Scholarships available for students in medical fields

Annual scholarships in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 are currently available for New Hampshire residents who are already in the process of post-secondary education and who are pursuing studies in the fields of nursing, medicine or social work.

Applications are due May 19, and scholarships will be awarded in the fall.

More than $800,000 in scholarships are available through a fund set up by the late Samuel Yarnold and his wife, Alice, of Rollinsford.

"Following various illnesses, they grew to respect the skills of the caring staff at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and Mary Hitchcock Hospital," said Stephen H. Roberts, nephew and scholarship trustee. "As a result, they established a scholarship fund for individuals who may be unable to pursue further education due to financial circumstances."

Alice (Pinkham) Yarnold died in 1991, and Sam Yarnold in 1994.

"A lifetime of hard work, successful farming in the blueberry fields of New Jersey and sound financial investments" made the scholarship fund possible, said Roberts.

Post-secondary students interested in scholarships should immediately contact the Alice M. Yarnold and Samuel Yarnold Scholarship Trust, 127 Parrott Ave., Portsmouth, NH 03801, to request an application.

  • Category: Health

Collaborative identifies need for system that integrates behavioral health with primary care

DURHAM — New Hampshire residents will benefit from a health care system that integrates behavioral health into primary care, according to a report released by the University of New Hampshire's Institute for Health Policy and Practice and the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative.
The learning collaborative also included the identification and exploration of challenges in payment for substance use disorder screening and treatment. According to the report, the state's current opiate epidemic highlights the need for better screening for behavioral health issues, prevention and treatment referral in primary care.
The research, conducted in partnership with 60 organizations, is based on a philosophy of shared data and shared learning that emphasizes the importance of transparency across all stakeholder groups.
Twenty-five to 30 percent of visits for primary medical care either originate from or have a significant related behavioral health component. Research also found that depression and anxiety with a co-occurring chronic medical condition increase costs dramatically.
"The evidence is clear that addressing behavioral health concerns like depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders in primary care would improve outcomes," said Jeanne Ryer, director of the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative. "We're pleased to see New Hampshire medical and behavioral health providers and insurers working together to put this evidence-based practice to work for our residents."
The Institute for Health Policy and Practice is an applied research institute located within UNH's College of Health and Human Services. Institute for Health Policy conducts and disseminates high-quality, cutting-edge applied research and policy work that enables health system partners to implement evidence-based strategies to improve population health.
The N.H. Citizens Health Initiative is a multi-stakeholder collaborative effort that promotes health systems transformation in New Hampshire to improve the health of New Hampshire's population, in line with the triple aim of better health, better care and lower costs. The initiative, a program of the Institute for Health Policy and Practice at UNH, has a 10-year history of leading, incubating, and testing innovative health care transformation efforts.
The University of New Hampshire is a research university with more than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries.

  • Category: Health

The most basic rule in safe food handling: Wash your hands

By Ann Hamilton

UNH Cooperative Extension

At the end of December, I clipped a Tundra cartoon from the Conway Daily Sun in which a woman was feeding the birds and one of the birds asked her if she had washed her hands. It resonated with me in that the most basic safe-food-handling practice that we can do is wash our hands. Despite widespread knowledge of the importance of hand washing in decreasing the spread of germs, there is still room for improvement.

While researching hand washing on the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, I came across a statement from the CDC that cited a recent study showing that only 31 percent of men and 65 percent of women washed their hands after using the public restroom. I have seen other studies with similar results although some do show men washing their hands far more often than 31 percent of the time. All I could think of at the time of reading the information was I hope people wash their hands after using the restroom at the grocery store and before heading to pick through the produce. With that in mind, all produce, regardless of growing conditions or where it is bought, should be washed with cool, running water prior to being consumed. This includes fruit and vegetables with inedible peels such as cantaloupe, bananas and squash. Remember to wash your hands prior to handling and preparing produce as well as after.

Washing hands should be done with clean, running water. Warm water is preferable when preparing food, but cool water will do the job in a pinch. Once hands are wet, take them out of the running water and scrub them for 20 seconds with soap. The soap does not have to be anti-bacterial — a good lather is what is needed to remove oils, food and dirt from your hands. If you need help remembering how long to scrub, hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice or the alphabet. Rinse your hands well under running water. Next dry your hands with a clean paper towel or hand blow dryer. If you are in a public restroom, open the bathroom door with a paper towel.
While it is true that washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the spread of germs, it is not always possible to keep running to a hand sink, particularly when on a picnic. In situations where soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do reduce the number of germs in some situations, but hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not remove harmful chemicals. Hand sanitizers are not effective on visibly dirty or greasy hands. Caution should be used when using hand sanitizers around young children. Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning. Keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of young children. You can also keep hand wipes handy such as in your car or office. I use them when hand washing is not available such as after pumping gas or eating a snack while driving.

