Click here for a pdf copy of the Fall 2016 CONNECTION Newsletter

Greater Fall River 
Health Update
October 1, 2016

Click here for the new WalkFallRiver web site

Participants in the statewide CHNAs (Community Health Network Areas) gathered for the seventh Inter-CHNA Gathering at the Framingham Public Library on September 29, 2016. David Aronstein of the Boston Alliance for Community Health emceed the event. The gathering featured presentations by Amanda Winters of the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, a discussion of the proposed Department of Public Health Determination of Need regulations, a presentation on advocacy and lobbying by Andrea Freeman of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, and a presentation on "Jobs Not jails" by Lew Finfer of the Massachusetts Communities Action Network. Click here for a 35-minute video of the opening session with Amanda Winters. Click here for a 56-minute video of Andrea Freeman's presentation. Click here for a 35-minute video of the DON discussion with David Aronstein. Click here for a 29-minute video of Lew Finfer's presentation and here for more photos and text.
People Incorporated and the Narrows Center for the Arts teamed up to offer children in downtown Fall River another  afternoon of pure fun on September 25, 2016. The fourth annual Kids-A-Palooza involved seven different sites from Greater Fall River Re-Creation on Rock Street, to the Government Center Plaza, to People Incorporated Incorporated,  to the Fall River Public Library, to the the YMCA on North Main Street, and to the Greater Fall River Children's Museum. Each offered different fun events including arts, crafts, music, games, a bounce house, face painting and and just plain fun for dozens of children and parents, all for free. Children could also enjoy a swim in the Y pool, and parents could register to win a Kindle Fire. “We do this so families can get out on a fall day and enjoy the downtown area,” said Ann O'Neil Souza of People Incorporated. Click here to see a five-minute video and here for more photos and text.
UMass-Dartmouth nursing student Callie Nunez of Young People in Recovery (YPR) organized a "Steps Toward Recovery Walk" at the UMass-Dartmouth campus athletic field on September 25, 2016. The event featured information and resources from more than 25 organizations, a prescription drug take back, opioid overdose prevention training by Seven Hills Behavioral Health, guest speakers, a drawing for prizes and music provided by Fun 107 and New England Musicians for Heroin Awareness. Stanley Street Treatment and Resources BOLD Coordinator Laura Washington and ARISE Program Coordinator Marie Pelletier were among the resource people there. YPR is an advocacy and support group striving toward empowering and educating those in recovery from addiction. Click here for a three-and-a-half-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
The Bristol Community College (BCC) Campus Police held an afternoon Community Day at the north end of the campus on Saturday, September 26, 2016. As a response to the violence and unease currently afflicting the country, the public was invited to the free event that aimed to bring the entire community together to celebrate unity in a lively and entertaining environment. The jam-packed afternoon featured live entertainment including: Music on Wheels DJ, WiggleKids, bouncy houses, balloon animals and caricatures, Top Rope Promotions Wrestling, and safety demos from Somerset Fire and Police. Fun 107 was there with music, prizes, and Carrie Underwood tickets! Organizations were on hand with community resource information, including the BCC Multicultural Club and Domestic Violence Survivors Club, the H.E.R.O Club, Steppingstone Inc., Dare Family Services and Forever Paws. Click here for a 3-minute   video and here for more photos and text.
The Saint Vincent dePaul Society of Fall River held their annual Friends of the Poor Walk at Kennedy Park on September 24, 2016. The Friends of the Poor® Walk/Run began as a national program with the purpose of providing local Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Conferences and Councils the additional funds to help support their special works projects. Today, that philosophy continues, with Conferences and Councils using the funds from this event to help local people living in poverty. "All the funds that we do receive go into the District Fund of our particular district," stated Fall River District Conference President. "Any family that comes to us in need, whether it be shelter, clothing, food -- whatever their need might be, there's no need foreign to us -- and we help them to the best of our ability," he continued. Click here for a two-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
The HealthFirst Family Care Center held its second annual Walkathon at the Bristol Community College Pond on September 24, 2016. Walkers were challenged to walk three miles by walking around the Pond five times. "On behalf of the fundraising committee, let me say how humbled we are by and grateful we are to the 62 sponsors of our event today," said CEO Julie Almond. "We also very much appreciate all the registrants for walking around the pond her on this beautiful campus at BCC." Proceeds from the event will support the Healthy Smiles Dental Outreach Program at the facility. Since its inception in 1971, daily operations at HealthFirst have been guided by its mission of providing accessible, high-quality, comprehensive primary health care to a diverse community of individuals and families regardless of their life circumstances. Click here for a three-minute video of the event and here for more text and photos.
