Click here for a pdf copy of the Fall 2015 CONNECTION Newsletter

Greater Fall River 
Health Update
December 1, 2015

Click here for the new WalkFallRiver web site

The Fall River Parent Academy, a community-driven initiative designed to provide educational resources to parents and families, was launched at a two-hour event held on November 21, 2015 at the Kuss Middle School. The event offered parents the chance to learn more about the Academy as well as to sample some of the fifty free classes that will be offered starting in January. "It was a really fun event," commented organizer Barbara Allard, "especially with the Hills Mills Clown Band roaming the halls with their catchy tunes." Following a brief introduction in the school auditorium by Ms. Allard, Superintendent Meg-Mayo Brown encouraged parents to take advantage of the many offerings that have been assembled. Academy courses will include topics on helping students achieve, personal growth, family health and wellness, parenting, community resources and career and professional growth. Click here for more photos and text describing the event.
The Springfield College Center for Wellness Education and Research (CWER) hosted world-renowned neuroscientist and nutrition and diet expert Dr. Nicole Avena on November 19, 2015. Her presentation, "Why Diets Fail" focused on years of research that reveals that sugar is addictive. Dr. Avena has written more than fifty scholarly articles and her recent book, Why Diets Fail, based on her research that suggests that overeating pleasant foods can result in changes to the brain, leading to behavior that resembles addiction. "Along with other leading scientists, Dr. Avena has helped us understand that sugar has powerful addictive effects," commented CWER Director Richard J. Wood. "Given that sugar is hidden in so many of the things that we eat every day, it is no wonder people have such a difficult time maintaining a health weight and metabolism," he added. Founded in 1885, Click here for a 45-minute video of the presentation and here for more photos and text.
The HealthFirst Family Care Center held its Second Annual Health Fair at its Quarry Street headquarters on November 19, 2015. "We have a variety of tables on different topics and fourteen wonderful gift baskets that you can win if you come down." noted RN Case Manager Jessica Millet. "I am going to be stationed at the smoking cessation table. Come and see me!" The event included a raffle for a variety of prizes along with tables featuring a blood pressure and cholesterol screening table, a table featuring the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, and table for the diabetes prevention program at the Fall River YMCA.. 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 one-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
The second Family Fun Night of the Fall River school year was held at the Spencer Borden Elementary School on November 17, 2015. Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard welcomed over 250 parents and children to participate in a program that engages them in some healthy movement while learning about nutrition and a range of community resources that they can access to maintain or improve their health. Participants were offered sessions on nutrition by Rose Couto, RN, of Saint Anne's Hospital and one on movement with Fitness Leaders Mike Ramos and Angelique Henry. Participants also had the opportunity to speak with representatives of twenty-two agencies and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for a 20-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text about the event.
Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company, offers free community education on a variety of topics related to diabetes management. On November 14, 2015 the company sponsored a cooking demonstration by Chef Dana Herbert of Bear, Delaware who prepared a smoked turkey chile verde dish and apple cranberry almond salad that those in attendance had a chance to sample. Chef Dana is a Graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI and has worked at the Four Seasons Restaurant in Boston and has been featured on the Food Network. He came to Fall River as part of Novo Nordisk's Diabetes Academy that teaches people about how to cook low-carb meals at home. He tours the country educating people with diabetes on how they can make their culinary creations delicious, nutritious and sensible for a sugar-free diet. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global health care company with more than ninety years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. Click here for a 25-minute video of his presentation & here for more photos.
The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) held its Annual Meeting and Expo at the DCU Center in Worcester on November 13, 2015. Partners Education and Outreach and Education Coordinator Michael Coughlin and Executive Director David Weed attended the event that focused on "Dismantling Health Inequity Leaders Building Power and Organizing for Justice". Following Keynote Speaker Lauren Smith, MD, MPH, and a review of MPHA accomplishments and major activities by Executive Director Rebekah Geweirtz, a panel of five visionaries from across Massachusetts gave a snapshot on how they are taking action for health equity in their communities. The program concluded with a brief business meeting and the presentation of awards honoring leaders in the field. Click here for more photos and text describing the event.
Members of the Southcoast Worksite Health & Wellness Collaborative enjoyed a presentation by DPH Worksite Wellness Coordinator Shioban Torres, DrPH, MPH, on November 12, 2015 covering the new Massachusetts Wellness Tax Credit as well as the Working on Wellness Program. The first program gives small businesses, under 200 employees, a state tax credit of up to $10,000 for having an employee wellness program. The second program helps Massachusetts employers successfully develop, implement and sustain policies and program to create a supportive work environment and enable employees to engage in healthy behaviors. "Both of these programs can really help employers move ahead to provide positive wellness programming at their worksite," stated Partners Worksite Coordinator and Collaborative Chair Angie Bras. Monthly Collaborative meetings are frequently held at the Sylvia Insurance Company headquarters on Faunce Corner Road in North Dartmouth. Click here for a 37-minute video and here for more photos and text.
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 7, 2015 to provide a health screening to families living in the area, an event also sponsored by The Church of Our Savior in Somerset. "This is our third screening effort here in the Greater Fall River Area," stated UMass-Dartmouth College of Nursing UMass-D Assistant Professor of Nursing Maryellen Brisbois. The group met first in Haiti and then  traveled to Mississippi before choosing do health screenings in the Fall River/New Bedford Area. The clinic offered basic health screening and referrals to local resources for families as well a a chance to get a free flu vaccination on the Southcoast Health Wellness Van. Representatives from the WIC Program, CFC Head Start, the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, Children's Advocacy Center, HealthFirst Dental Program, and United Neighbors of Fall River were also available to talk with families  Click here for a five-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
