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The New England Rural Health RoundTable (NERHRT) was established in 1997 with funding from the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). A non-profit, membership-driven organization, it serves as a regional rural health advocate for the six New England states.

NE Rural Health Conference
Tackles Substance Abuse

For the first time in its 17 year history, the RoundTable melded its Annual Symposium, “Federal Day” and Oral Health Conference into a seamless whole, unified by the theme of combating substance abuse in rural New England.

Keynote speaker Dr. Harry Chen, Secretary, Agency of Human Services, VT, attributed Gov. Peter Shumlin’s 2014 State of the State address, devoted wholly to substance abuse, as the catalyst for action among all six states. Massachusetts’ Gov. Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency in his state and in June, a New England governors’ conference triggered a regional approach to the problem of opioid use and overdose. Dr. Chen said that in 2013 opiates overtook alcohol as a public health disease. “If it can happen here (Vermont), it can happen anywhere.”

Conference attendees heard encouraging news from A. Kathryn Power, Regional Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) about efforts of the Federal government to coordinate substance abuse and health promotion activities.

Dr. Hugh Silk, Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine & Community Health, University of Massachusetts Medical School, always a favorite speaker at the Oral Health Conference, has for years advocated for the “medical-dental connection.” Doctors, he asserts, still know too little about oral health and how it fits into overall health. Substance abusers can suffer a variety of oral health problems, which Dr. Silk sees in his current work in prisons.

A highlight of the Conference was a new film, “The Hungry Heart,” produced by Bess O’Brien, Kingdom County Productions. O’Brien was on hand to introduce her compelling film, which focused on the efforts of a long time Vermont pediatrician to help young adults in St. Albans, VT, with opioid (and other substances) addiction. The result was a gripping 90-minute of “reality” drama that left some viewers with tears in their eyes.

To read more about the Conference, click here.

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Kim Mohan Named RoundTable Executive Director

Kim Mohan will assume the position of Executive Director on June 11.

In announcing her appointment, Sharon Beaty, RoundTable President, said, “We are delighted to welcome Kim as our new Executive Director. She has 15 years’ experience in rural issues and has been an active member of our Board of Directors for several years. Her leadership and organizational management skills should serve us well as we move into the future.”

In her most recent position, Mohan was the Director of the NorthEast Telehealth Resource Center, Augusta, ME. Before that, she practiced as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NH in a community mental health center. She spearheaded an effort to build a state telehealth network to bring behavioral health and psychiatry services to communities in northern NH. Mohan holds a Master’s degree in Education from Plymouth State University (NH).

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What's New!
  • The RoundTable's new Online Newsletter! We want to bring rural health news to you in the way YOU want to receive it -- electronically.
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