Health news and notes

Vermont Cancer Survivor Network hosts free event

MONTPELIER >> The Vermont Cancer Survivor Network will host a day-long event focused on community education around complementary and integrative medicine in cancer care and survivorship. The event, co-sponsored by UVM Health Networks at Central Vermont Medical Center National Life Cancer Center and Healing Arts and Writing will take place on Saturday, April 2 at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier and is open to the general public.

Nationally, the demand for a more integrative approach to cancer care and survivorship is growing, and more research showing the benefits of CIM modalities is available. The event aims to introduce participants, who will include cancer survivors, family members and caregivers, medical practitioners, as well as the general public, to the variety of CIM services available here in Vermont.

Integrative medicine involves bringing conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. Through generous support from sponsors, this free event will provide information to the community to help inform patients and providers about the available modalities of complementary and integrative medicine, how they integrate with standard medical care, and their benefits and risks.

Patients use CIM services to help with side effects, support the immune system, relieve stress and feel better overall. Gabriel Cole, who underwent extensive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer, valued the CIM services he received at UVM Health Network-CVMC.

Amy Littlefield, ND, MSOM, FABNO, of Vermont Wellness Medicine and Integrative Oncology in Middlebury, will be a featured keynote speaker for the event. Littlefield brings a unique perspective to the field as one of only four oncology-certified naturopathic physicians in New England. She works with patients and oncology teams to bridge the gap between high-quality conventional medical care and naturopathic medicine.

The day will also offer a variety of workshops and hands-on demonstrations provided by physicians, acupuncturists, herbalists, nutritionists, yoga practitioners, aromatherapists, Reiki practitioners, body workers and more. A resource fair with exhibitors will be open throughout the day.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and parking is free. Participants are welcome to bring their own lunches or to dine in one of Montpelier's many restaurants.

The Vermont Cancer Survivor Network is a 501©3, not-for-profit organization founded by cancer survivors to improve the quality of life for anyone living with, through or beyond cancer and their caregiver. Among the programs it operates is Kindred Connections, which provides one-to-one peer support for newly diagnosed cancer patients.

For more information about the event, or to register, visit

Eat well to age well

SPRINGFIELD >> Good nutrition is a key factor in lifelong health, and Senior Solutions helps older adults access two programs that support healthy eating for seniors.

Meals on Wheels delivers meals to seniors who are having difficulty preparing or shopping for meals due to temporary health problems or longer-term challenges. This program is for people aged 60 and older, and there is no income qualification. There is a suggested donation, but no one is denied service due to inability to pay.

3SquaresVT helps eligible Vermonters buy more nutritious food by means of an EBT card that looks like a debit or credit card. If everyone in the household is 65 or older or gets SSI, then the benefits may be distributed as cash deposited directly into the family's bank account. 3SquaresVT is open to individuals and families who qualify based on household income. Anyone who is over 60 or has a disability may deduct many medical expenses from their income, which can help with qualification.

To get more information or help applying, call the Vermont Senior HelpLine at 1-800-642-5119.###

Food access and childhood obesity

BURLINGTON >> The University of Vermont is collaborating with Cornell University, NOFA-VT, and UVM Extension EFNEP on research that examines whether low-income participation in a subsidized Community Supported Agriculture program along with tailored nutrition education can improve the quality of diet for low-income children, who are at highest risk for obesity.

The Vermont team is now recruiting families with children ages 2 to 12 to participate in this three-year study that spans Addison, Rutland and Windham counties.

This study comes at a time when new research has linked childhood obesity with low-income. Jane Kolodinsky, co-principal investigator of the study and chairwoman of the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics and Center for Rural Studies at UVM said, "According to the most recent census, Vermont's poverty rate has been increasing, coinciding with a slight increase in childhood obesity rates. Despite the state's breakthroughs in the food system, many food-insecure Vermonters are not aware of alternate options, like CSAs, that can provide affordable and healthy foods."

To qualify for the study, families must have participated in SNAP, 3SquaresVT, WIC or Head Start benefits in the last 12 months, or fall below 185 perce4nt of the Federal Poverty Line, and must not have participated in a CSA within the last five years. A total of 60 families will be recruited across the three counties.

Starting in June, participating families receive reduced cost CSA shares at 50 percent of the regular cost for two years, and tailored nutrition education. Families also have an opportunity to receive up to $615 in compensation for participating in research activities. This multi-state "Cost-Offset CSA" study is administered through USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), and will run through 2018.

Recruitment will continue through May 11. For details, contact the UVM research team at 802-656-0892.

Lifeguard training

VERNON >> People 15 years of age or older are eligible to become a lifeguard/waterfront lifeguard, an informational and organizational meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday April 11 at the Vernon Recreation Department, located in the Vernon Elementary School on Governor Hunt Road.

Possible lifeguard candidates or a representative are welcome to attend. All eligible candidates must be able to swim freestyle (front crawl) and the breaststroke for 550 yards continuously, successfully surface dive to a depth of 10 feet, retrieve a 10-pound brick, carry it for 25 yards and they must be able to retrieve three rings underwater. For more information, contact Beverly Current at or 802-257-9207 or Beverly Wright at or 802-257-4902.

'A call to action'

BRATTLEBORO >> WKVT radio presents a live broadcast of a public forum about mental health needs and services in the community, from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, March 31, in the Brooks Memorial Library Meeting Room.

Much like the 2014 "Call to Action" program that addressed opiate abuse, WKVT hosts Peter "Fish" Case and Chris Lenois will moderate a guest panel consisting of state and local officials involved in policy-making, treatment, and emergency response, as well as impacted individuals and families.

