Questions About Vaccines? Please Ask!
Which ‘P’ Do You Choose to Be?
Join us at a Community Forum About Mental Health Treatment in the ER – May 3
Free Screening: Vaccines – Calling the Shots
10 Tips to Stay Physically Active
Reasons to Get Out and About in Our Community
Move of the Month: Push-Up Progression
One More Reason… to Visit Your Local Library
Childhood Sets the Stage for Everything

Questions About Vaccines? Please Ask!

By: Leah Hollenberger

The topic of vaccines and immunizations can be an emotional one. Certainly, as a parent, we want to protect our community, but at the same time, we want to do what is best for our child and avoid any harm. I did some reading on my own and, I am sure many of you can agree, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information and opinion that is available today.

I spoke with pediatrician Adrienne Pahl, MD with Appleseed Pediatrics. Dr. Pahl encouraged me to talk with my doctor. “Share your concerns, share what you are worried about with your doctor,” Dr. Pahl said.  “We can talk about current studies and findings and talk through recommendations with you. The most important thing to remember is that it is ok to ask.”

Dr. Pahl believes that vaccines are safe and effective and should be administered unless the child is unable to be vaccinated due to other health reasons. She bases her belief on extensive scientific evidence demonstrating the safety of vaccines and having cared for thousands of children. She explains that while we may not see many of the diseases for which we vaccinate, the bacteria and viruses that cause them are still around – here and in other countries. Vaccinations, along with better nutrition, better living conditions, hand-washing, and appropriate use of antibiotics, has meant many of us have never had to deal with an outbreak of polio or mumps. Her goal is that we never have to.

Here are several resources Dr. Pahl recommends to parents interested in learning more about vaccines:

Healthychildren.org – The American Academy of Pediatricians has a website that covers a wide variety of information of interest to parents. They have a number of articles about vaccines and immunizations, including a good FAQ.

Oktoaskvt.org – The Vermont Department of Health’s website about vaccines. Look here for information about state vaccine requirements. Dr. Pahl especially likes this site because of the “Ask” section: you can submit your questions about vaccines and local medical professionals will answer them.

What We Know About Vaccines and Autism – A blog article from UVM about vaccines and autism

Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – Comprehensive and reliable information about vaccines for patients and healthcare professionals.

A listing of community resources for a variety of issues and topics is available online at copleyvt.org/community-resources.

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Which ‘P’ Do You Choose to Be?

By: Michele Whitmore

I am a positive person. In fact, people often ask me how I stay so positive. My response is that I choose to be. There are days when it would be much easier to choose the other ‘P’ (pessimism), but as I have learned from many others, the easy way is not always the right way or the best way when making a decision. Here are a few tips that I have used to help me stay on the positive path.

  • Whether your day will be a positive one or not is a choice we all make before getting out of bed. So, first thing in the morning, make the decision to have a positive day. Sure, some things may go south, but try not to let that impact the rest of your day.
  • Live life simply. Don’t try to keep up with anyone but yourself.
  • If your life is feeling a bit dysfunctional, remember: we all have our own challenges or dysfunctions. It’s kinda normal. And it’s ok.
  • Find time for self-reflection or self-improvement. Our lives are busy; we often over–schedule ourselves. It’s important to take time each day to “meet with ourselves” – check in, breathe deep, shut off your mind for a few minutes, and just be.

We all have this choice to make every day. Choose wisely and own it.

Michele Whitmore is the Associate Dean of Students at Johnson State College. She works closely with Student Service Departments within the College to provide purposeful events to students that will strengthen their professional leadership, personal growth, life skills development and social engagement. Thus far, the College has provided educational programs that cover LGBTQ issues, alcohol and drug use, sexual assault prevention, socio-economic struggles, and healthy choices related to eating well and being fit, to name a few.

Michele writes about the outreach and program opportunities that enhance the wellness of a campus community.

Join us at a Community Forum About Mental Health Treatment in the ER – May 3

Join Copley Hospital for an important discussion about mental health care on Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. at Green Mountain Technology & Career Center.

The event will feature “Nowhere to Go: Mental Health Treatment in the ER”, a multi-media presentation produced by the Copley Hospital Ethics Committee in collaboration with students in the Creative Media, Art & Design class at Green Mountain Technology & Career Center.

