Health Briefs

Local orthodontist launches Smile For a Lifetime Chapter

BRATTLEBORO >> Dr. Lance Miller, orthodontist at Keene, N.H., and Brattleboro Orthodontic Specialists, has started a local Smile For a Lifetime Chapter to serve Cheshire and Windham counties.

Smile for a Lifetime Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization comprised of local chapters throughout the country that provides orthodontic scholarships for patients who may not have the opportunity to achieve a beautiful, straight smile without financial assistance. Its mission is to create self-confidence, inspire hope and change the lives of children in their communities in a dramatic way. There are currently 165 chapters serving 45 states across North America.

Miller is the first orthodontist to start a chapter in Vermont and the second orthodontist to have a chapter in New Hampshire. He has pledged to provide six orthodontic cases free of charge each year to children between the ages of 11 and 17.

"I am honored to be able to start a Smile for a Lifetime chapter and give back to the kids in our community," stated Miller. "I have seen how much a smile can contribute to a person's confidence and sense of well being, and through Smile for a Lifetime we can provide that gift to six kids each year. I feel grateful to be in a position to support local families in this way. We have a wonderful board in place that will review the applications and select scholarship recipients."

The Keene/Brattleboro chapter has appointed the following board members: Heather McGreer, Assistant Director of Human Resources at Keene State College; Elizabeth Coppola, Associate Executive Director Keene Family YMCA; Nancy Heydinger, Executive Director of Girls On The Run VT; Beth Baldwin, Executive Director of Boys and Girls Club Brattleboro; Andy Bohannon, Director of Keene Parks and Recreation; Kevin Watterson, President of g.housen, The Keene Swamp Bats, and Southwestern Community Services. Jen English will be the chapter's Executive Director.

For additional information or Interested applicants please contact Jen at or at Scholarships will be awarded in May and October each year.

Miller owns and operates Keene Orthodontics is located at 105 West Street in Keene; Brattleboro Orthodontic Specialists located at 54 Chickering Drive in Brattleboro; and Rindge Orthodontic Specialists located at 31 Sonja Drive in Rindge, N.H. Miller provides braces and Invisalign to children, teens and adults at all three locations. More information can be found at

Lead paint safety courses offered

BRATTLEBORO >> Lead Safe Homes, in collaboration with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Vermont Department of Health is offering both state and federal lead paint safety courses for landlords, contractors, childcare providers, and others interested in using lead-safe renovation techniques.

The Vermont Essential Maintenance Practices (EMP) courses will be offered free of charge from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Howard Dean Center. Vermont law requires that all landlords, property managers, contractors and daycare facility owners follow EMPs to maintain painted surfaces in properties built before 1978.

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Renovation, Repair, and Painting Refresher course will be offered on Tuesday, Feb. 16, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Brattleboro VFW on Black Mountain Road. This certification is required for all contractors or landlords disturbing more than six square feet of paint in properties built before 1978. The cost for federal re-certification is $125 per person.

During both courses, participants will learn about the requirements of state and federal regulations governing lead, the health effects of lead in children and adults, lead-safe work practices, and how to protect themselves from liability. The federal certification requires a refresher every five years. The state certification never expires.

Registration is strongly suggested at all locations due to limited space, and is required for the federal RRP classes. Contact Michelle Pong at 802-463-9927, ext. 208, or email Lead Safe & Healthy Homes is a non-profit program of Parks Place Community Center.

Leland and Gray's Above the Influence students pay a friendly visit to local liquor retailors

TOWNSHEND >> This winter, Leland and Gray's Above the Influence students, a group of eight middle schoolers dedicated to raising awareness about how to stay above negative social influences amongst their peers, traveled to four local stores to spread their message.

Participating businesses, including D&K's Grocery in Jamaica, River Bend Market in Townshend, Newfane Market and Dutton's Farm stand in Newfane, welcomed the group to come by and plaster cases of beer with stickers that boasted a message about not buying for or selling to minors. The "sticker shock" is an annual event for the Above the Influence students and they are fortunate to have the support of many local businesses that are dedicated to keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors.

Students spent the majority of the day "stickering" and discussing some of the repercussions of selling to or buying for minors in this community. Look for stickers again in the spring; and a special shout out to D&K's grocery for providing students with treats at the store.

Weight loss support group

TOWNSHEND >> "Overcoming Addictive Food Behavior" is the topic of this month's support group. Presentation followed by group discussion, professional advice and friendly encouragement. Led by Grace Cottage Community Health Team's Health Coach Liz Harrison with special guest speaker, Behavioral Health Specialist Caroline Chase. Free, the second Tuesday of every month, from 10:30a.m. to noon in the Grace Cottage Family Health EMS Room. Prior to attending, call Liz at 802-365-3715, ext. 5.

