Click here for a pdf copy of the Fall 2014 CONNECTION Newsletter

Healthy City Fall River Update 

November 30, 2014

Click here to see the 2014-2019 Action Plan

Click here for the new video, "Fed Up on the South Coast"

UMass-Dartmouth College of Nursing students, who are part of a Global Health Collaborative, came to the Congregational Christian Church in Somerset, MA on November 22, 2014 to provide a health screening to families living in the area, and event also sponsored by The Church of Our Savior in Somerset. "We're part of a global health collaborative that the students started," stated UMass-D Assistant Professor Maryellen Brisbois at the College of Nursing "We met first in Haiti and then we traveled to Mississippi, and then we decided we would do health screening in the Fall River/New Bedford Area. Today we have a clinic and we're doing basic screening and some outreach to  families in the area," she added. The project was organized by Dr. Brisbois and Wendy Garf-Lipp, Executive Director of United Neighbors of Fall River and Chairperson of the Coalition for Health and Well-Being. Click here for photos of another effort to help homeless families. Click here for a three-and-a-half-minute video of the event. Click here for more photos and text.
About a dozen men volunteered for a Cities of Service event to install playground equipment at two City parks on a chilly 2014 November 22nd Day. The equipment was purchased through a grant from the Mayor Bloomberg Philanthropy Cities of Service Grant received earlier in the year. The crew worked at both Abbott Court Park in the City's South End and at Turner Park in the North End. Dave Perry from the Department of Community Maintenance was on hand to direct the operation. Volunteer Tom Gagne, who lives in Somerset but works in Fall River, was one of the volunteers who donated their time and labor to get major equipment into the ground before winter. The remainder of the installation will be completed in the spring. Click here for a brief video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event.
The New Bedford Wellness Initiative, an effort to raise health awareness with the goal to help prevent disease and recover from illness through healthy living and not just medications, organized an airing of the documentary film, "The Connection: Mind Your Body" on November 21, 2014 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The film features scientists, researchers, writers and doctors, as well as remarkable true stories of people adding mind body medicine to their healing toolkit to recover from severe back pain, heart disease, infertility, cancer and multiple sclerosis. It shows that emotions can impact the course of an illness for better or worse and could even be the difference between life and death. Following the film, a panel including organizer and local cardiologist Dr. Michael Rocha, Dr. Jeffrey Rediger, Dr. Kimberly D'Eramo, and Dr. Mario Torres-Leon, and radio personality Phil Paleologos engaged the audience in a discussion of the implication of the film's main points. Click here for more photos and text of the event.
Greater New Bedford Allies for Health and Wellness, CHNA 26, held their third Health Equity Summit on the topic of Veterans' Health on November 21, 2014 at the Fort Taber Community Center. Following a welcome by Allies Chairperson Barbara Acksen, Cheryl Lussier Poppe, Acting Superintendent of the Soldiers Home in Chelsea, MA, Department of Veterans' Services, gave the keynote address. She outlined that range of services and resources that are available to returning veterans. Following her remarks, a panel of local experts  included Veterans Agents Dan Le Blanc of Freetown and Chris Gomes of New Bedford.Helena DaSilva Hughes of the Immigrants Assistance Center described the unique problems of the immigrant veteran. Stacey Edwards of the U.S. Department pf Veterans Affairs. Ben Cluff of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Cecil Hickman of  Dog Tags Navigators of Massachusetts. Click here for a video of the  event and here for more photos and text.
The HealthFirst Family Care Center held its Second Annual Diabetes Health Fair at its Quarry Street headquarters on November 20, 2014. "We also want to increases smoking cessation awareness as today in the Great American Smoke-out Day," noted dietitian and diabetes educator Pam Bermudez who works at HealthFirst. The event included a raffle for a variety of prizes along with tables featuring information on sugar-sweetened beverages, a blood pressure and cholesterol screening table, a table featuring the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, and table for a number of diabetes products and insurance providers. People were able to visit the exhibits and talk with a variety of providers as they came to the clinic for their regular appointments. HealthFirst is a resource for people struggling through difficult times, whether unemployed, a single parent or a recent immigrant. Click here for a  three-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