A panel discussion and Q&A session with professionals working on the front lines of mental health care will follow the presentation:

Michael Brigati, Emergency Services Nurse Director, Copley Hospital
Monique Reil, Mobile Crisis Team Manager,  Lamoille County Mental Health Services
Dale Porter, RN, Emergency Services

We hope you will join us for this important community conversation about mental health, its challenges, and what is needed to improve care.

Free Screening: Vaccines – Calling the Shots

By: Leah Hollenberger

There has been a lot of information shared regarding vaccinations and their safety. An upcoming free film and discussion may help answer some of your questions.

The film, “Vaccines – Calling the Shots,” is from NOVA, the long-running, award-winning science documentary series from PBS. The film will be followed by a Q&A with providers from the Hardwick Health Center. Come watch the movie and join in the conversation Thursday, April 27 at 6:30pm at the Greensboro Free Library.

This NOVA film highlights that diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago—whooping cough, measles, mumps—are returning. NOVA takes viewers around the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations, hear from parents wrestling with vaccine-related questions, and shed light on the risks of opting out.

It is a good opportunity to talk candidly with primary care providers about vaccine safety, the risks of opting out, and any other concerns you may have.

For details, call 472-3300.

This free event is sponsored by the Hardwick Health Center. Presentations at the Greensboro Free Library are part of an open and free exchange of views, and may not necessarily represent the views of the library.

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

10 Tips to Stay Physically Active

By: Rorie Dunphey

Spring is a time of growth and a perfect time to start being more active. Being physically active is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Adults who are physically active are less likely to develop chronic diseases than adults who are sedentary. Research shows it can also help with depression and can increase your overall sense of well-being. Regular exercise can benefit people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities.

10 Tips to Stay Physically Active_Live Well Lamoille

Here are 10 tips to help you get started being more active this spring.

  1. Start activities slowly and build up over time – If you are just starting physical activity, build up slowly to prevent injury. After a few weeks, increase how often and how long you are active.
  2. Get your heart pumping – For health benefits, work up to at least 2 ½ hours of activity each week that requires moderate effort. For example, go for a brisk walk or bike ride. You can divide the time into increments of 10 minutes or more.
  3. Strength train to keep bones and muscles healthy – Do strengthening exercises 2-3 times a week. This could include lifting weights, doing push-ups and sit-ups, working with resistance bands, or even heavy gardening.
  4. Make the ACTIVE choice – Every little bit of activity can add up and doing something is better than nothing. Take the stairs, go for a 10-minute walk at lunch or park your car far away from your office, school or the store.
  5. Mix it up! There are endless ways to be active. Try out classes or activities you have never done like dancing or martial arts.
  6. Find an exercise buddy – Activities are often more enjoyable when done with friends or family. Join a walking group, attend a fitness class, play with the kids or join a gym. If you build a social network, your buddies will encourage and motivate you to stay active.
  7. Set goals and track your progress – Planning activities ahead and keeping records is a great way to reach your goals. Seeing your progress can also help you to stay motivated. Treat your exercise time like an appointment and put it on the calendar!
  8. Add on to your active time – Once you have established a routine, try to increase the time you are active or add variety. The more time you devote to being active, the better the health benefits.
  9. Increase your effort – Add more intensity once you have been moderately active for a while. Do this by turning your walk into a jog or swimming or biking faster.
  10. Have fun! Being physically active does not have to be a chore. It can help you feel better about yourself and the way you live your life. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle.

Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Reasons to Get Out and About in Our Community

By: Todd Thomas

I’m happy to report that spring has finally sprung. For those of us without winter sports interests, you can now safely step away for your woodstove, put away your touque and mittens, and get back outside. Spring is when many of us return to our gardens, resume our walking and jogging routines, and get active again. For those of you about to be active again, and even those of you that have not been active in a few years, I want to share a couple of great resources that will inspire you to get outside and pound the pavement (and maybe even shed a few of those winter pounds).

Lamoille Valley Walking Routes_Live Well LamoilleFirst, Healthy Lamoille Valley published a handy pocket-sized guide of walking routes, suitable for all abilities, located in both Morrisville and Hyde Park. This little guide book is a must-have for anyone that wants to get active the spring on our local roads and trails. The guidebook, pictured to the side, is available in the Morristown town clerk’s office. The guidebooks are free and are only available in a limited quantity. First come, first served!

