to develop a common

understanding about the most important health needs across the State.



Each of the Advisory Councils is currently developing a Community Health

Improvement Plan (CHIP). The CHIP process allows community partners to work

to improve health in their region by establishing common health priorities.

Once priorities are established, the Advisory Councils will identify

specific strategies to implement while engaging local agencies to work

collaboratively to implement these strategies. County Health Rankings are

part of the data that helps illustrate key health issues and their root

causes as the Advisory Councils are assessing the health of their region.



“Having Community Health Improvement Plans in place in each of our 13

public health regions will help to ensure a coordinated, collaborative

approach among local agencies whose work impacts the health of the public,”

said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “This increases

the effectiveness of their efforts to target a few key areas based on local

priorities and the capacity to take action. These plans will also align

with the priorities established in the State Health Improvement Plan so

that both state and local partners are addressing those areas where we can

most improve the health of our communities.”



More information about the Public Health Advisory Councils, including a

list of contacts in each region, visit

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/rphn/index.htm. For more information about the

DHHS Division of Public Health Services, visit www.dhhs.nh.gov .

Thursday
Mar262015

NH DHHS - NH Immunization Program Hosts National Immunization Experts 

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services,

Immunization Program (NHIP) held its 2015 statewide conference at the

Radisson Hotel in Manchester today with over 400 nurses, health educators,

and public health professionals in attendance. A keynote speech was given

by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Deputy Director of the National Center for

Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDC).



For several years New Hampshire’s childhood immunization rates have been

ranked among the top in the nation. Each year, NHIP recognizes New

Hampshire provider offices that achieve a standard of excellence in

immunization. Each provider office relied on a “Best Practice” or a

quality improvement strategy to offer excellent care to their patients.

DHHS Public Health Director, Dr. José Montero, presented four Excellence in

Immunization awards in two categories: (1) Excellence in Vaccines for

Children Program and (2) Excellence in Adult Vaccination Initiatives.



“New Hampshire health care providers and community programs are committed

to making sure their patients receive the appropriate immunizations to

achieve better overall health,” said Colleen Haggerty, Acting Section Chief

of NHIP. “This group of individuals and organizations developed quality

improvement strategies to ensure high standards of efficiency,

accountability, and access in managing immunizations across their

practices.”



The Concord Hospital Medical Group was given the Excellence in Vaccines for

Children Program award for their Vaccine Safety Committee’s quality

improvement efforts to address vaccine administration and safety. “Concord

Hospital Medical Group is honored to receive this recognition,” said David

Green, MD, Concord Hospital's Chief Medical Officer. “It is a tribute to

our staff’s passion to ensure our pediatric patients receive appropriate,

evidence-based immunizations in diverse office settings.”



Three Manchester Community Health Center locations received Excellence in

Adult Immunizations awards for their new Immunization Coordination Team,

each of which developed coordinated adult immunization protocols across the

Hollis Street, Tarrytown Road, and Child Health Services locations.

“Manchester Community Health Center is pleased to receive this award for

the organization’s commitment to high quality care, treatment and services

to ensure adults are immunized,” said Diane Trowbridge, MCHC’s Chief

Operating Officer. “We recognize that immunizations not only help eliminate

preventable communicable diseases, but also have a strong impact on overall

health.”



“This conference has seen incredible growth in attendance over the last 4

years, thanks to our ability to draw national speakers, while keeping a

relevant New Hampshire focus for our attendees,” said Haggerty. “Our

program continues to work hard to communicate the value of immunizations to

health across the lifespan.”



NHIP’s Start the Conversation campaign to increase awareness of adult

immunizations recently won several awards from the National Public Health

Information Coalition. To learn more, visit the DHHS Immunization Program

at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/immunization/index.htm.

Wednesday
Mar252015

NH DHHS - Second Public Meeting on Contaminant in Pease Water System to Be Held

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

(DHHS), the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), and

the City of Portsmouth will be holding a second meeting for the public to

discuss and answer questions about continued water testing and the State’s

plan to do human testing for the perfluorochemicals (PFCs) perfluorooctane

sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The unregulated

contaminant PFOS was detected in the water system at the Pease Tradeport in

May 2014 at a level that exceeded the “provisional health advisory” set by

the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The affected well was

immediately shut down by the City of Portsmouth and has remained offline

since.



DHHS is rolling out a testing program for people who wish to have their

blood tested and who consumed the contaminated water. The test will give

people the levels of PFOS and PFOA in their blood.



The meeting will be held Tuesday, March 31st at 6:00 pm at the NH

Department of Environmental Services Regional Office, 222 International

Drive, Suite 175, Portsmouth, NH, 03801.



“We are responding to a request for human testing made by the public at the

previous public meeting” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health

at DHHS. “Unfortunately, no one knows what a typical level is for PFOS or

PFOA or if there is a blood level at which there is a health concern. Most

people in the United States have some level of these chemicals in their

blood because PFCs are so pervasive in our environment. We hope this

testing will offer reassurance to people who are understandably concerned

about this situation. Anyone with questions about this program or other

issues related to the contaminant found in the water system is invited to

attend this informational session.”



