At the heart of Greater Seacoast Community Health is a team of dedicated health and family service professionals, volunteers, partners and donors committed to one mission: making health services and support accessible to ALL. This report highlights how, together, we are emerging from the COVID pandemic and turning our attention to the many other health and wellness challenges facing our community — from workforce challenges, to Hepatitis C, to access to care for people experiencing homelessness.
With every conversation, every donation, every hour spent volunteering for our programs or events, and every time you share your expertise, you provide a gift to this organization and mission. Your contributions allow us to continue reducing health disparities in the Seacoast area as well as to shape a larger, more equitable health care system for everyone.
I am proud and humbled to be one of many leaders of Greater Seacoast Community Health. Here are just a few of the things we accomplished together last year:
Together, with our Board of Directors and Leadership team, I extend my deepest gratitude to all who supported our mission, our patients and each other in 2022. You are greatly appreciated.
Chief Executive Officer
IN ALL PROGRAMS
The value of discounted services provided to our patients who qualify for our sliding fee scale
The positive economic impact we had on the community through direct and indirect spending
After an intensive, year-long application and review process, our Family Center achieved designation as a Family Resource Center of Quality (FRCQ) by the Wellness and Primary Prevention Council of the NH legislature. This designation highlights the Family Center’s vital role in providing support for families and connecting them to other services and resources available at our health centers.
With designated office and program space at Families First in Portsmouth, the Family Center is the only FRCQ located in a community health center. This provides a convenient space for families to access care – bringing more visitors, patients, and partners to our services.
The Family Center provides parent education, support groups, home visiting, kinship navigation, and playgroups, in Portsmouth, Somersworth, Epping, Exeter and online. Read more …
Like much of the health care industry, we’ve been impacted by the “Great Resignation.” Our response was to work to make our agency an employer of choice and increase retention through a stronger focus on staff appreciation, employee engagement and job satisfaction. A key driver was a year-long contract with Resilience and Hope to help us address occupational stress and burnout, promote workplace resiliency and strengthen staff physical and emotional well-being. The program included acupuncture and Chinese medicine practices, coupled with resiliency skill-building sessions and access to free counseling.
Another offering for employees last year were four Intro to Mindfulness Meditation sessions, offered on paid work time. We will soon launch Greater Seacoast University, a comprehensive year-round training program to build employee skills at all levels, as well as having supervisors conduct annual “stay interviews” to promote retention.
With the number of medical residents working at Goodwin Community Health through the Portsmouth Regional Hospital/Tufts University Family Medicine Residency Program now at full strength – 12 residents – space was tight. We renovated a section of the health center to create eight patient rooms, a lab and more office and conference space.
“The additional space supports the interdisciplinary nature of our services,” says Dr. Joann Buonomano, Chief Medical Officer and a member of the program’s core faculty. “Patients can stay in the rooms after their exams to meet with behavioral health counselors, specialized addiction nurses and a child development specialist. Social workers and enrollment specialists often leverage the visit as well. Resident physicians learn to provide holistic and customized services, thereby supporting integrated services and health equity.” Read more…
These donors contributed $1,000 or more in 2022.
These donors contributed up to $999 in 2022.
These individuals have made planned gifts to sustain the health of our community.
In 2022, social worker Lisa LeBlanc rejoined the Greater Seacoast Community Health team for her dream job as the Mobile Health Care Coordinator. She originally started with Families First in 2015 and after a brief departure, Lisa found that her heart was truly in community health care and chose to return.
“It’s wonderful to be back amongst like-minded people who have that flame of passion for the work that we do,” she said. “I love my job.”
LeBlanc travels with the mobile health team to locations throughout the Seacoast to provide care for those who might otherwise not be able to access it. She helps patients with the paperwork required to obtain outside services and benefits and gives out essential items such as food and clothing, which have been generously donated. LeBlanc says she greatly appreciates that she and the mobile health care team focus on the best interest of the patients in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Read more…
In recognition of the quality of our Hepatitis C program, Deneige Hudanish, RN, was chosen for a 10-person statewide panel working to improve the state’s strategies to eliminate viral hepatitis and to ensure that people who inject drugs are included in the plan. Deneige, who also works in our Medication Assisted Recovery program, is passionate about removing the stigma around Hepatitis C, which often causes people to delay seeking treatment for it.
“With Hepatitis C, there is a clear outcome if someone takes the medication as prescribed,” she says. “Being able to provide this treatment for people actively using substances or with a lot of barriers is rewarding. They often don’t expect to get treatment.” While many other medical providers will not treat patients for HepC until they’ve achieved six months of recovery, Deneige says, “we are unique as we will treat someone who’s actively using drugs or unhoused. We make our program as low-barrier as possible.” Read more…
Thanks to Our Volunteers
Physician and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Dr. Geoffrey “Jeff” Clark was a volunteer board member for Families First, a member of the Greater Seacoast Community Health Advisory Council, and, with his wife Martha (pictured at left), served as Honorary Co-Chair of the recent capital campaign to fund our new Portsmouth location.
Dr. Clark’s dedication to community health, and the entire community, is inspiring. Simply said, he made things happen. He did this for people he never met — our patients and for the beneficiaries of countless Seacoast non-profit organizations.
Dr. Clark accepted uninsured Families First patients at his gastroenterology practice, charging them the same income-based discounted rates offered at Families First. He believed strongly that every person deserves quality medical and dental care, regardless of their financial means.
Twenty years ago, Families First was preparing to become one of the first community health centers in the state to integrate dental care – a big challenge for a team with no experience running a dental practice. Fortunately, Dr. Alphonse “Skip” Homicz was transitioning out of private practice and looking to build on a commitment to serving vulnerable populations that had begun with 10 trips to Haiti to set up street dental clinics.
Over the next 15 years, he gave many hours, both as volunteer dental director — designing protocols, recruiting and mentoring dentists, making choices about facility design, soliciting financial support and volunteer time from fellow dentists — and with “gloves on hands” in the Dental Center and the mobile clinics he initiated for people experiencing homelessness. Dr. Homicz used to say, “I no longer need to go to Haiti because there is great need here.” As an advocate at the regional, state and national levels for systemic change, he also helped improve the landscape of access to oral health care in New Hampshire.
Josephine “Jo” Lamprey, a retired nurse and healthcare consultant initially served as a board member for Families First. She worked for three years to help merge Families First and Goodwin Community Health into Greater Seacoast Community Health, then served as a board member for the new organization.
“Jo was one of the smartest women I’ve had the privilege to work with,” said CEO Janet Laatsch. “She was 100 percent committed to the success of the new organization, our staff, and our mission.”
“She was a great mentor to many of us throughout the Seacoast and across the state,” Laatsch added. “Our community health centers benefited from her generous spirit over many years, and we are a better organization because of her involvement.”
To deliver innovative, compassionate, integrated health services and support that are accessible to all in our community, regardless of ability to pay.
To provide everyone in our community an opportunity to live a long and healthy life.
Compassion, Respect, Integrity, Collaboration, Excellence
David Staples, DDS,Secretary
8 Greenleaf Woods Drive
Portsmouth, NH 03801
311 Route 108
Somersworth, NH 03878
311 Route 108
Somersworth, NH 03878
Header photographs by Anthony Riso (first and last photos); Matt Parker (father and son, doctor and child); and Greater Seacoast Community Health staff.
Please Understand …
We are experiencing continued staffing shortages and adjusting to a recent upgrade to our technology to serve you better. This may affect wait times and access to some services. Please be patient and kind with our staff, both on our phones and in our centers. We are doing our very best to serve you. Thank you.