Southcoast Health Diabetes Educator Michael See, MS, RCEP, CDE, invited dietitian from the region to attend a webinar and discussion on Diabetes and Food: Finding the Right Approach at the HealthFirst Family Care Center on September 13, 2016. The event afforded dietitians to not only to learn new information from the American Association of Diabetes Educators but also to learn from one another. Participants included staff from the HealthFirst Family Care Center, the Southcoast Health Diabetes Management Program, the Stanley Street Treatment and Resources Family HealthCare Center, and the Southcoast YMCA, The seventy-minute webinar was produced by the American Association of Diabetes Educators and covered the best ways to individualize and choose meal plans that promote outcomes in people with diabetes as well as a variety of popular meal plans. Mr. See then led a discussion following the webinar covering the particular challenges that dietitians face in the South Coast and recommendations for working with patients. Click here for a 55-minute video for more photos and text
Students at the Resiliency Preparatory School (RPS) participated in a Start of School Block Party on September 16, 2016 part of which was held outside on Rock Street which had been closed off and the other part inside the building. The event was designed to get students excited for the new year and have some fun before the summer weather is gone. RPS Community Supporters were also honored in an awards ceremony. The student government planned this event to create a positive, welcoming school culture to boost attendance and student engagement. The event helped foster relationship building between staff and students and promoted a safe, fun forum where students felt connected to their learning community. They headed indoors for a watermelon eating contest and some fun with inflatables and sumo wrestling outfits. Click here for a 90-second video and here for more photos and text..
The east end of North Park was filled with exhibitors celebrating the value of trees and offering a variety of educational demonstrations about trees in the Celebration of Trees event on September 17, 2016. "We have a great deal of activities and stations all manned by volunteers from the Fall River Street Tree Planting Program," (FRSTPP) stated  FRSTPP President Mary Ann Wordell. She was joined by Co-president Torrey Adams who will be succeeding the long-standing advocate for the program when she steps down. Exhibits featured leaf identification, reading tree rings, beneficial and bad insects, composting, live bees, storytelling and a professional arborist from Davey Resource Group to answer questions about trees. The event was designed to promote awareness of the benefits that trees bring to a community. Click here for a nine-minute   video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event.
The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and among the largest food banks in the country. More than 54 million pounds of food was distributed by GBFB last year, enough to provide healthy meals to over 500,000 people. GBFB acquires food through food industry product donations, food drives, and financial contributions that enable them  to purchase additional high nutrient quality food. Over 25,000 volunteers help to sort and distribute donated food products. On September 16, 2016, Director of Public Health and Research Kathryn Brodowski, MD, MPH, and Manager of Community Initiatives Christina Peretti met with staff of Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) to explore how SSTAR's South End Services location could become a new distribution location for GBFB. Click here for a 16-minute video of the initial meeting and and here for more photos and text.
Mass in Motion Coordinator Julianne Kelly invited Senator Michael Rodrigues to tour the the new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail on September 12, 2016. "I've seen so many beautiful pictures," commented the Senator, "but this is my first actual look," said the Senator who played a major role in securing the funding for the construction of the Trail. Named for local historian and planner Alfred J. Lima, the Trail follows a plan for a Quequechan River Greenway, drawn up by Lima, that includes improvements to Britland Park. Plans were first presented in April, 2011 and reviewed in 2012 along with other efforts to make Fall River more bicycle-friendly. The project created a ten foot wide paved surface with three foot grass shoulders that runs over a former railroad bed and five timber bridges to connect with Britland Park and Rodman Street and eventually the existing path that begins at the Westport Town line along South Watuppa Pond. Click here for a 12-minute video of the first part of the walk and here for more photos and text.
As a noontime shower ended, the fifteenth Annual Narrows Festival of the Arts on Anawan and Water Streets began on September 11, 2016. Work by dozens of local artisans were on display under white tents set up along Anawan Street, The event featured visual artists and a full schedule of musicians including TJ's Music Allstars, Butch McCarthy, Ghosts of Paul Rever and Roy Sludge on the indoor stage and the Tim Ray Trio, Alexis Suter Band,  Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound and Amy Helm on the outdoor stage. The Fall River Children's Museum was on hand to provide activities for children.. The program is supported, in part by a grant from the Fall River Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as well as Bank Five, BayCoast Bank, Fall River Municipal Credit Union, Borden & Remington Corp., Whaling City Sound, and Big Blue Car Wash. Click here for the Herald News article. Click here for photos the 2013 Festival. Click here for a three-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.