The Massachusetts Mass in Motion Program invited participants in the four communities participating in the 1422 grant (DP14-1422PHF14) to address diabetes and hypertension to a forum at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission office in Springfield, MA on November 6, 2015. The session featured Gil Penalosa, the Founder and Chair of the Board of the successful Canadian non-profit organization, 8-80 Cities. His organization was created based on a simple philosophy that if you create a great city for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, you will create a successful city for all people. Participants from Fall River, the City of Springfield, and both Franklin and Hampshire Counties met together for four hours to develop a vision and strategic goals to increase walking in their respective communities as part of the 1422 grant. Fall River was one of four Mass in Motion Communities to receive a $440,000 grant each year for four years. Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) is overseeing this grant in collaboration with the HealthFirst Family Care Center and the City's Mass in Motion Project. Click here for a 27-minute video of Mr. Penalosa's presentation and here for more photos and text.
The first Family Fun Night of the Fall River school year was held at the Henry Lord Community School on November 5, 2015. Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard welcomed over 100 parents and children and prepared them to participate in a program that engages them 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 sessions on nutrition by Rose Couto, RN, of Saint Anne's Hospital and one on line dancing with Fitness Instructor Soklim Chhean. Participants also had the opportunity to speak with representatives of eighteen agencies and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for a 25-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event..
The opening of a new 120-bed inpatient behavioral health hospital on Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth, built by Acadia Healthcare provided the occasion for Southcoast Health to hold its second Behavioral Health Summit on November 5, 2015 at the new Southcoast Behavioral Health facility located at 581 Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth. The Summit panel included Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, and State Representative and Speaker Tempore Patricia Haddad who was introduced by Southcoast Health President and CEO Keith Hovan. Speakers included St. Luke's Hospital Emergency Department Physician Jennifer Pope, Stanley Street Treatment and Resources CEO Nancy Paull, and New Bedford Police Chief David Provencher. The event provided a working forum to solicit ideas and potential strategies addressing behavioral health needs that currently exist in the South Coast Region. Click here for a one-hour-42-minute video of the entire session and here for more photos and text.
Mass in Motion Fall River Coordinator Julianne Kelly was one of three panelists presenting on the Health Impact Assessment of the Quequechan Rail Trail at the Mass. Department of Transportation's 2015 Moving Together Conference held on November 4, 2015 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Julie talked about the system, policy and environmental challenges of planning and constructing a new linear park in the center of Fall River's poorest neighborhoods that will address the City's high rate of obesity. A formal health impact assessment of the project was held in 2012. Other panelists included Jackie Schmidt of the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District and Pam Haznar of Mass DOT's District 5. The panel was introduced by moderator Kurt Gaertner from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs who played a leading role in the development of the Rail Trail. The annual Moving Together Conference highlights pedestrian, bicycle and public transportation topics throughout the Commonwealth. Click here for more photos and text..
Local professionals came together at the Boys and Girls Club for their 39th Annual Breakfast Meeting of the Greater Fall River Child Protection Council (CPC) on November 4, 2015. The event began with award presentations to Marcia Picard of Partners and to Family Service Association. The remainder of the meeting was devoted to a presentation on work with Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans Gender youth by Hope Freeman, High Risk Young Adult Specialist at Health Imperatives in Brockton. 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 meets on the first Wednesday of each month at the Boys and Girls Club, 803 Bedford Street, Fall River, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Click here for an 18-minute video of the awards presentation. Click here for a 90-minute video of Ms. Freeman's presentations and here for more photos and text describing the event.
The Bristol Community College (BCC) Seeds of Sustainability Club (SOS) hosted Dr. George Marceau, a chiropractic physician in Swansea, MA on November 4, 2015 to discuss the exercise benefits of gardening for fitness. He combined his holistic education with years of gardening experience to share how gardening can be healthy for you, the community and the environment. He demonstrated easy and practical techniques for safe and injury-free gardening and body fitness. SOS hosts regular workshops on Sustainability at the Fall River campus throughout the semester. The mission of SOS is to promote a sustainable environment on the BCC campus and the surrounding community. The group was founded five years ago by students in the Sustainable Agriculture program. For more information about the Club, contact James Corven or go to the Facebook page. Anyone who Likes the page will receive regular news about events, issues and news. Click here for more photos and text describing the meeting.


Join Dr. David Weed and Registered Dietitian Amanda Raposo on Dec. 1st for a Low-carb Support Group!

Psychologist David Weed, Psy.D. will join Registered Dietitian Amanda Raposo for informal discussion and support for those following or interested in low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss without hunger or to either control or prevent Type II diabetes.

The group has been meeeting every first Wednesday of the month at the Diabetes Management Program, Southcoast Health, 1st Floor of Durfee Union Building, 1, 283 Pleasant St. Fall River.

There is no charge to participate in the group. Participants are free to join the group at any point, though regular participation is encouraged. 

For more information, contact Dr. Weed at 508-324-2411 or by e-mail at Click here for a descriptive flier that you can post!

If you can't make this one, the next one will be on January 6th at noon!


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.