A crew from the Fall River Traffic Department have installed over thirty bicycle racks throughout the City in order to complete a grant awarded by the Southeastern Regional Economic Development and Planning District (SRPEDD) with the assistance of the Fall River Bicycle Committee earlier this year. Two of those staff, Joe Dewsnap and Kevin Raposa, were interviewed on November 19, 2014 as they did one of the last installations on the sidewalk next to the Academy Building on Old Second Street. "People have really appreciated having these installed," stated Traffic Department Worker Joe Dewsnap. The two-man crew did the installations over just a few days. "This project will really help the growing number of bicyclists throughout the City who need a secure place to lock their bicycles that doesn't depend on their using fences, trees, or other inappropriate means of locking their bikes," commented Fall River Mass In Motion Coordinator Julianne Kelly  Click here for an two-minute video of the installation and here for more photos & text..
About 50 students at the Morton Middle School, and their parents, came out on a cold November 19th night for a special Family Matters event with a focus on fitness and nutrition. The program engaged students and their parents in some healthy fun while learning about nutrition and a range of community resources that they can access to maintain or improve their health. Participants were offered a nutrition education session with Ann Duhaime of the 21st Century after-school program and a fun workout with multi-talented facilitators Soklim Chhean and Nancita Alejandro, as well as the chance to speak with representatives of agencies including Child and Family Services, Children's Advocacy Center, Citizens for Citizens, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, HealthFirst Dental Program, Katie Brown Educational Program, Road to Healing, Saint Anne's Hospital, Smash Table Tennis Club, Southoast Health, United Neighbors of Fall River, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering it Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for a 23-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event.
The Diabetes Association (DAI) of People Incorporated, Saint Annes Hospital and the YMCA Southcoast celebrated World Diabetes Day at a collaborative resource fair held on November 13, 2014. Using space at the People Incorporated  Main Street headquarters, the three groups invited educators and vendors to the free five-hour event that was open to the public and designed to raise awareness about the effects of type I and type 2 diabetes in the Greater Fall River community. "We have a great program here," noted John Quintas of the DAI. Educational speakers included Saint Anne's Hospital Dietitioan Laurie Hammontree, YMCA Southcoast Diabetes Prevention Project Manager Lu Brito, and PrimaCare Foot Care Specialist Jennifer Fichter. Informational tables included those offered by BMC HealthNet Plan, HealthFirst Dental Program, Novo Nordisk, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge and "Fed Up on the South  Coast" educational video. Click here for an eight-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Southcoast Health, which has added a second Southcoast Health Van, set up a health screening for employees of Fall River Government Center and the public in the atrium off the first floor lobby on November 7, 2014. Fall River Mass in Motion Coordinator, Julianne Kelly, who arranged the screening, stated "This is a terrific opportunity for employees and the public to take a few minutes to learn if they have health problems that can be spotted early and corrected through lifestyle changes or medical treatment." The team of two nurses from Southcoast Health spent four hours offering blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol screenings at no charge. "We would much rather find problems early when they can be successfully treated," noted Southcoast nurse TerrI Gomes who works on the Health Van. A second van is now used primarily for blood donation drives which are also offered at Government Center from time to time. Click here for a two-minute video of one employee having a screening and here for more photos and text.
Ten representatives of Massachusetts State Departments, Mass in Motion communities, and several local food policy councils gathered in the conference room of the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission in Worcester on November 6, 2014 for a meeting called by the Massachusetts Food Policy Alliance. The four-hour session offered the opportunity for participants to exchange information and ideas on how to improve the network of food policy councils including creating connections among Mass in Motion communities and Community Health Network Areas (CHNAs). Many are currently contributing to the Massachusetts Food System Plan being developed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The mission of the Food Policy Alliance is to bring together diverse stakeholders across the food system, from farmers to consumers, to create a sustainable, systematic, effective and inclusive food policy for Massachusetts. The Alliance was formed in 2007 but has been inactive recently until consultant Winton Pitcoff called this meeting. Click here for more photos and text about the meeting.
