Pine Tree Elementary School students share random acts of kindness at Memorial Hospital

Pine Tree students at hospitalPine Tree School participates in an annual Random Acts of Kindness celebration in conjunction with the 100th day of school in February. Each grade collects or creates 100 items to donate to a local charity or organization. On Feb. 17, the students took their school bus to Memorial Hospital and delivered handmade note cards with inspirational thoughts inscribed for patients. The students were greeted and thanked for their acts of kindness by President & CEO Scott McKinnon. The cards were subsequently shared with patients throughout the hospital including the Merriman House nursing home, oncology center, medical surgical inpatient unit and Miranda Center for Diabetes.


  • Category: Health

McMurry to retire from White Mountain Community Health Center

Patricia McMurryPatricia McMurry has announced her retirement after serving as the health center’s executive director for 15 years. (ANNE SKIDMORE PHOTO)Patricia McMurry, who has served as White Mountain Community Health Center’s executive director for 15 years, has announced her retirement.  McMurry will be leaving the health center later this year, once a new executive director has been hired.  

White Mountain Community Health Center is located in Conway and provides comprehensive primary care to men, women and children, including dental care and a prenatal program. The health center is a non-profit that aims to ensure that all can access high-quality health care regardless of ability to pay. This is achieved through a number of programs, including a sliding fee scale that provides large discounts to low-income patients.  The health center also has a number of private funds to help with health care costs patients cannot afford and provides free assistance in navigating affordable health insurance programs.  

"My career at White Mountain Community Health Center has been a gift to me in many ways," McMurry said. "The community, our board of directors and the team at the health center have embraced and built on our mission over the years.  This has led to a highly effective operation of which we are all proud."

McMurry’s tenure started shortly after two well-respected nonprofits, the Children & Youth Project and the Family Health Centre, merged to form White Mountain Community Health Center. 

Under McMurry’s leadership, the health center has grown into a multifaceted organization with many services and programs, serving over 2,500 patients a year. Her ability to garner resources has provided numerous programmatic and infrastructure opportunities for the health center.  In 2011, she was instrumental in finding a way for the health center to survive when state funding was cut back severely.

“I still get emotional when I hear touching stories from folks who have benefited from our mission to the point of saving lives,” McMurry said.  “It is not unusual for someone to walk in our door in crisis seeking help for themselves or a loved one when they are at their wits’ end, not having been able to find help or affordable care anywhere else.  We always listen and assist them so that when they leave here they know someone cares about them and they have a plan to move forward. Seeing this in action is always amazing and awesome.”

McMurry pioneered the children’s dental program, and more recently expanded that program to include adult dental hygiene on a sliding fee scale.  She also brought Partners In Health under the health center umbrella, which supports families of children with chronic illnesses. When Medicaid was first expanded to cover many low-income children, the health center under Patricia’s leadership led the Umbrella Program to help Carroll County families enroll, giving many children access to health services for the first time.

Recently, the health center has been on the cutting edge in integrating, substance misuse screening, depression screening, and mental health counseling into primary care for pre-adolescents, teenagers and adults.  The health center has also served as a critical resource to the community since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, providing Navigation services through an ACA grant to ensure that everyone in the Mount Washington Valley can access the new coverage options, regardless of computer or health insurance literacy.

McMurry explained, "I have also been very proud to be part of an organization that has received recognition for our forward thinking. I have always told the team at the health center that because we are a small nonprofit we tend to think we are 'less than' other health care organizations in New Hampshire when in fact we are often recognized as being 'more than.'"

To cap off her tenure, McMurry is leading the health center in preparing an application to be designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-alike. This designation will provide enhanced reimbursement and is a stepping stone to becoming a full FQHC, which would bring many more benefits for the health center’s patients.

And after?  "My retirement plans are simple," Patricia finished.  "I will continue do what I love, maybe a little less of it, and be with those I love a lot more.  At the end of the day that is what matters the most to me."