Second, for those of you just starting to get active again, or those of us who do not like sharing the road with cars while exercising, there is an alternative. In the coming months, there will be a new walking path in the heart of our community that will celebrate Morrisville’s unique history and architecture. This walk will be suitable for all ages and abilities, as it will be done completely on the downtown sidewalks. This walk will take you to the most exemplary historical, architectural, and artsy sites in the downtown area. From a secret Fenway Park mural behind Riverbend Market, to Governor Hendee’s house on Park Street and to a church bell stolen from New Orleans during the Civil War on Upper Main Street, this walk will be educational and invigorating. For more on the soon to-be Morrisville History & Art Walk, here’s a great article on the Morristown Alliance for Commerce and Culture website:  


I look forward to seeing you all around town being healthy and active!

Todd Thomas has a Master’s Degree in City Planning from Boston University and has worked both in Massachusetts and Vermont as a consultant and as a land use planner for town government. Todd is currently the Planning Director for Morristown, Vermont.

Todd’s recent work includes helping to revitalize downtown Morrisville, making it the fastest growing city and/or historic downtown in the State since the 2010 Census. Todd attributes much of the downtown’s housing and population growth to zoning reform as it relates to minimum parking requirements.

Move of the Month: Push-Up Progression

Push-ups are a great way to strengthen your arms, chest and shoulders. They help strengthen muscles and bones, improve balance and posture, and help prevent lower back injury.

Best of all, push-ups don’t require special equipment or a gym membership to perform. Vin Faraci, Copley Hospital’s Certified Athletic Trainer, says that push-ups include many muscle groups working together during the exercise. If it has been a while since you have performed a push-up, Faraci suggests you start with modified push-ups.

Copley Hospital_Pushup Knee

To perform a full body push-up you need to be able to move between 70-75% of your bodyweight. For a person that weighs 150 pounds, that is equal to moving 105-113 pounds during the exercise. Performing a modified push-up from the knees, your body weight percentage decreases to 54-62% or 79-93 pounds of resistance. For those requiring an exercise with less resistance to move, Faraci suggests starting with a push-up against a wall or from a counter top. As with any exercise, proper body form is important in preventing injury.

Copley Hospital_Pushup Wall

The following is the basic sequence and form you should use: 

Place your weight on your hands and feet (hands and knees if performing modified push-up.) Your spine and head should be in good alignment.

Copley Hospital_Pushup Floor Up

Place your hands just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with palms on the floor.

Lower your upper body to the floor, bending at the elbows, then rise back to the start position. Keep your head still and your eyes looking down.

Copley Hospital_Push Up_ Floor

Breath in on the way down and exhale on the way up.

Keep your abdominal muscles tight by pulling your belly button in toward your spine.

Copley provides a full range of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services for people of all ages and ability. Clinics in Morrisville, Stowe (in Stoweflake Mountain Resort) and Hardwick for your convenience. Contact us to learn more: 888-8303 | copleyvt.org/rehabilitation.

One More Reason… to Visit Your Local Library

By: Jessica Bickford

Film project

There’s no doubt about it, we have some pretty great libraries and librarians in our region.  They know books, have wonderful programs for our children and teens, serve as technology centers, provide audiobooks for our commutes, and generally connect us to the communities where we live. I want to share one more reason to visit…

Healthy Lamoille Valley has partnered with 10 local libraries (Glee Merritt Kelley Community Library, Jeudevine Memorial Library, Craftsbury Public Library, Greensboro Free Library, Varnum Memorial Library, Waterville Town Library, Johnson Public Library, Lanpher Memorial Library, Morristown Centennial Library, and the Stowe Free Library) to provide community members open access to six films related to substance abuse prevention. In most libraries these films are with the other movies to check out. These films were recommended by substance abuse prevention professionals around the state as providing solid information on a variety of topics impacting families locally.

While many of these films have been publicly shown in our region over the past few years, we realize that showing times don’t always work with everyone’s schedules. That’s the beauty of this project.  You can select a film, go to your library and check it out to watch on your time. Or, you might want to gather a group of friends (or staff) and host an informal film discussion.

The film titles include:

The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth – Brings attention to the negative effects of marijuana on our youth–adolescents, teenagers and young adults whose brains are still forming.  


The Hungry Heart – Created by Vermont Producer/Director, Bess O’Brien highlighting the prescription drug/opiate crisis in Vermont.