Attendance matters for success, both in school and in life. When a student is absent from school, he/she misses out on opportunities to learn and succeed. The Empty Chair is a symbol that stresses the importance of attendance and the fact that a teacher cannot teach an empty chair. This initiative by the Mayor’s and Superintendent's Attendance Task Force is part of a strategy to develop a culture of attendance. Understanding that everyone in the community has a stake and a role in ensuring that every student attends school every day, the group came up with the idea of a "high five" greeting event on the first day of school, September 7, 2016. School and elected officials were joined by police and fire department personnel, agency and medical personnel and members of the private business and service community to greet students as they entered each of the eleven elementary school city-wide. Click here for the Herald News article. Click here for a seven-minute video of the event at three of the eleven schools and here for more photos and text.

Parents and students at the South Elementary School in Somerset were invited to help kick-off the school's year-long wellness activities before the start of the school year on August 31, 2016, as part of their health and wellness initiative to promote healthy minds, healthy bodies and a healthy spirit. School Principal Dr. Joann Pereira welcomed parents and students and invited them to sample some smoothies made with fresh strawberries made by Saint Anne's Hospital Registered Dietitian Courtney Faiola at an informational table organized by Clinical Nutrition Manager Marin Woods. Parents and children were also able to learn more about sugar-sweetened beverages from Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard. Following the information tables, parents and children joined Dr. Pereira for a groundbreaking of six garden plots outside the school. Students will work with teachers to plant seeds and monitor their growth throughout the school year. "They will also be caring for an indoor garden during the wintertime," stated parent volunteer Johncie Borden. Click here for a six-minute video and here for more photos and text.
Psychologist Dr. David Weed made a brief presentation to members of the Fall River Rotary at their weekly meeting of September 1, 2016 at White's Restaurant in Westport. Entitled "How to End the Obesity and Diabetes Crisis in America and the World", Dr. Weed's presentation made the case for changing the current USDA dietary recommendations that limit dietary fat to one that limits carbohydrates and restores dietary fats to the level that they were before the crisis began in 1980. Dr. Weed explained the rationale for lifting limits on dietary fats while cutting back on carbohydrates as the key factor in lowering both rising obesity and diabetes rates. This approach to reducing obesity by reducing dietary carbohydrates and increasing fat is backed by years of research that contradicts current recommendations. Click here for a twenty-minute video of the presentation, here for Dr. Weed's PowerPoint slides and here for more photos and text describing the presentation.
An Overdose Awareness Week running from August 28th through September 3rd was organized to bring to light the ongoing problem of opioid overdoses in the City and to highlight the variety of resources available to victims. A candlelight vigil was organized on on International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, 2016, on the plaza in front of Government Center to bring people together in unity. Following the vigil, participants joined a procession from Government Center along South Main Street to the steps of Saint Anne's Shrine across from Kennedy Park. Following a prayer by Father Jay Mello, fifty-five bells were tolled, one for each overdose victim so far this year. The event is in response to the steady rise in overdose deaths in Fall River over the past several years, with numbers moving from 16 in 2013 to 44 in 2014 and 36 in 2015. Click here for a 19-minute video and here for more photos.
An Overdose Awareness Week running from August 28th through September 3rd was organized to bring to light the ongoing problem of opioid overdoses in the City and to highlight the variety of resources available to victims. A candlelight vigil was organized on on International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, 2016, on the plaza in front of Government Center to bring people together in unity. Following an invocation by Rev. Robert Lawrence and remarks by Mayor Jasiel Correia II, Recover Fall River Organizer Laurie Godwin invited Bill Desmarais to hand out white homing pigeons for survivors to release. Following music by John Botelho, Officer Kevin Lopes spoke about his experiences helping one family deal with addiction and Joan Paquette Pearce spoke about losing her daughter to overdose. The evening concluded with statements by Kathy,lRagael, and William Scannell and a 12-minute video.. Click here for a 50-minute video and here for more photos and text.
