NH Citizens Health Initiative Annual Symposium

NH Citizens Health Initiative Annual Symposium

Traversing Together: Finding Success in Chaos
September 2022


The NH Citizens Health Initiative virtual 2022 Symposium reflected on the experiences of families, providers, organizations, and communities in the last few years, exacerbated by the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the success and strategies utilized across sectors from an individual, organizational, state, and national perspective. We hope the sessions throughout the day provided you and your organization opportunities to share learning, to connect and to energize as we move forward health and health care for all in New Hampshire.

mountview landscape with rock tower
photo of RJ Gillespie

R.J. Gillespie, MD, MHPE


Dr. Gillespie will share the importance of Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs), their connection to early relational health, and their impacts on health and wellness and review practical approaches to addressing PCEs in practice, including one clinic’s model for integrating PCEs into well care: Addressing ACEs and PCEs in Pediatric Primary Care: "Building the Buffering"

R.J. Gillespie, MD, MHPE, is a general pediatrician with The Children’s Clinic in Portland.  From 2007 through 2010 he worked as the Medical Director of Quality Improvement for the Children’s Health Alliance, and from 2010-2016 he was the founding medical director for the Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership.  He currently conducts clinical research in parental adverse childhood experiences and does training and consultation in screening and referral for trauma in pediatric practices through the Oregon Pediatric Society.  He has been active in multiple state and national advisory committees, most recently for the American Academy of Pediatrics Addressing Social Health and Early Childhood Wellness (ASHEW) and the Pediatric Approach to Trauma Training and Resilience (PATTER) Projects. He attended medical school at Oregon Health Sciences University, graduating in 1997, and completed his residency and chief residency at Rush Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois in 2001. He also earned a Master of Health Professions Education from University of Illinois –Chicago in 2007.


photo of Susan Wehry

Susan Wehry, MD


Dr. Wehry is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Director of AgingME, Maine's Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP). A nationally recognized speaker and workshop facilitator on a range of topics, Susan combines wisdom, compassion, and common sense, to engage, inspire and build skills.


photo of Ben Miller

Benjamin Miller, PsyD


Dr. Miller will describe the current state of mental health in the US and list ways COVID and other stressors have negatively impacted us. It will also explain ways we can better equip community members with skills to help each other with our mental health and outline concrete actions individuals can take to advance mental health in their community: Healing and Belonging: A Community Driven Approach for Advancing Mental Health

A clinical psychologist by training, Dr. Miller is a nationally recognized mental health and policy expert who has worked to advance mental health throughout his career. He oversees the foundation’s portfolio alignment across grantees, overall strategy and direction, and connection of the work to advance policy. Previous roles include being the founding director of the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center in the Department of Family Medicine and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. 

Dr. Miller is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Stanford School of Medicine. He has published prolifically on the topic of mental health integration and public policy. He has been featured in CNN, NBC News, USA Today, NPR, PBS News Hour and many more.


photo of Deborah Cross

Deborah Cross, APRN


Deborah is the Medical Director and a Family Nurse Practitioner at White Mountain Community Health Center. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rutgers University, then went on to get an associate’s degree in nursing from LSU Medical Center. In 2009, she graduated from the UCSF FNP program and began working at WMCHC. Deborah started a Medication Assisted Therapy program at WMCHC to respond to the opioid crisis. Deborah has also received specialized training to treat chronic hepatitis C in primary care.


photo of Lisa DiBrigida

Lisa DiBrigida, MD


Dr. DiBrigida is the Associate Medical Director of Pediatrics at Amoskeag Health in Manchester, NH. She has been a pediatric provider at Amoskeag since 2003. Her clinical interests include behavioral concerns, children with special medical needs, and adolescents. In 2018 Dr. DiBrigida was named Pediatrician of the Year by the NH Pediatric Society (NH Chapter of the AAP) and has found innovative success using the team pod model for the clinical team to achieve better integrated care.