"There is a similar level of urgency around mental health issues as there is around addiction in Windham County and the surrounding area," said Case. "We hope to connect those people who are facing the same challenges with those who are working on solutions, so the community has a better understanding of the available resources."

Panelists include: Vermont Department of Mental Health Clinical Services and Operations Director, Mourning Fox; Brattleboro Retreat Director of Ambulatory Services, Kurt White, LADC, LICSW; Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare and Rehabilitative Services, George Karabakakis, Ph.D.; and Brattleboro Police Department Chief Mike Fitzgerald. Members of the public who attend will also be given an opportunity to comment.

Brooks Memorial Library is located at 224 Main St. Light refreshments will be available. Participants and audience members will have a chance to continue discussion on the topic following the broadcast. Brattleboro Community Television will be taping the forum to air at a later date on their cable channels as well as archive it online at

For more information, contact 802-254-2343 or visit

'Spring into health' set for May 7

TOWNSHEND >> Registration is now open for the 7th Annual Grace Cottage "Spring into Health" 5K on Saturday, May 7. The first 100 to register will receive a free performance T-shirt, designed by Leland and Gray student Joel Emmons.

The family-friendly 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Townshend Commons, rain or shine. This early season race will be timed for competitors, but is open to all, whether you run, jog, walk, roll, or stroll. The course is 3.1 miles of mainly flat, paved road along Route 35.

After the race, there will be awards, raffles, and general merriment. There is also a free Fun Run for kids 8 and under on the Common at 9:15.

Register online for an early bird rate of $15 for 13 and older (free for those 12 and younger). Online registration closes at noon on Wednesday, May 4. You can register at the race for $20, but no guarantees on getting a T-shirt. For more information or to register, visit or call 802-365-9109.

This event, sponsored by People's United Bank, raises funds for patient care at Grace Cottage Hospital.

Tai chi at Putney Cares

PUTNEY >> Kate Roome, certified instructor in the Vermont Falls Prevention Tai Chi program, began a new 10-week series of Tai Chi classes for seniors at the Putney Cares Activities Barn on March 18, but spaces are still available.

The classes are every Friday through June 3 from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. and it costs $50 for the series. At 54 Kimball Hill Rd. in Putney. For more information or to register, call Pamela Cubbage at 802-387-5593 or email

Red Cross needs O negative blood

BURLINGTON >> The American Red Cross has a significant need for type O negative blood donors.

Type O negative blood can be transfused to patients with any blood type and is often used in emergency situations. While less than 7 percent of the U.S. population has type O negative blood, hospitals depend on frequent O negative donations to ensure it's always available for patients in need.

Eligible donors with type O negative blood are encouraged to make a whole blood or double red cell donation, where available, through the Red Cross. During a double red cell donation, two units of red blood cells are collected while most of the plasma and platelets are returned to the donor.

Blood donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. Blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

Those who come to donate now through May 15 will be entered to win four single-day tickets to any of 10 Cedar Fair theme parks in the U.S. For a full list of participating parks, visit

Farmers' Market hosts CSA fair

BRATTLEBORO >> March 26 marks the final week for the 10th season of the Winter Farmers' Market. It is also the 9th Annual CSA Fair hosted at Post Oil Solutions' Winter Farmers' Market.

There will be nearly a dozen CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms represented, offering information about farming operations and CSA share options. In addition to the CSA Fair, and the usual delights of the market, Brendan Taaffe will be performing in the lunch café. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden, 157 Main St. For more information, call 802-869-2141 or email

Modern anesthesia focus of Historical Society talk

WALPOLE, N.H. >> On April 1, starting at 7 p.m. at the Walpole Town Hall, the Walpole Historical Society will host Patti Seymour, who will share her knowledge of the man who once resided in her present home, Horace Wells. As a young man, Wells also attended the Walpole Academy, an esteemed institute for young scholars in the area in the early 1800s. With this local connection as a backdrop, listeners will discover that Wells' life path led him to be recognized as the "discoverer of modern anesthesia." Free and open to the public.

Rockin'Ham run

BELLOWS FALLS >> Central Elementary School will be hosting its second annual Rockin'Ham 5K on April 2. The 5K will begin and end at the Rockingham Recreation Area on Playground Road, Bellows Falls. Runners may register online at, or paper registrations may be downloaded at or picked up at Central School, 50 School Street Extension, Bellows Falls. Same-day registration will begin at 9 a.m. on April 2, and the race start time is 10:30 a.m.

New podiatrist starts at BMH

BRATTLEBORO >> In collaboration with Cheshire Medical Center Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Keene, N.H., podiatrist Heidi Newkirk, DPM, will be opening a local office at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, where she will see patients in the Podiatry Department as well as the BMH Center for Wound Healing.

Newkirk holds a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from New York College of Podiatric Medicine in New York, New York and a Bachelor of Science from North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Georgia. She completed her residency in Podiatric Medicine and Surgery at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y., and is qualified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. In addition to joining the staff of the Center for Wound Healing, Dr. Newkirk is an employee of the Department of Podiatry at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene.

"We're delighted to have Dr. Newkirk as a member of our team of talented providers," said Steven R. Gordon, BMH's President and CEO. "Our patients will benefit greatly from her skills and experience."

The BMH Center for Wound Healing provides specialized treatment for non-healing, chronic wounds or wounds that have not significantly improved from conventional treatments. The Center offers offer state-of-the-art treatments such as debridement, biologic skin substitutes, advanced dressings, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

"We treat many patients with foot and leg wounds, so having an experienced podiatrist on staff is important." said Gregory Gadowski, MD, the Center's Medical Director.

Newkirk is accepting new patients and will be at BMH Wednesday and Thursdays. To schedule an appointment, call 603-354-6668.


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