Advance Care Directive Workshop

TOWNSHEND >> "It's Really About Love," an informational session, focuses on Advance Care Directives and why every adult needs one, how to compose one, key decisions to make and more. Free, from 9:45 a.m. to noon in the Grace Cottage Community Wellness Center. To sign up, call 802-365-3649.

AARP driver safety course

TOWNSHEND >> Elliot Greenblott will lead an AARP driver safety course on Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Grace Cottage Wellness Center. The focus will be on weather, vehicles and law that can affect mature drivers. For more information, call 802-257-8877

Caregiver's support group begins Feb. 22

TOWNSHEND >> A prolonged physical illness or debilitating condition certainly takes a toll on the person with the disease, but it also affects those who love and care for him or her. Too often, caregivers feel like they are all alone with their situations. That's why Grace Cottage is offering a free caregivers' support group.

Planned as a six-week series, the group will begin meeting on Monday, Feb. 22, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The group's leader will be Caroline Chase, MS, Grace Cottage's Behavioral Health Specialist, and a member of the Grace Cottage Community Health Team.

This "Emotional Renewal for Caregivers" group is intended for family members caring for a loved one. The focus will be on "looking after yourself while helping a loved one." Group discussions will provide emotional support and will help caregivers understand and recognize the various stressors impacting them while caring for a loved one. Topics to be covered include the need for self-care, ways to boost self-love, and techniques for healing stressful feelings.

The group will meet in the Grace Cottage Community Wellness Center's Holt Conference room. To register for this free workshop, call Caroline Chase at 802-365-3715, ext. 6.

Free health services expanded

TOWNSHEND >> Thanks to a grant from the Fanny Holt Ames & Edna Louise Holt Fund, Grace Cottage Family Health in Townshend has nearly doubled the capacity of its Community Health Team. The three-year grant allows for additional staffing for the team of skilled healthcare professionals who work with patients to address chronic health concerns and help individuals reach attainable goals for physical and mental health and wellness.

The services of the CHT are free of charge to anyone in the region, thanks to Vermont's Blueprint for Health and now the Holt Fund.

"This is very exciting news for Grace Cottage and the community that we serve," said Crystal Mansfield, director of the Community Health Team. "The need is evident, as our staff has been fully booked. Now we'll be able to help more people achieve healthy lifestyles, and that is very exciting!"

In January, a registered nurse was added to the team for additional diabetes management support, a second health coach was hired, and the current behavioral health specialist's hours were doubled to allow for counseling for more patients. The Community Health Team is now comprised of six specialists and has an opening for one more.

Services offered by the Grace Cottage CHT include chronic disease management, nutrition and exercise education, short-term mental health counseling and substance abuse assessment. The CHT also provides free support groups and workshops on an on-going basis.

Working alongside the CHT is Grace Cottage Resource Advocate Jane Wheeler who offers free help in connecting to community resources for things like food stamps and fuel assistance.

The door to the Community Health Team opens in one of two ways. If an individual is a patient of Grace Cottage Family Health, his or her primary care provider might recommend an appointment with a particular member of the CHT after considering the patient's medical condition and needs. However, a referral is not necessary. Any resident of Southern Vermont can contact the CHT directly and make an appointment. There is no need to provide insurance information or worry about co-pays and deductibles. And now, with the recent expansion, lead times for appointments are shorter than ever.

The Fanny Holt Ames & Edna Louise Holt Fund (Bank or America, N.A.; Trustee,) makes grants to qualified, not-for-profit organizations that provide health and medical services to individuals living in and around Grafton, Vermont where the sisters were long-time residents.

For more information about the Grace Cottage Community Health Team, go to or call 802-365-3715.

Miss VT International to speak about CdLS

BRATTLEBORO >> Miss VT International 2016, Maddie Shaw, will have her first public speaking event at The Inclusion Center, on Feb. 8, at 12:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, Main Street. The event will be held again on Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. at The Inclusion Center at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Putney Road. At this free event, Shaw will conduct ice breaker activities, educate those attending about Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS), a rare genetic disorder, and offer tips on how to interact with individuals who have special needs. On Feb. 12, Michelle Pulver, a local to Brattleboro, will join Shaw to share her story through song about how one interaction with Miles, Maddi's brother, who was born with CdLS, helped her through her struggles of depression. For more information, contact Julie Tamler at 802-387-5285.


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