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For Immediate Release:
June 15, 2012


Voices for a Healthy SouthCoast coalition receives 2012 Massachusetts Public Health Association's Community Leadership Award


Voices for a Healthy South Coast
Pictured from left to right: David Weed, Coordinator, Healthy City Fall River; Pauline Hamel, Adjunct Faculty, Boston University and Project Coordinator of New Bedford Mass in Motion; Martha Gonzales, Wellness Connection, Greater New Bedford Community Health Center; Amanda Raposo, Registered Dietitian, Southcoast Hospitals Group; Donna Querim, Registered Nurse, Southcoast Hospitals Group; Nancy LaRue Bonell, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of YMCA Southcoast; Kerry Mello, Community Benefits Manager, Southcoast Health System; Gail Hartnett Roderigues, Administrative Assistant, Voices for a Healthy SouthCoast; and Jacqueline Schmidt, Senior Transportation Planner, Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District


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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Voices for a Healthy SouthCoast (Voices) coalition recently received the 2012 Massachusetts Public Health Association's Community Leadership Award for inspiring leadership to promote community prevention through partnerships and policy change. The award was presented at the Massachusetts Public Health Association's 10th Annual Awards Breakfast held on May 18, in Boston.

"In the past year, Voices has proudly moved forward to reach its goals", says Nancy Bonell, Voices for a Health SouthCoast Co-Coach and Chief Operating Officer & Vice President of Operations of YMCA Southcoast.

In the past year, Voices has successfully worked to change tobacco permit regulations resulting in a ban on the sale of tobacco in local pharmacies in Fall River, New Bedford, and Wareham. The Southcoast Health System, a Voices partner, has established tobacco-free campuses across the region. To address the need for more physical activity, Voices has been actively involved in the SouthCoast Bikeway and Southcoast Outdoor Network initiatives. In addition, Coalition members have been involved in re-writing school wellness policies in the New Bedford and Old Rochester Regional School Districts to include more physical activity and healthier school lunch menus.

Voices seeks to make improvements such as increased access to and use of attractive and safe locations for engaging in physical activity, revised school food contracts that include more fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods, and requirements for sidewalks, bike lanes and crossing signals in neighborhoods to make them more pedestrian friendly.

"Committed to meaningful change in the SouthCoast region, Voices has achieved success by implementing strategies that support and sustain healthy lifestyles where people live, work, learn and play," said Donna Querim, RN, Southcoast Cardiac Prevention Program and Voices for a Health SouthCoast Co-Coach.

About the Massachusetts Public Health Association

The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) is the state's leading voice for public health. As a statewide membership organization, MPHA engages communities in advocacy to protect and improve the health of all the Commonwealth's residents with a focus on preventing disease and injury. For more information visit http://www.mphaweb.org/about_whatis.htm.

About Voices for a Healthy Southcoast

In March 2009 the SouthCoast region of Massachusetts was selected to be an ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and EnVironmental changE) community. The main objective of ACHIEVE is to unite local leaders through CHARTs (Community Health Action Response Teams). Each CHART aims to build healthy communities by specifically focusing on issues such as, physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Voices for a Healthy Southcoast (Voices) is the name of the CHART in the SouthCoast region of Massachusetts. The Voices CHART is made up of local leaders including elected officials, state and local directors of public health organizations, business leaders, and leaders of local community organizations including schools, recreation departments, and hospitals.

The mission of Voices is to build and support healthy lifestyles in SouthCoast communities by working together and advocating for policy, practice, and environmental change in order to sustain vibrant communities that are conducive to healthy living. Voices's goal is to implement strategies that support and sustain healthy lifestyles where people live, work, learn, and play by making improvements such as increased access to and use of attractive and safe locations for engaging in physical activity, revised school food contracts that include more fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods, and requirements for sidewalks, bike lanes and crossing signals in neighborhoods to make them more pedestrian friendly.

Voices for a Health SouthCoast members include:

  • Val Bassett, Health Policy consultant
  • Pat Bebo, Nutrition Educator, UMass Extension
  • Judith R. Coykendall, Partners for Clean Air Program Director, Seven Hills Behavioral Health
  • Maria Evora-Rosa, Community Liaison, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Pauline Hamel, Adjunct Faculty, Boston University and Project Coordinator of New Bedford Mass in Motion
  • Raymond Khalife, Senior Planner, New Bedford Office of Planning
  • Martha Gonzales, Wellness Connection, Greater New Bedford Community Health Center
  • Gail Hartnett Roderigues, Administrative Assistant, Voices for a Healthy SouthCoast
  • Nancy LaRue Bonell, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of YMCA Southcoast
  • Kerry Mello, Community Benefits Manager, Southcoast Health System
  • Jennifer T. Nersesian, Superintendent, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
  • Marcia Picard, School Wellness Coordinator, Fall River Public Schools
  • Donna Querim, Registered Nurse, Southcoast Hospitals Group
  • Amanda Raposo, Registered Dietitian, Southcoast Hospitals Group
  • Jim Rattray, Vice President of Marking & Public Affairs, Southcoast Health System
  • Gary Schuyler, President and Chief Executive Officer of YMCA Southcoast
  • Amanda Stone, Public Health Nurse, Mattapoisett Health Department
  • David Weed, Coordinator, Healthy City Fall River


Stephanie Poyant
Public Information Officer
Phone: 508-961-5280
Pager: 508-387-2532
Fax: 508-961-5876
poyants@southcoast.org



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www.southcoast.org/communitybenefits/

www.voicesforahealthysouthcoast.org



Southcoast Health System is a community based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island.

It includes the three hospitals that make up Southcoast Hospitals Group — Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

Southcoast provides advanced clinical services, such as open heart surgery, angioplasty and heart rhythm services, comprehensive cancer care, neurosurgery, weight loss surgery, orthopedic surgery, advanced imaging services and is the only provider of maternity services in the region.

Southcoast is a not-for-profit charitable organization that depends on the support of the community to provide services. More information is available online at www.southcoast.org. Connect to Southcoast through social media at www.southcoast.org/connect/.





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