photo of Justine Nims-Largy

Justine Nims-Largy, APRN


Justine is a mom, wife, daughter, and sister. She has worked as a nurse on an orthopedic medical surgical unit, a nurse and nurse practitioner (NP) in a Federally Qualified Health Center, and an NP in an NP-owned and run practice. Justine is currently an NP in the physiatry department at NH Neurospine Institute. She works with patients in acute or chronic pain mostly related to their spine and sometimes has patients with other types of chronic pain. Justine has taken some courses on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness in order to better serve patients who are looking for something other than conventional pain management treatment. Justine is adjunct teaching at Rivier University in the FNP program.


photo of Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips, PhD, LPC


Dr. Phillips received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1995 from the University of Louisville. He has been a Licensed Psychologist in the State of New Hampshire since 1996, and has been the President of LaMora Psychological Associates since 2000, a private group mental health practice with offices in Nashua and Bedford. His interests include public advocacy, evolving legal and regulatory frameworks for mental healthcare, and integration of mental health and primary care. He is a long-standing member of the New Hampshire Psychological Association, served 4 terms on the Board of Directors, and has held a number of leadership positions there.


Keynote:  Addressing ACEs and PCEs in Pediatric Primary Care: “Building the Buffering”

R.J. Gillespie, MD, MHPE, The Children’s Clinic | PDF | Recording

Post Traumatic Growth: The Way Forward

Susan Wehry, MD, University of New England | PDF Recording

Keynote: Healing and belonging: A Community Driven Approach for Advancing Mental Health

Benjamin Miller, PsyD | PDF| Recording

Using the Project ECHO® Model to Address the Evolving Needs of NH’s Health Care Workforce

Deborah Cross, APRN, White Mountain Community Health Center
Justine Nims-Largy, APRN New Hampshire NeuroSpine Institute
Lisa DiBrigida, MD, Amoskeag Health
Michael Phillips, PhD, LPC, LaMora Psychological Associates, P.A.



Giving Care:  A Strategic Plan to Expand and Support New Hampshire's Healthcare Workforce
Geoff Vercauteren, Network for Health/Catholic Medical Center | PDF | Recording

A Path to Equitable Care in Epilepsy 
Elaine T. Kiriakopoulos, MD, MSc, Dartmouth Health | PDF | Recording

Keeping the Ship Afloat: Strategies to Recruit, Retain and Re-engage a Skilled Healthcare Workforce
Erin Wood, Center for Life Management | PDF | Recording

Equitable and Affordable Healthcare: A Shared Responsibility
Jo Porter and Lucy Hodder, NH Institute for Health Policy & Practice, UNH | PDF | Recording

Continuing Education Information:

North Country Health Consortium/NNH AHEC is approved as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the Northeast Multistate Division Educational Unit, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. This activity has been approved for 3.0 Nursing Contact Hours. Activity # 528

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the North Country Health Consortium/NNH AHEC and the University of New Hampshire Institute for Health Policy. The North Country Health Consortium/NNH AHEC is accredited by the NH Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The North Country Health Consortium/NNH AHEC designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Social Work:
CEUs pending approval from NASW NH.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe how shared learning can improve workforce resilience and support clinical practice.
  • Identify strategies to highlight positive experiences and to increase resilience.
  • Examine methods for connecting and energizing, as we move forward both individually and professionally in improving health and health care for all.

Previous Symposia


Priorities for post-COVID-19 public health practice, re-search, and education by Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH discusses concerns that emerged from COVID-19 that need to be addressed to improve population health and consider different approaches that can mitigate structural challenges to population health. | Recording


Navigating the pandemic: Identifying Opportunities for Transformation features Lisa Letourneau, MD, MPH and Margaret Franckhauser, MS, MPH, RN to discuss lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and how we can apply these lessons to improve our health care system. | Recording


Guidebook, includes agenda, speaker bios, and discussion questions. | PDF


Julie Rovner, Chief Washington Correspondent, Kaiser Health News; Host, "What the Health" presents, Health and the Changing Federal Landscape,  to discuss the contributing factors of national health care trends and their impact on New Hampshire. | Recording