Health News and Notes

Brattleboro OB/GYN offers a new model of group care

BRATTLEBORO >> Brattleboro OB/GYN & Four Seasons Midwifery, a department of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce their CenteringPregnancy site approval. CenteringPregnancy is a holistic childbirth program committed to the empowerment of pregnant women.

"This is an exciting time for our practice as we offer CenteringPregnancy, a nationally recognized model of care," said Cynthia Pearson, Director of Maternal and Child Health.

In CenteringPregnancy, pregnant women with similar due dates join together in a group with their healthcare provider. They receive all the components of prenatal care, including health assessment, education and support. There is a facilitated discussion of pregnancy, birth and newborn care as well as overall health, stress management, etc. Studies in sample populations show Centering care increases breastfeeding rates and duration of breastfeeding. Patient and provider satisfaction are higher than traditional care.

Under the centering model, patients meet with their care provider and other group participants for an extended period of time, usually two hours, at regularly scheduled visits over the course of their care. Centering promotes greater patient engagement, personal empowerment and community building.

More than 500,000 babies are born prematurely in the United States each year, an estimated lifetime cost to society of $26 billion. A 2007 multi-site randomized controlled trial conducted by Yale and Emory researchers found that participation in CenteringPregnancy care reduced the risk of premature birth by 33 percent compared to traditional prenatal care. Researchers concluded CenteringPregnancy care "resulted in equal or improved perinatal outcomes at no added cost."

"We are excited to work with Brattleboro OB/GYN & Four Seasons Midwifery to expand CenteringPregnancy in Vermont. They join a growing number of Centering practice sites throughout the U.S who are demonstrating better outcomes and high patient satisfaction," said Collen Senterfitt, Chief Operating Officer for Centering.

Brattleboro OB/GYN & Four Seasons Midwifery specializes in women's health, obstetrics, and gynecology, and strives to offer patients the most professional attention in healthcare. They have a board certified infertility specialist that provides advanced infertility treatments, and the gynecological services include preventive care for women of all ages, from adolescence to menopause.

For more information about Brattleboro OB/GYN & Four Seasons Midwifery or to learn about CenteringPregnancy, please call 802-251-9965 or visit

Vermont agencies on aging announce 815,000 meals delivered to seniors in 2015

BRATTLEBORO >> March is National Nutrition Month and also the 14th annual "March for Meals," a nationwide campaign coordinated by Meals on Wheels America to honor and raise funds for this vital safety net program. In 2015, 815,000 meals were delivered to seniors across Vermont through the Meals on Wheels program, a public-private partnership that combines federal, state and local funding with the hard work and dedication of Vermont's Area Agencies on Aging, community partners, and thousands of volunteers across the state. That's an increase of 30,000 meals from the previous year.

Meals on Wheels is designed to supplement the nutrition of people age 60 and over and adults with disabilities who face challenges in preparing healthy, adequate meals due to situations such as advanced age, hospital recovery, illness, or physical disability. National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to focus on the importance of home delivered meals, since research shows the program improves health outcomes for frail and vulnerable seniors as well as alleviates isolation and hunger. In fact, Governor Peter Shumlin has declared March 2016 as "March for Meals" month, acknowledging the vital role that Meals on Wheels plays for our neighbors and our communities. Not only do these daily meals fight hunger, malnutrition, falls and chronic disease, they also save tax payer dollars. The cost of one year to receive Meals on Wheels is less than one day in a hospital.

While the Agencies on Aging and our partners were able to deliver 5,000 seniors home delivered meals last year, over 17,000 seniors remain threatened by hunger in Vermont. Need is growing each year: 30% more meals were delivered in 2015 than in 2005. Yet federal funding for the program remains stagnant, and agencies struggle to meet the demand, with some on the verge of creating regional waiting lists. V4A is urging the legislature to help address the growing need by contributing funds through the state waiver that helps keep seniors at home. This would be an important investment in serving vulnerable Vermonters and saving healthcare dollars.

To learn more and donate to your local Meals on Wheels program, call the Vermont Senior HelpLine at 1-800-642-5119.

To connect to your local AAA, visit

Coping strategies for anxiety: A Free Wellness in Windham Health Education workshop

BRATTLEBORO >> Would you like to learn some new skills to better manage excessive worrying, fear, or other types of anxiety? Join for a free community workshop led by therapist Marc Laurens, LICSW, from the Brattleboro Retreat's Anna Marsh Outpatient Clinic. Laurens will demonstrate how to manage common forms of anxiety such as excessive worrying, fears of the unexpected, discomfort in groups, phobias, and PTSD. He will gently guide participants through a variety of cognitive and behavioral exercises designed to identify anxiety "triggers." Each participant will then learn practical coping skills for addressing these "triggers" and decreasing the intensity and duration of anxious feelings.

This educational and experiential community forum is free and open to all. While registration is not required, it is desired for planning purposes. To learn more and register, please visit or contact Jill Terrell-Ouazzani at 802-258-3785.

The workshop is scheduled for March 24, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Brattleboro Retreat's Education Conference Center.

DHS awards $1.2 million to Vermont for substance abuse treatment

BURLINGTON >> U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Friday that the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1,240,794 to four community health centers in Vermont. The health centers will use this new federal funding to expand access to substance abuse treatment.

The Vermont awards are part of $94 million to improve and expand the delivery of substance abuse services announced today by HHS for 271 community health centers in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The funds were authorized by a Sanders provision in the Affordable Care Act that provided $11 billion in funding for community health centers across the country.

"The opioid abuse epidemic is a tragedy in Vermont and all across the country. These much-needed awards will allow our community health centers to serve even more people who desperately need access to services and treatment for addiction," said Sanders, who serves as the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health. "I am pleased to see significant increases in the number of patients accessing health care at community health centers."

This year, Federally Qualified Health Centers in Vermont will serve one in four Vermonters at more than 50 sites across the state. In 2006, fewer than 10 percent of Vermont residents received their health care at community health centers. Health centers deliver primary medical, oral and mental health care services on a sliding fee scale. They also provide low-cost prescription drugs to patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, as well as those without insurance.

"Although I am very pleased with today's announcement, millions of Americans still do not have access to the primary care and substance abuse treatment they need," Sanders said. "Congress must continue to protect and expand community health centers to ensure people in Vermont and throughout the United States have access to health care."

The following Vermont health centers received awards today: Community Health Centers of Burlington, $243,815; Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region, $325,000; Gifford Health Care, Randolph, $325,000; and Northern Counties Health Care, Saint Johnsbury, $346,979


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