For more information about the Pease Superfund site and water monitoring

visit the NH DES website at

http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/hwrb/fss/superfund/summaries/pease.htm

. To learn more about the water system at the Pease Tradeport, visit the

City of Portsmouth website at

http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/publicworks/phwn.html. To read more about

the investigation and the blood testing program, visit the New Hampshire

Department of Health and Human Services at

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htm. To find out about the

Pease testing program, please call the DHHS Emergency Services Unit at

603-271-9461.


Friday
Mar202015

NH DHHS - Offering Testing for People Who Consumed Contaminated Pease Water

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

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services is offering testing to people

who consumed water from the Pease Tradeport water system that was

determined in May 2014 to have levels of PFCs (perfluorochemicals) above

the provisional health advisory levels set by the U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency. The contaminated well was immediately shut down by the

City of Portsmouth. The testing is being offered as a public service at the

request of the affected community.



As details are finalized, the expectation is to start the blood drawing in

the first week of April. Those people who may be eligible for the testing

are those who were working or attending child care on the Pease Tradeport

when the well was shut down in May 2014 and who consumed water from the

Pease Water System. People who meet these guidelines and are interested in

getting tested are invited to call the DHHS information line for this

program at 603-271-9461 Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. A public meeting

to provide details about the testing program is also being planned to occur

in the next few weeks.



PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) are

chemicals known as perfluorochemicals (PFCs). PFCs are a family of man-made

chemicals that have been used for decades in the production of products

that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFCs are commonly used in

the manufacturing of nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, fabric

coatings, some food packaging (especially microwave popcorn bags and fast

food wrappers), firefighting foam, and in many other industrial

applications. Many chemicals in this group, including PFOS and PFOA, are

present in the environment, but they do not break down easily. It was the

PFOS level in the Haven Well that was above the EPA provisional health

advisory level.



“We are responding to the public request to know more about the level of

PFOS and PFOA in their blood,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public

Health at DHHS. “Unfortunately, no one knows what a typical level is or if

these chemicals harm a person’s health. Most people in the United States

have some level of these chemicals in their blood because PFCs are so

pervasive in our environment. We hope this testing will offer reassurance

to people who are understandably concerned about this situation.”



For more information about the Pease Superfund site and water monitoring

visit the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services at

http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/hwrb/fss/superfund/summaries/pease.htm

. To learn more about the water system at Pease, visit the City of

Portsmouth website at http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/publicworks/phwn.html

. To read more about this investigation visit the New Hampshire Department

of Health and Human Services at

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htm.



Thursday
Mar192015

NH DHHS - Adolescent Cigarette Smoking and Marijuana Use

Department of Health and Human Services Highlights Concerns in New Data

Brief Adolescent Cigarette Smoking and Marijuana Use


Concord, NH – In a 2013 study, 73% of New Hampshire high school–aged youth

reported that they did not smoke cigarettes or use marijuana during the 30

days prior to the survey. However, 27% reported smoking and marijuana use,

or both. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),

Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has released a new data brief

entitled New Hampshire Adolescent Cigarette Smoking and Marijuana Use,

which highlights data from the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).

Results from the analysis highlight the link between adolescent cigarette

smoking and initiation of marijuana use. The YRBS data show why reducing

youth cigarette smoking and marijuana use are extremely important for New

Hampshire.



The brief is being highlighted for Kick Butts Day 2015, an annual

celebration for youth advocacy, leadership, and activism. On March 18th,

thousands of youth, teachers, and health advocates across the United States

and beyond stand out, speak up, and seize control against Big Tobacco.



While the majority of New Hampshire youth do not use tobacco, more than 1

in 4 high school youth reported cigarette use, marijuana use, or both. Even

more alarming, among high school–aged youth who reported current or

previous marijuana use, current cigarette smokers were 3.2 times more

likely to have first used marijuana before the age of 13 than were

non-cigarette smokers.



“It is concerning for New Hampshire that 70% of the high school–aged youth

surveyed who reported smoking cigarettes also reported using marijuana,”

said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The effects of

smoking cigarettes and marijuana use can have long-term health consequences

for adolescents once they reach adulthood; earlier use of addictive

substances such as nicotine and marijuana can have a damaging effect on

adolescent brain development. Kick Butts Day is a great time for youth to

speak out about healthy choices they can make in their own lives—they can

choose not to use tobacco.”



Preventing young people from starting to smoke and/or using marijuana

begins with increasing their knowledge of the dangers of tobacco use,

changing their attitudes toward tobacco use, and increasing public support

for policies that reduce the likelihood that they will use tobacco. To get

involved in Kick Butts Day, visit www.kickbuttsday.org .



DHHS currently offers free tobacco treatment counseling and nicotine

replacement patches to adult residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (

www.TryToStopNH.org ) and are eligible. Resources on drug misuse/abuse for

youth can be found at www.drugfreenh.org . For more information about the

DHHS Division of Public Health Services, the Tobacco Prevention and Control

Program, or the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, visit www.dhhs.nh.gov .

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