The health center’s board of directors is currently conducting a search for Patricia’s successor. A successful candidate will have a strong interest in helping medically underserved populations and the skills to manage a multifaceted health center.  Interested parties may contact Board President Carol Hastings at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Category: Health

A Guide to Essential Oil Safety: Children and aroma diffusers


The popularity of essential oils has significantly risen in the last 10 to 15 years. While it’s awesome that the amazing benefits of the oils are being used to heal all sorts of ailments, proper education about the oils seems to have been lost in translation.

It used to be that the people advising about and selling the oils were in majority, certified aromatherapists. These days, many people selling them have not been provided with the knowledge that they should have to be recommending particular oils, especially in regards to pregnant women and children.

Essential oils are potent, obviously, that’s why they are so great at healing so many afflictions, be it emotional, physical or mental. Because of this, it’s important that people know how to use these oils safely. And for the record, it’s not about one brand being better or safer than another (as people sometimes claim).

There is one reference guide that is my go to for research and that is "Essential Oil Safety" by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

Tisserand is THE single most respected authority for so many things pertaining to aromatherapy and essential oils but particularly when it is a question of safety. He has been studying, researching and writing about this subject for very many years. This book sits beside my desk — and I have many aromatherapy books that aren't in this revered spot — so I can easily reach over and check, double check everything whether I am making up a blend, writing a blog, commenting on a social media site or just curious — the answers are always (yes, always) there and easily found. He has given the world of aromatherapy what no one else could — legitimacy and safety.

What Essential Oils Should You Use in Diffusers for Your Children?

I get asked frequently about the "avoid" list and what that means as far as what essential oils CAN be used. Here are some of the common essential oils that are safe to use for children.

Citrus family oils are wonderful room deodorizers and air fresheners. Safe for age 2 years and up. These include: Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Grapefruit (Citrus paradisii), Lemon (Citrus limonum), Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), Neroli/Orange Blossom (Citrus aurantium),  Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis), Tangerine (Citrus reticulata), Lemongrass, which is not a citrus but has deodorizing properties (Cymbopogon flexuosus), Andropogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon citratus and Andropogon citratus.

Herb and flower family oils for anxiety, relaxation and sleep — safe for age 2 years and up. They include Lemon basil  (Ocimum x citriodorum) — avoid topical use on children under 2; German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Rose (Rosa damascene), Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides), Ylang-Ylang and Cananga odorata.

Mint family oils are beneficial for respiratory health. Safe for age 6 years and up. They include: Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus Autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii, Peppermint Mentha x Piperita, Rosemary (1,8-cineole chemotype) Rosmarinus officinalis and Spearmint (Mentha spicata).


More about peppermint oil and children (From the NAHA Safety Note for Peppermint Essential Oil):

• Avoid use on children under 30 months of age. The nasal mucosa is an autonomic reflexogen organ, which has a distance action to the heart, lungs and circulation and may lead to sudden apnoea and glottal constriction.

• Direct application of peppermint oil to the nasal area or chest to infants should be avoided because of the risk of apnea, laryngeal and bronchial spasms, acute respiratory distress with cyanosis and respiratory arrest.

• Do not apply undiluted peppermint essential oils to the feet, particularly on infants and children under the age of 12.

• Inhalation of large doses of menthol may lead to dizziness, confusion, muscle weakness, nausea and double vision. (Natural Standard Research Collaboration, peppermint oil)


Spice family oils are useful for fighting germs and bacteria. Safe for age 6 years and up in very small quantities. These are generally found in a blend known as THIEVES, and include: Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Clove Bud, Clove Leaf, Clove Stem (Syzygium aromaticum), Eugenia caryophyllata, Eugenia aromatica and Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum).

The knowledge of the Latin names for essential oils is extremely important when differentiating between safe and unsafe oils, which is why I have listed them with the common names (in parentheses when common names are given). I realize this is a lot of information to absorb, and that is why you should always do extensive research or consult a certified aromatherapist before using any essential oils on or around children.

General: As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted, in eyes or mucus membranes. Do not take internally unless working with a qualified and expert practitioner. Keep stored away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  • Category: Health

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