The Anonymous People – Features the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.


Deadly Persuasion – The Advertising of Alcohol & Tobacco – Identifies 7 myths that the alcohol industry wants us to believe. Here’s a Discussion Guide.


Paper Tigers – One High School’s Unlikely Success Story – Highlights the importance of the presence of one dependable and caring adult. Watch the trailer here.

Spin the Bottle: Sex, Lies & Alcohol – Offers an indispensable critique of the role that contemporary popular culture plays in glamorizing excessive drinking and high-risk behaviors.  Watch the trailer here.

We hope to soon add copies of the film Resilience to these collections. To find out about upcoming community screenings of Resilience click here.

We invite the community to watch these films and then talk about them. Include teens in the viewing and discussion. Where are they seeing these substances? How are they able to avoid experimenting and help others make wise choices? What can be done to help people avoid substance abuse? How can we help those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction? You can find additional conversation starters related to these films
at: healthylamoillevalley.org/film-project.

Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Childhood Sets the Stage for Everything

By: Scott Johnson

Adverse Childhood Experiences_Live Well Lamoille

Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence, victimization, lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue. Much of the foundational research in this area has been referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Published in 1998, a Kaiser Permanente study of 17,000 people showed a link between the stressful experiences a person has before the age of 18 and a person’s physical, emotional and social health.

The study identified ten adverse childhood experiences: 

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Emotional abuse
  4. Physical neglect
  5. Emotional neglect
  6. Mother treated violently
  7. Household substance abuse
  8. Household mental illness
  9. Parental separation or divorce
  10. Incarcerated household member

Recent studies of adult Vermonters revealed that 57% have one or more ACEs and 22% have 3 or more ACEs. ACEs have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, and early death. As the number of ACEs increases, so does the risk for these outcomes.

What can be done about preventing ACEs?

The wide‐ranging health and social consequences underscore the importance of preventing ACEs before they happen. Safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments can have a positive impact on a broad range of health problems and on the development of skills that will help children reach their full potential and be resilient.

The Lamoille Family Center is one of fifteen Parent Child Centers (PCCs) in Vermont that use the Strengthening Families Framework and have a two‐generation approach to both mitigate and help prevent ACEs. The Centers for Disease Control recommends strategies for preventing ACEs, which resonate with the 8 core services that PCCs offer or that we refer to for support, including:

  • home visiting to pregnant women and newborns
  • parent training programs
  • social supports for parents
  • parent support programs for teens and teen pregnancy prevention programs
  • high quality child care
  • income support for lower income families
  • intimate partner violence prevention
  • mental health and substance abuse treatment.

It takes all of us to build flourishing communities that support the healthy and resilient development of our children.  Join us in the next few weeks at one of the following showings of the James Redford film Resilience, a one hour documentary that delves into the science of ACEs.

Choose from any of these three dates/locations. Reserve your free ticket today!

Scott Johnson is Executive Director of the Lamoille Family Center and has worked in Lamoille Valley in human services and education for nearly his entire career. The Family Center has served our community by encouraging, educating and celebrating children, youth and families for forty years.

Scott writes about early care and education, adolescent development and strengthening families that improve conditions of well-being.


By: Jessica Bickford

Many community partners are coming together to host three screenings of the film, “Resilience.” This film looks at Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how they can impact our lives into adulthood. Beyond ACEs, the film explores ways to come together as a community to support and create opportunities for resilience, or the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful (again) after something bad happens.


Resilience Trailer – KPJR Films from KPJR FILMS LLC on Vimeo.

Choose from any of three dates/locations. Reserve your free ticket today!

Here’s a longer overview of the film:

“The child may not remember, but the body remembers.”

The original research was controversial, but the findings revealed the most important public health findings of a generation. RESILIENCE is a one-hour documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the birth of a new movement to treat and prevent Toxic Stress. Now understood to be one of the leading causes of everything from heart disease and cancer to substance abuse and depression, extremely stressful experiences in childhood can alter brain development and have lifelong effects on health and behavior.

However, as experts and practitioners profiled in RESILIENCE are proving, what’s predictable is preventable. These physicians, educators, social workers and communities are daring to talk about the effects of divorce, abuse and neglect. And they’re using cutting edge science to help the next generation break the cycles of adversity and disease.

A must see for everyone in our communities!

Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.