National Bike Month & Bay State Bike Week

bike

Get ready to pedal: May is National Bike Month and May 14th-22nd is Bay State Bike Week! All next week, events will be happening across Massachusetts to promote the social, environmental, and health benefits of riding a bike.

Before you head out on the road, remember, “safety first!” Always wear a helmet while riding a bike and follow the rules of the road. For a list of Bike Safety Tips from the City of Boston, go to http://www.cityofboston.gov/bikes/bikesafety/

Need a bike? Our Dorchester community health centers offer Subsidized Hubway Memberships for low-income Boston residents. Hubway is a bike-sharing service that allows users to rent bikes from stations located across Boston. Annual memberships range from $5-$50 based on income level and a free helmet is included. Visit Geiger Gibson Community Health Center on Thursdays from 1:00PM-3:00PM or Neponset Health Center on Fridays from 9:00AM-11:00AM to apply for a membership!

You can also apply for a membership directly through Boston Bikes.

 

Calling All Dorchester Volunteers

NHC Food Pantry 2The Neponset Health Center Food Pantry provides much needed nutritious food to those in our community who need it most. We are looking for friendly, outgoing, and energetic volunteers!

Where: 398 Neponset Avenue, Dorchester, MA, 02122

When: Every Tuesday; 7:30AM-12PM (required at least 1hour volunteering)

Essential Duties:

  • Move food inside the building.
  • Stock pantry shelves.
  • Pre-bag produce, meat, and vegetables.
  • Distribute bags of food to clients.

*Volunteer must have the ability to lift up to 40 pounds.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information about this volunteer opportunity*, please contact Linda Tran in the Client Services Department of Neponset Health Center by phone: (617)282-3200 x3049 or email: lintran@hhsi.us.

* Non-Harbor Health staff members are encouraged to volunteer but will be required to successfully complete the Human Resources onboarding process.

Harbor Health Services, Inc. Wellness Program Manager Addresses Opioid Crisis at Boston City Council Meeting

Michelle Aceto

Michelle Aceto, CARN, joined a panel of experts at the Boston City Council’s Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery to discuss the current opioid crisis in Massachusetts. “As a society, I believe we have to look at this not only as something that affects others but all of us,” she explained to the Committee. Aceto was joined by John McGahan, President and CEO of the Gavin Foundation, and Maryanne Frangules, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) during the panel discussion.

Lack of funding, training for providers and the negative stigma associated with opioid abuse were cited as key barriers for success in addressing the overall problem. “If we have a diabetic come into our office, we don’t kick them out if they have high blood sugar. We don’t call them dirty, and we don’t call them clean. And we don’t call them food addicts, and that’s what we are doing to our patients.” At Harbor Health, Aceto is conducting monthly provider education meetings on substance abuse treatment. The meetings also the SCOPE of Pain Training, which was developed by the Boston University School of Medicine, for health care providers to become more knowledgeable of and comfortable with safe opioid prescribing.

Aceto oversees the Wellness Program, which  is an Office Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) using Suboxone and Vivitrol program at Harbor Health Services, Inc. The comprehensive program is nurse managed and works closely with Medical Providers, Behavioral Health Providers and Case Managers to ensure continuity of care. For patients interested in the program, please call the Wellness Team Hotline at 508- 778-5469.

Watch the City Council Committee on Homelessness, Mental Health & Recovery Panel (Michelle Aceto at 1:56):

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Dental Emergency Room Visits Double

dental

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), visits to the emergency room (ER) for dental-related issues nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010. The ADA estimates that “up to 79 percent of dental ED visits could be diverted to community settings.” A visit to the ER is expensive and will not offer comprehensive care such as follow-up services or access to an on-site pharmacy. By scheduling regular appointments with a dentist, individuals can ensure that oral health problems are found sooner rather than later, which can save patients money in the long room.

However, if you need to see a dentist and can’t wait to make an appointment, our community health centers provide Urgent Dental Care. Individuals are welcome to walk-in with no appointment neccessary. We provide dental services for the following Massachusetts communities and their neighbors:

Learn more about our Massachusetts health centers by visiting us at www.hhsi.us

 

References

Emergency Department Use for Dental Conditions Continues to Increase http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/Files/HPIBrief_0415_2.ashx

Fear of Travel: Notes from a “Dangerous” Vacation

Vacation

Anxiety has infinite aspects.   There is the daily undercurrent of anxious thoughts in their vast variety, with which we all must cope (some of us much better than others), and there is fear.  Fear can be more problematic, being anxiety amped up a few levels in our primal circuits.  Fear can stop us;   this is called behavioral avoidance, and can become very problematic.  One avoids people.  Or flying in airplanes.   Or going back to school, or any attempt at accomplishment where there is a chance one might fail.  And there is travel outside one’s comfort zone. 

Most American travelers, certainly vacationers, have no use for fear, sticking to the better known traditional places, Cape Cod or Vegas or Europe or a cruise somewhere.  As for travel to less prosperous parts of the so-called “developing” world, which in the Western Hemisphere means much of Latin America, most who travel there at all often think in terms of protected resort communities, Cancun in Mexico probably being the most well-known example.   Or there is Roatan, in Honduras.  Your BH consultant just spent some time in Honduras, but not in Roatan, as the focus was nature:  birds and plants and insects and reptiles and monkeys, which are richly abundant in the countryside, not so much on the beaches of Roatan.  Of course, it is after plans are made and the money is paid that darker realization can set in, in the case of Honduras inspired by historical facts and too much media.  Discomforting facts, such as the well-publicized movement of thousands of Honduran refugees, along with Guatamalans and Salvadorans, many of them children, fleeing the violence of the big cities of their homelands.  Or that Honduras currently has the highest murder rate in the hemisphere, along with the second lowest per-capita income, followed only by Haiti.  Then the news of the Zika virus.   Then the report of the indigenous Honduran woman, a well-known spokesperson for native rights, getting murdered by a death squad. 

Honduras as a vacation destination?  The travel company has run nature trips there for 15 years, the American guide went there with the Peace Corps in the 90s and fell in love with the place.   He has never moved back.  Overcoming fear usually involves some kind of leap of faith;   we took the leap (it turns out nobody else had signed up for this “group trip”) and found a country as blessed by nature as the brochure had promised.  Also visibly impoverished, where malnutrition and sanitation are the biggest public health problems;  there is a national health service but access requires that one travel to a major city.  Most people were getting by, some better than others, but in the countryside nothing close to American prosperity.   Our guide, fanatical about the natural world that still exists there but also in love with the country and its people, was very clear about the fact that Hondurans, for the most part, do not live in fear for their lives, a fact underscored by the many we encountered.  It may be very different in the desperate slums of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, but one could make a similar claim about the south side of Chicago, or (at least until recently) the Lenox Street project right here in Boston.  You don’t hear much about folks being afraid to visit America.  Unfortunately, the media has long known that fear is a product that sells, which is unfortunate for places like Honduras and others like it in too much of the world.  

John Dabrowski,   LICSW
Neponset Health Center
Geiger Gibson Community Health Center