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Remember that germs and food-borne pathogens can be spread through food that is handled with dirty or contaminated hands. Always wash your hands prior to and after preparing food.

Ann Hamilton is a regional field specialist in food safety with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension located in Carroll County. She can be reached at (603) 447-3834 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. UNH Extension is located at 73 Main Street in Conway. This article is part of series articles on safe food handling for consumers.


  • Category: Health

Diet Detective: Changing your hard-to-break habits

By Charles Platkin

January has already come and gone. It goes by fast. I know you made all those resolutions, but it's cold, or you're just too busy to make your resolutions stick. I know there are many acronyms being used today, especially in our text-based life. However, I have one more for you: BREAK IT!

Here's a how-to guide for changing some of your hard-to-break habits.

BACKWARD. Review your past patterns. Taking a careful look at your past can help you to avoid repeating harmful patterns and determine where you want to go in the future. The past may be behind you, but thinking about it and analyzing what happened is the key to your dieting future. Keep an open mind. Think of the strategies that didn't work in your previous attempts to lose weight. By looking at your failures, you learn what NOT to repeat. You probably learned something from every diet you've been on. It's up to you to find out what you gained from all that hard work.

RESPONSIBLE. Create a responsible attitude right now; recognize that you are the only one who can make something happen in your life. People love to blame. We blame situations, circumstances, events and even ourselves for where we are in our lives. Blame excuses us from acting responsibly. In terms of diet, it allows us to avoid focusing on controlling our weight because there's nothing we can do about it. Keep in mind, however, that one of the key characteristics of all successful weight-losers is their ability to avoid blaming and accept responsibility for whatever trips them up along the road. Keep this concept close when you attempt your next weight-loss campaign: We may not be fully responsible for every event in our lives; accidents do happen. However, we are solely responsible for how we respond to those events. Many of our own patterns — the ones we do control — provide us opportunity, success and failure.

ELEVATE. Pull yourself up by setting goals. According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, good goal-setting and planning increase your chances of making and maintaining improvements in nutrition-related behaviors by 84 percent. But why should that surprise you? Most of life — even figuring out the best route from the dry cleaners to the post office to the supermarket — requires some planning. We have no problem coming up with detailed strategies when planning an event like a wedding. In fact, we obsess over every detail — the band, the dress, the tux and the caterer. But when it comes to losing weight, we don't give strategic planning a fraction of the passion it deserves. There are seven characteristics of effective planning and goal setting that you can remember with the acronym SMARTER: Specific; Motivating; Achievable; Rewarding; Tactical; Evaluated; Revisable.

ACTION. Develop an action plan by thinking ahead. When pursuing a goal, it is crucial to have a well-thought-out, written plan. You can minimize crises by anticipating obstacles and figuring out r how you will surmount them. And keep in mind, great things are achieved by a series of small things--micro-choices that add up. Micro-choices are the ones we make in the moment. For instance, whether we choose to eat an apple or a slice of apple pie, whether we bike to work or take the car. Its those micro-choices that make up our lives -- to learn more about micro-choices see: . Also, confidence is critical for taking action. In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that as self-efficacy improved, eating habits also improved and weight loss was greater.

KNOCK OUT. Knock out your excuses with excuse busting. Come up with Excuse Busters and Plan Bs. Punch holes in your excuses until they are no longer airtight. Do this by coming up with counterarguments for every single excuse you may have for not achieving your goals.

IMAGINE. Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands reported that those who believed they could control their eating and didn't blame being overweight on "bad genes" lost the most weight. It's called "visualization" — an imagined, meaningful, detailed vision of your life after you've reached your goal weight. During the last Olympics, there was much discussion of athletes having a "vision" of crossing the finish line and winning the race before starting the event. I call these visions "Life Preservers." Think of every emotional and physical detail that will follow your success and reflect on them to help you get through the tough times or when you feel that you're losing sight of your goal. For example, imagine a thinner, healthier you running into your ex at the mall.

Another key visualization technique used by almost all world-class athletes is mental rehearsal. I'm sure you've heard the expression "practice makes perfect." The concept is to rehearse an upcoming event, not on the field but in your mind. By doing that, you trick your brain into having an experience you didn't actually have. You need to rehearse your eating choices before they take place, before you eat at your favorite restaurant, before you go into the office knowing that it's "doughnut Friday."

TODAY. Don't delay. Part of making any behavioral change is actually getting started and putting your plan in motion. Start right now.

Charles Platkin, Ph.D., is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of, and the director of the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College. Copyright 2016-17 by Charles Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at

  • Category: Health