An Overdose Awareness Week running from August 28th through September 3rd was organized to bring to light the ongoing problem of opioid overdoses in the City and to highlight the variety of resources available to victims. Stanley Street Treatment and Resources BOLD Coordinator Laura Washington gathered volunteers in Lower Kennedy Park on International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, 2016, who agreed to take literature door to door in neighborhoods across the City that helped people recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and the resources available to treat it.. The event is in response to the steady rise in overdose deaths in Fall River over the past several years, with numbers moving from 16 in 2013 to 44 in 2014 and 36 in 2015. Click here for a three-and-a-half-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event.
A new farmers' market opened at 45 Rock Street on August 9, 2016 in the lobby of Greater Fall River Re-Creation headquarters. Partners Market Manager Annemarie Holly was on hand to welcome shoppers along with Receptionist Gillian Martin as people enter the building. Produce from Skinny Dip Farm in Little Compton and others was available, including cucumbers, squash, cherry tomatoes, and onions offered at very reasonable prices. While quantities were limited, shoppers could use farmers' market coupons or SNAP benefits along with Partners Farmers' Market tokens. The Coupon Program for Elders is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and coupons were made available to elders at least 60 years of age, who have limited income, through Bristol Elder Services, Inc. Other markets that accept the coupons are at Kennedy Park and Ruggles Park, as well as other markets around the state. Click here for a one-minute video and here for more photos and text.
Dozens of people line up outside the Pine Street door of First Baptist Church across from the YMCA every Tuesday afternoon to receive produce from the Greater Boston Food Bank at the Fall River Food Pantry. On many occasions, the fresh produce that is offered is not all taken, often leaving boxes of food for which there is no refrigerated storage. On those occasions, the hundred or so people who eat at the weekly Branch Community Supper on Tuesday evenings are invited to help themselves to the left over produce. On August 31, 2016  were on hand to get the boxes ready for people to choose. Produce that day included lots of salad greens, green onions, cole slaw, and asparagus as well as an assortment of apples, peaches, plums, bananas, melons limes, and oranges. Click here for a one-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text about the event.

Over half of Americans now have diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you’re one of them, you should attend this presentation!

A free one-hour presentation at the Fall River YMCA, 199 N. Main Street

Saturday, October  22nd @ 10:00 a.m.

No registration required!


A Low-Carbohydrate, Whole-Foods Approach to Managing Diabetes

Many clinicians continue to prescribe a low-fat meal plan for diabetes management. While this approach works well for some people, its carbohydrate content may be too high for people who are trying to optimize their blood glucose control or for people who prefer to eat fewer carbohydrates. 

Research has demonstrated that carbohydrate restriction improves insulin resistance. Since 2008, the American Diabetes Association has recognized that low-carbohydrate diets may be effective for weight loss and blood sugar control in people with diabetes and pre-diabetes. 

This one-hour presentation by David S. Weed, Psy.D., Executive Director of Greater Fall River Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc,. will provide a brief review of the research on carbohydrate restriction, discuss its role in diabetes management, and offer practical guidance for those interested in following a low-carbohydrate eating pattern.

For more information, email


Healthy City Fall River Update is sent to over 500 participants in Healthy City Fall River, a partnership between the City of Fall River and Partners for a Healthier Community with a mission to improve the health status of all those who live or work in the City of Fall River. For further information about Healthy City Fall River, go to To see all of the web pages describing Healthy City activities, go to In order to send announcements of Healthy City events or to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, contact the Coordinator at Agencies: please add this e-mail address or our fax number (508-324-2429) to your standard media notification list so we can cover your event on the Healthy City Update.