About 75 parents and children came to the Doran Elementary School on a rainy night for a Family Fun Night on November 6, 2014. This program engages students and their parents in some healthy fun while learning about nutrition and a range of community resources that they can access to maintain or improve their health. Participants were offered a nutrition education session with Saint Anne's Hospital nurse Rose Couto, a fun workout with Suzanne and Mike Ramos, as well as the chance to speak with representatives of agencies including BMC HealthNet Plan, Child and Family Services, CVS Minute Clinics, Department of Children and Families, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, HealthFirst Dental Program, People Incorporated, Southoast Health, WIC, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering it Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for a 29-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event.
The Shepherd Center of Fall River, an interfaith volunteer organization, held one of its Lifetime Learning sessions on November 5, 2014, at Bay View in the City's North End. These sessions share knowledge, talents, skills and new interests in a mutual quest for life-long learning and personal growth among seniors in the Greater Fall River community. The Fall Semester included presentations on spirituality, travel, literature and personal enrichment through memoirs.The November 5th session invited Healthy City Fall River Coordinator David Weed to talk about the new video "Fed Up on the South Coast" that describes the dietary recommendations that led to the current crisis of overweight and obesity. "There's an important story that needs to be told about how the nutrition crisis developed in America and now all over the world" said Weed. Click here for a four-and-a-half-minute video of some of the presentation and here for more photos and text..
Local professionals came together at the Durfee High School Tradewinds Restaurant for the Fall Training sponsored by the Greater Fall River Child Protection Council (CPC) on November 5, 2014. The event began with the award of two Community Service Awards, one to Michelle Lorranger from the Children's Advocacy Center and the other to longtime CPC member and officer Beverly Souza who is retiring. The education program was designed to update participants on the new tobacco products and other addictive substances that pervade the community and was led by Tobacco Control Coordinator Marilyn Edge  Formed in 1976 as a project of the Clinical Social Work Department of St. Anne's Hospital, the Child Protection Council deals with issues and problems related to the network of children's protection care. The Council also provides cash assistance to single parents in need through Gammons funds. Click here for a 12-minute video of Beverly Souza's remarks and the beginning portion of Ms. Edge's presentation and here for more photos & text.
Over seventy representatives of statewide CHNAs (Community Health Network Areas), members of hospital community benefits committees, and employees of the Department of Public Health gathered for the Second Annual Inter-CHNA Conference held in Canton, MA on October 31, 2014. Entitled "Building Strong Partnerships". the gathering was a follow-up to the first Roundtable held on October 23, 2013 and sought to examine the common mission of CHNAs and hospital community benefits committees. The program began with remarks from panelists David Aronstein of the Boston Alliance for Community Health, Kerry Mello of Southcoast Health, John Riordan of Boston Children's Hospital, and Lisa Wolff of Health Resources in Action and ended with a discussion of advocacy led by Massachusetts Public Health Association Field Director Andrea Freeman. Click here for a 15-minute video and here for a 2-hour-21-minute video of the meeting and here for more photos
A new Social Capital Inc. AmeriCorps Volunteer funded, through the United Way of Greater Fall River, and supported by Partners for a Healthier Community and United Neighbors of Fall River began is work in late September 2014. Micah Savitzky of Providence chose to work with the United Way, Partners and United Neighbors for a year to acquire experience in human services and to give back to the Greater Fall River community. As Food Justice Coordinator, he will divide his time among a number of food justice projects, including the Greater Fall River Food Pantry and associated organizations, the Plentiful Plates Program and working on a number of projects related to Partners 2014-2019 Action Plan including outreach to homeless families living in motels in Somerset and Swansea. On one of his first assignments, he assisted volunteers at the First Baptist Church with packing and distributing food at the Tuesday Food Pantry distribution. Click here for a brief video introduction and here for more photos and text.


Get Ready for the 8th Annual Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge Health Fair

Coming, Saturday, January 10, 2015, 10 a.m. - Noon

at Kuss Middle School

For more information and to register for an exhibit table, contact Annemarie Holly at 508-679-0922.


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.